Chad Perrin: SOB

11 February 2009

RPGs and Intellectual Protectionism

Filed under: Cognition,Geek,Liberty,RPG — Tags: , , , — apotheon @ 10:23

This is part of my RPG series of entries here at SOB. See the inaugural entry in the series for more details.

I follow the writings of Mad Brew, aka Michael Brewer, sporadically. Essentially, I check it out whenever I remember it's there. He strays into subject areas that don't interest me much just slightly too often for me to have actually subscribed to it with an RSS reader yet (my RSS reader tends to fill up far too quickly), but he writes the occasional piece that is so good I just have to try to keep up with the thing at times. He wrote about RPGs as Intellectual Property yesterday, and that was one of those writings that is not only on a topic I care about, but so well-written it would be a real shame to miss it. I've come to two realizations, as a result of that: first, that I want to comment about it here; and second, that I need to subscribe to his RSS feed, because I don't want to risk missing another piece of writing I find as interesting as this one.

First, my impressions:
  • He did an excellent job of breaking things down to layman's terms.
  • He explained (in part, in the comments below the actual article) the mystique of copyright enforcement, as it applies to licensing schemes such as the OGL ("open source" gaming license used with D&D 3.x rules, known as the d20 system) and the D&D GSL (highly restrictive license, apparently designed to punish third-party game material developers and trick third-party publishers into forsaking the OGL). As he points out, many people seem to think that just because the GSL exists, that's the only way one can make use of the published materials. Such people are not familiar with the legal protections of fair use law.
  • He clarified the applicability of copyright law to games — which is to say that the law does not protect the rules of a game, which would more properly be the domain of patent law.
  • I'm surprised he didn't mention fair use with regards to copyright law in the body of the article — such as the fact that quoting for purposes of review, satire, et cetera is protected speech.
Second, my thoughts:

I'm a big fan of fair use, because I think it's an important remnant of the natural economic state of ideas that has managed to survive through hundreds of years of abuse under restrictive intellectual protectionism regimes. Unfortunately, special efforts have been made by organizations like the MPA, RIAA, MPAA, and BSA to erode the scope of fair use in practice.

What I like even more, of course, is the public domain or (especially in the context of strong copyright enforcement) copyfree licensing policy. While the original intent of copyright and patent law may have been to encourage the arts and sciences, the end result has proven to be contradictory to that aim. Even in the early days of the United States, the framers of the nation's founding documents expressed some skepticism about the advisability of copyright and patent law. Thomas Jefferson himself, as part of a longer statement about the subject:

Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

Read the rest of the quote on the other side of that link. It's enlightening about his own state of mind on the matter at the time. Sadly, he was ultimately persuaded to succumb to the desires of those who favored copyright and patent law by their fervor. There is no compelling argument on record, that I have been able to find, setting forth a more logical and complete refutation of Thomas Jefferson's lucid and thoughtful points on the matter; he basically just caved to pressure. As a result of such pressures, we now have a system that guarantees the rights of the artist and inventor will, in almost every case, be trampled by the business interests of market dominating corporations.

The way TSR during the Williams years and WotC under Hasbro's guidance have set out to trample anyone trying to expand upon the ideas published in D&D game books serves as an excellent example of how even fair use protections and the inapplicability of copyright law to game design may not be protection enough. A powerful enough organization, going after a weak enough target, can very easily shut down any perceived competition with spurious lawsuits just because of the costs involved in defending oneself against such unwanted attentions. Protection rackets like these — where a company like Wizards of the Coast strong-arms smaller publishers into playing by the insanely restrictive rules of licenses such as the GSL with threats of spurious infringement lawsuits — are common in any established industry where "intellectual property" is the main stock in trade, with the result of discouraging innovation and creativity. Only organizations run by lawyers, such as Kenzer & Co., can reasonably afford to pursue a fair use approach to third-party publishing.

Third, how this affects you and me:

It's for this reason that as I've been writing materials based on roleplaying games published under the OGL I have chosen to use the OGL itself to license my materials. While I could, with a few tweaks, be adequately covered by fair use to have a solid defense in case of a spurious lawsuit, I cannot afford the expense of such a defense no matter how righteous in the eyes of the law. As a result of this, materials that could be even less restrictively licensed than the terms of the OGL (I'd prefer to offer these materials under the terms of the Open Works License, the same as the content of this Weblog) are instead subject to the same complex licensing as the materials that inspired them. I lose, because I have to step with greater care when writing up new materials, and you lose, because you are subject to the same complex, somewhat restrictive licensing.

