Copyright Information

You can’t declare “nothing” OGC under the OGL.

Hey, zipperhead, go read section 8 of the OGL again. I’ll wait.

Now, apologize for wasting bandwidth. Certainly, anything that’s OGC because of prior declaration (the rules of Magenta, for instance) is OGC. Nothing else.

Why didn’t you date the copyright for Death may Die on the OGL copyright notice?

The United States has adopted by statutory act the Berne Convention for intellectual property law. Most of copyright law is something you need to look up for yourself, but the elements of consequence to the above question are below.

Copyright protections vest at the moment that the material under copyright is reduced to a perceivable medium. That the perceivable medium requires an intermediary device to perceive (such as a microscope or, in this case, a computer with an Internet connection) is irrelevant. Once so-reduced, the item becomes copyright under the declaration of its creator (in this case, me, the “Edmund Wilfong” listed in the OGL).

Copyright, by default, has a duration measured in terms of the life of the creator plus a set number of years. This means the fuse doesn’t even begin to burn until after the death of its creator. The exception is work created for another entity, such as a business entity. That work has a set duration.

This work isn’t created for such a purpose, so it has no set date until after I die. I’m sorry, I don’t have a set date for that at this time.

Product Identity vs. Open Game Content

There’s some question ongoing as to what counts as OGC. I follow the principle that you need to declare what is OGC, but the OGL was (likely purposefully) drafted to generate confusion on that point. Thus, I have declared nothing OGC unless specifically declared that way, just in case it’s turned the other way in a court.

What is clear is that there’s two different elements to something under the OGLOGC and PI. Assume all things PI in this work unless stated otherwise. Unless there’s three categories – Product Identity, Open Game Content, and That Third Bit. In which case it’s either PI or TTB.

Three categories? What?

In my opinion, there are three categories of informations contained within an OGL work.

Product Identity

Includes trademarks, trade dress, and similar. Note that anything that is Product Identity is precluded from being Open Game Content.

Open Game Content

Anything declared as Open Game Content by a prior contributor, or anything declared as Open Game Content by the current contributor. Note that I have technically broken the OGL already, AND SO HAS ANYBODY ELSE WHO HAS USED THE OPEN GAME LICENSE. How? By calling it the Open Game License.

it’s a product name, which makes it Product Identity. Product Identity is explicitly excluded from OGC, which means using it violates the intellectual property rights of WOTC. This doesn’t mean advertizement However, by course of conduct that has been mended. (in other words, they didn’t do anything about it, so obviously, by course of laches, it is mended.)

On the other hand, you may not use the name Death may Die in any of your products unless a separate agreement allows for it. (Note, you can still quote Lovecraft, since that’s entered the public domain – we’re talking use of trade dress, here.) This counts even if I render the following statement Open Game Content:

Death may Die has stuff in it.

This is because Product Identity is specifically excluded from being Open Game Content.

On the other hand, you may think I’m violating the OGL by saying Magenta. I am, but for the fact that Sanguine has, through course of conduct, made it clear that representations of compatibility with Magenta are acceptable by their wish. Second license, permissible under section 7 of the OGL.

That Third Bit that Never Got a Name Under the OGL

That would be everything that isn’t Product Identity and isn’t Open Game Content. It’s stuff that can be OGC (not Product Identity), but wasn’t declared as such under the terms of section 8 of the OGL. That’s the majority of what’s in this work.

This stuff isn’t licensed under the OGL, and you can’t use it. It also isn’t protected under the OGL (Product Identity is protected both under IP law and the OGL). It’s protected under IP law, and you can use the elements of IP law to use it where IP law would allow you to use it (such as if you get permission from me for Death may Die).

Copyright Information

Death may Die Pneumonica Pneumonica