Still, the OGL is a huge leap forward over more traditional game publishing models that leverage strong copyright enforcement, and is certainly far better for the game, the industry, and the community than the GSL.

The term "intellectual property" is de riguer in pro-copyright and pro-patent circles, but it's a misnomer. Ideas and compositions subject to patent and copyright, respectively, are not in fact property at all. Property is a product of scarcity; to have property, one must have something that can be controlled, even to the point of destruction. As Thomas Jefferson noted, an idea is like fire — it spreads from mind to mind, growing in volume and power, expanding its reach without diminishing its origin in the least. Property can be stolen; ideas cannot. Theft deprives an owner of the power of a possession, but spreading an idea does no such thing. In fact, spreading an idea only increases its power.

The law itself recognizes this distinction between property on one hand, and those materials subject to copyright and patent protections on the other. Whereas using a sandwich without permission is theft, using an idea or an expression of an idea is "infringement", because it infringes upon the privileges granted by copyright law. It does not violate rights that are, in fact, merely protected by law. There is no inherent right to control over an idea that has been imparted to another person's understanding. The practice of treating it as a right, of using the overwhelming force of law to coerce people into behaving as though such a right existed, is nothing more than a protection racket. The difference between the most basic foundation of copyright law and the excesses of industry organizations such as the RIAA and BSA is merely one of degrees and pervasiveness: both are cases of a protection racket.

Fourth, other notes:

Does anyone know what happened to Amagi Games? This was a site offering public domain game materials, an effort I would wholeheartedly endorse if it had not simply vanished somewhere along the way. I fear that it may have, once it became a more open, contributor-based endeavor, been the victim of a DMCA takedown notice. If anyone has any information about this, I'd appreciate an update. Since the site just disappeared, taking any contact information there with it, it's not easy to try to make contact.

(edit: As indicated in comments below, the site suffered some technical difficulties due to a security issue, and had to be shut down until its patron has the time to relaunch the site with those problems solved.)

A few months ago, perhaps in reaction to the underwhelming response of third-party publishers to the GSL, WotC made noises about revising the GSL to make it more friendly and usable. I haven't noticed any such improvements, however, and in fact what I have seen is WotC/Hasbro getting its panties in a bunch and cracking down on "infringement". The Ema's Character Sheets site was a victim of this, though to be fair it did actually infringe beyond the bounds of fair use — but there has been some saber rattling in other areas as well. (Alas, I didn't take notes on where I saw such mentions at the time I ran across them, because I wasn't planning this SOB entry then, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt.)

Unfortunately, longer ago than either of those depressing notes, the Open Gaming Foundation went dormant. The site is still there, with the same materials still posted that were there to begin with, but it has apparently not been updated in years. Its maintainer seems to have abandoned the whole thing, other than continuing to pay the bills so the hosting company and domain registrar don't turn out the lights. This could have been a useful resource, and I would have been happy to help (on a free of charge, volunteer basis) with the upkeep of the site if such was needed, but an attempt to contact the site's maintainer went unanswered — so it appears even email is being ignored. I hope its persistence isn't just a result of the domain registrant and hosting customer having paid for several years in advance then gotten run over by a bus.

Fifth, what I'd like to do:

In the long run, I'd like to start developing games under the OWL — and, eventually, make a profit. I actually have plans in mind for the development of a game, complete with the beginnings of an inkling for how I could produce physical, hardcopy publication of the game for sale. This would be in addition to, and not instead of, freely distributable online publication. It's kind of an ambitious project, and probably doomed to failure (the pen-and-paper RPG market has never been much of a direct profit industry), but something I'd like to attempt at any rate.

I'll keep producing some of my own OGL/d20 materials, particularly in support of Pathfinder RPG (the heir apparent to the D&D 3.5 game, via the OGL), of course; I still want to play that game after all. My ambitions with regards to a new game system that might someday have the potential to produce profit need not conflict with that. Eventually, though, I want to have a hand in creating an example of how truly open game development can prove a successful endeavor, not only in terms of mind share or market share, but also in terms of profit (or at least covering its own costs).

Suggestions and support are welcome, but really the main point of this SOB entry is to raise awareness, to get people thinking beyond the tiny little boxes in which social tradition tries to enclose them. The fact that copyright and patent laws have existed for longer than any of us have lived does not, in any way, translate to their sacredness. They should be questioned, their very premises examined — and, I believe, they should ultimately be discarded.

It is my belief (and the principles of the Austrian school of economics support this belief, though many self-styled Austrian economists probably don't realize it) that ultimately greater successes, and greater profits, can be had by adopting a laissez-faire approach to the question of intellectual property. As such, I think the best way to undermine the corporate controlled industry tradition of strong copyright enforcement is to compete with it, but to use open, unrestrictive licensing — copyfree licensing, ideally — to do so. It may take a very long time to overcome the market dominating effect of the brand recognition of the longest-lived RPG line, the very first commercial RPG in fact, and the only RPG to ever really become a nationwide household name in the US, but it is a worthy goal.

There are basically two ways to approach this, I think:

  1. Make up your own games. Release them to the world — publish them, in other words, whether online or physically — under unrestrictive licenses, or even under the auspices of the public domain.
  2. Support the efforts of others to do so, favoring them over closed, restrictive games subject to proprietary, punitive licenses.

Toward the efforts of number 2, I have chosen to boycott D&D 4E, personally, not only because it is subject to restrictive licensing, but because the publisher abandoned open licensing, and set out (maliciously, in my opinion) to coerce others by way of WotC's market dominance to abandon open licensing as well. Where Paizo has taken up the torch, I will support it, and I think that you should do so as well. It may not be licensed under truly copyfree terms, but it is a significant improvement over the GSL, and — face it — we need a direct descendant of D&D to support if any real headway is to be made, for as long as the D&D brand itself remains solvent.

I would also support efforts such as Amagi Games and the Open Gaming Foundation, if there was anything there to support. In their absence, I hope you'll support me, as I come up with more materials to offer to the world under open licenses — and I hope others spring up to help spread the meme, and that both Amagi Games and the OGF may revive themselves and find new life.

18 Comments

  1. Complete agreement with the ideology part (though indifference wrt Pathfinder and 4e).

    Amagi games was infested with malware: http://the-tall-man.livejournal.com/200911.html , so Levi killed it. You can contact him via his LJ, rpg.net, or doubtless by a number of other avenues. I think I've got his email address somewhere, if nothing else works.

    Comment by Tommi — 11 February 2009 @ 11:03

  2. Thanks for the information! I'll definitely get in touch with him.

    I couldn't even remember the guy's name, because the site just vanished without a trace as far as I could tell.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 February 2009 @ 11:10

  3. Thank you again Chad... this post should be nominated for the 2009 rpg blog anthology. I've read this twice now — and I can't find a single thing to disagree with save for the boycott of 4E. My gaming group is stuck on 4E... and I can't escape their grasp.

    How would you compare Creative Commons Licenses to Open Works (which I'm not familiar with). CCL is on my blog... but I'm curious what the advantage of one over the other is.

    Comment by jonathan — 11 February 2009 @ 12:47

  4. I couldn't agree with you more. The Thomas Jefferson quote pretty much nails my sentiments about, as you put it, intellectual protectionism. I think the law has become more about corporate welfare than about stimulating the arts and sciences or even protecting the original author, which is sad.

    Anyways, glad that I can provide you with a good read (and spawn more interesting reads like this one), even if it is hit and miss at times ;)

    Comment by Mad Brew — 11 February 2009 @ 12:55

  5. I give a big fat meh to the continuation of D&D as a brand. I don't need any such thing, and I'm doubtful that the hobby as a whole does either. In fact, I think that there's a pretty good argument to be made that as long as D&D is around as a commercial enterprise the hobby can't get any better, if for no other reason than that it sucks up talent and energy that could better be spent almost anywhere else. It's like saying that we need Star Trek or Star Wars to continue for science fiction to make any headway...or else what would people write fan-fic about?

    Comment by Joshua Macy — 11 February 2009 @ 01:41

  6. jonathan:

    this post should be nominated for the 2009 rpg blog anthology.

    Thanks for the compliment!

    How would you compare Creative Commons Licenses to Open Works (which I'm not familiar with). CCL is on my blog... but I'm curious what the advantage of one over the other is.

    1. The Creative Commons Attribution licenses aren't copyfree licenses. The OWL is on the list of certified copyfree licenses.
    2. The Open Works License is much shorter, simpler, and easier to understand than Creative Commons licenses (any of them). It is thus also less fraught with legal peril to the recipient of the license.

    Other than that, the two licenses are functionally pretty darned identical. I haven't read the CC-BY licenses lately, so I don't recall exactly, but I think the OWL may actually provide stronger heritability for the original work than the CC-BY. If what you want is actually something more like the CC-BY/SA license, I'd direct you to the CCD CopyWrite license as an alternative, which is also a copyfree license but offers stronger heritability characteristics comparable to those of the CC-BY/SA license.

    Neither the OWL nor the CCD CopyWrite license provide any "noncommercial" restrictions, by design. If the lack of such restrictions (which would disqualify a license from being certified as a copyfree compliant license, anyway) is a deal-breaker for you, I guess you should probably stick with the CC-BY/NC/SA license or create something new of your own.

    I hope that helps.

    Mad Brew:

    I think the law has become more about corporate welfare than about stimulating the arts and sciences or even protecting the original author, which is sad.

    It's worse than that: I think that, given a governmental framework for intellectual protectionism in the form of copyright and/or patent law, such negative evolution of that system is inevitable; centralized bodies of economic power will be able to effectively lobby their way to a system like, or even worse than, what we have now, as long as the foundations for copyright and/or patent law exist. There's no such thing as fixing the system without throwing out copyright and patent law entirely, because keeping those things just leads us back to where we are now.

    glad that I can provide you with a good read (and spawn more interesting reads like this one), even if it is hit and miss at times ;)

    It's not a problem with your writing — it's just a matter of my varying levels of interest in different subjects. Considering I talk about such diverse subjects here as politics, RPGs, programming, bicycling (though not recently), reading, writing both fiction and nonfiction, and more, I'm quite aware a lot of people find it difficult to stay interested through all my diversionary writings.

    Joshua Macy:

    I give a big fat meh to the continuation of D&D as a brand. I don't need any such thing, and I'm doubtful that the hobby as a whole does either.

    I'm pretty ambivalent about it at this point, too. In fact, I think that the D&D brand crashing and burning right now might be an excellent outcome, depending on how things play out afterward. The fact that the D&D brand is so strong is currently serving as a huge obstacle to third party competitors gaining traction.

    I think that there's a pretty good argument to be made that as long as D&D is around as a commercial enterprise the hobby can't get any better, if for no other reason than that it sucks up talent and energy that could better be spent almost anywhere else.

    I agree completely. Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 February 2009 @ 02:21

  7. "The way TSR during the Williams years and WotC under Hasbro's guidance have set out to trample anyone trying to expand upon the ideas published in D&D game books"

    This is a heavy handed and rather ridiculous caricature. WotC sent a letter to one website. There are dozens of character generators out there, dozens of applications built for 4e, Power Card generators, fan based creations, etc. Attempting to paint them as some tyrannical corporate overlords engaged in an effort to squash fan based creative endeavors is groundless, reactionary nonsense.

    While I agree with most of your larger points about the ideal world of intellectual (non)property, companies, writers, artists, work today under the system we have. Part of that is a need to protect their IP at times. I can't help but notice you carry a Copyright statement at the bottom of this page, and rightly so. It's the brush you are trying to paint WotC with that I object to, not the overall musings on "the way it should be".

    Comment by Thasmodious — 11 February 2009 @ 02:52

  8. This is a heavy handed and rather ridiculous caricature.

    Think so?

    Have you read the GSL? Whereas TSR just too-assiduously enforced its copyright claims, WotC has actually set out to undo steps it had previously taken in the right direction, aiming to undermine the OGL itself by forcing anyone that wants to remain relevant to mainstream D&D development to abandon any and all OGL game development. Many third-party game publishers and developers who were initially excited about working on materials for 4E did a 180° rotation and ran the other way. Kenzer & Co., the third-party publisher that is run by a lawyer, decided to take its chances with fair use instead of the GSL, if that's any indication of how draconian WotC is trying to get with this crap. 4E fan sites are arguably in violation of the GSL — and if WotC isn't going after them now, in general, the potential for that to occur is enough to warn off most reasonable people who have actually read and thought about the license.

    . . . and that's just one problem with the way WotC is running things these days.

    I can't help but notice you carry a Copyright statement at the bottom of this page, and rightly so.

    If you read it more carefully, you might notice it's actually a license statement. The copyright claim is only a prelude to licensing the copyrighted materials — thus granting a promise of exactly the sort of freedom of information that I discussed here. There's nothing ironic or hypocritical about it. This is how one opens up the licensing on copyrighted materials without risking the materials becoming someone else's copyrighted work through the change of a couple of words.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 February 2009 @ 03:37

  9. "WotC has actually set out to undo steps it had previously taken in the right direction"

    This is true, to a degree. But the OGL and the GSL are still leaps and bounds ahead of what most other major game companies offer in terms of allowing 3PP to produce material for their brands. Calling for a lynch mob (or is 5 brave heroes, ready to take up a call against tyranny?) because they feel they were a bit too open before (for a profit based company) and are trying to find a median they are more comfortable with, which is still well ahead of the curve, is, well... I stand by what I said – a ridiculous caricature of the situation.

    "There's nothing ironic or hypocritical about it."

    The clarification does not change my point. I was not accusing you of hypocrisy at all, please don't think that. My point was that regardless of the philosophy behind the ideals, publishers, artists, writers, working today still have to deal with the legal realities of the day. That includes, whether an individual likes it or not, accepting that currently your creative works are considered an item of property and theft is a real concern and something you must guard against. I am an advocate of Fair Use, open content, Free Culture, freedom of information, a glorious union where thoughts are shared and built collectively and owned by no one. But, in the right now, WotC and you and any other blogger, writer, or artist, has a vested interest in protecting what the law sees as property, even while working towards bettering the situation.

    As an advocate for these issues, I think it is rather disingenuous to target WotC in this manner when, as a company, they've taken unprecedented steps in nurturing such an environment. That with a new edition, they saw a need to scale things just a bit hardly makes them evil. They are trying to find something that works to allow what they clearly think is a good idea, while protecting their property (dealing with the way things are now) better than they felt the OGL ultimately did.

    Comment by Thasmodious — 11 February 2009 @ 04:12

  10. But the OGL and the GSL are still leaps and bounds ahead of what most other major game companies offer in terms of allowing 3PP to produce material for their brands.

    The GSL is worse than fair use — and appears to have been developed primarily for the purpose of "killing" the OGL. There's no way to reasonably include the GSL in that statement.

    Calling for a lynch mob (or is 5 brave heroes, ready to take up a call against tyranny?) because they feel they were a bit too open before (for a profit based company) and are trying to find a median they are more comfortable with, which is still well ahead of the curve, is, well... I stand by what I said – a ridiculous caricature of the situation.

    I never said anything about lynching anyone. I just think that, unless and until WotC undoes the damage it has done to the extent possible, people should express disfavor in the only way a corporation understands: withholding cash. If WotC turned things around, and suddenly went back to the OGL, I'd be happy to lead the charge to support that move (even if the 4E rules themselves don't really do much for me).

    The problem WotC had wasn't being "too open", anyway. It was grossly misunderstanding the economics of an open development model. Like other boneheaded corporate bureaucracies before it, the WotC upper management basically thought it could call something "open" and it would magically make more money, like it's nothing but a superficial marketing ploy. As far as that went, it even worked. WotC didn't set up any kind of infrastructure for actually leveraging a contributing community to improve its own products and generate revenue from the increase in gaming value, though, so the full potential benefits to the company of using an open game license were never realized.

    In a sense, WotC just gets what it deserves by failing to make use of what it provided, and cynically trying to shut down the open game community, because it thus creates competitors who would not otherwise exist. Whether or not Paizo's Pathfinder RPG actually becomes a serious market presence, the very fact that it came into being is a great example of how a bad implementation of a business model can equate to snatching failure from the jaws of success.

    My point was that regardless of the philosophy behind the ideals, publishers, artists, writers, working today still have to deal with the legal realities of the day.

    I deal with the legal realities by undermining them, using the tools within the system to monkeywrench the system to the extent reasonably possible. I find it ethically reprehensible that people use those same tools exactly the way they were intended to be used, because that intent is the problem.

    That includes, whether an individual likes it or not, accepting that currently your creative works are considered an item of property and theft is a real concern and something you must guard against.

    Incorrect, at least from a legal perspective. See above, in the SOB entry to which this discussion is a response, where I said:

    The law itself recognizes this distinction between property and those materials subject to copyright and patent protections. Whereas using a sandwich without permission is theft, using an idea or an expression of an idea is "infringement", because it infringes upon the privileges granted by copyright law.

    Do you see the distinction there? Copyright infringement is only considered "theft" by two classes of people:

    1. those who try to manipulate the perceptions of others to make them think it is theft
    2. those who don't know any better, largely because of the propaganda spread by the first class

    . . . to say nothing of the fact that I don't care if someone uses the materials I provide to the world, without any explicit, preëxisting contractual agreements to the contrary. The licensing statement is there to make that intent clear and obvious, so that no one thinks he or she isn't "allowed" to use what I've given him or her. I'm not guarding against anything with my license statement, and frankly, you shouldn't use copyright law to guard against anything other than malicious application of copyright law, either.

    But, in the right now, WotC and you and any other blogger, writer, or artist, has a vested interest in protecting what the law sees as property, even while working towards bettering the situation.

    If you're going to make statements like that, you should probably start by explaining what "protection" you think I'm seeking.

    As an advocate for these issues, I think it is rather disingenuous to target WotC in this manner when, as a company, they've taken unprecedented steps in nurturing such an environment.

    I'm targeting WotC for, subsequent to taking those laudable steps, it has now taken to trying to stamp out any viable open gaming community and industry it has spawned. Its virtues in the past do not excuse its sins of the present. To reiterate: the GSL was clearly designed as an OGL-killer. Is it clear yet why I object?

    while protecting their property

    I think we need flashing red lights and raucous klaxon sounds every time you misuse a term like that. Even the law doesn't agree with your misuse of terms!

    Comment by apotheon — 11 February 2009 @ 04:45

  11. Good post! I thought I knew most of the issues around copyright from years of interest in the free/open side of software and games, but I never knew that the (US) law makes a material distinction between real property and copyright/trademarks/patents.

    I was wondering too where Amagi Games had gone, so I'm glad to have that answered.

    I know that it was only "one site" and that it was (partially) a commercial venture, but I'm pleased that WotC's action against Ema's site has caused enough waves that these issues are being discussed in the bloggertubes. When everything they've done since then and before is looked at together, the post–Ryan Dancey WotC is a very different, and less pleasant, animal than the pre–Ryan Dancey WotC.

    Comment by d7 — 11 February 2009 @ 09:26

  12. Good post!

    Thanks! I read your Learn from TSR's history post on the 10th, and thought it was very well presented — well enough that I submitted it to reddit, where it seems to be getting a mostly positive response.

    it was (partially) a commercial venture

    In some respects, I actually care more about the commercial ventures than the noncommercial (all else being equal), because they serve as the early warning sign that something has gone awry. They're like the metaphorical canary in the coal mine; when they start dying, we know there's a poison spreading. Plus, y'know, commercial ventures have more incentive to keep operating, so that they're less likely to get abandoned as the OGF seems to have been (again, all else being equal). That's one reason I'd like to turn a copyfree licensed game into a commercial success myself, where "success" is defined as "something that at least pays for itself".

    he post–Ryan Dancey WotC is a very different, and less pleasant, animal than the pre–Ryan Dancey WotC.

    I have to agree with that — as I'm sure you were able to infer from the SOB entry above.

    Comment by apotheon — 12 February 2009 @ 12:13

  13. A Story-games thread on the disappearance of Amagi, including some plans mr. Kornelsen has for future: http://www.story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=8674

    Comment by Tommi — 12 February 2009 @ 01:23

  14. Thanks for the update, Tommi.

    Comment by apotheon — 12 February 2009 @ 05:28

  15. Excellent article. Thanks for the information.

    Comment by Ajit — 14 February 2009 @ 04:08

  16. Interesting reading.....i'll be your editor for you game ;)

    Comment by peasantbutcher — 16 February 2009 @ 08:37

  17. With luck, you'll be one of hundreds of editors, once I have enough written for the game to go public with the work-in-progress. I'm planning to leverage public access to help me make it a better game, employing an open development process to best effect, rather than offering key bits under an open license and continuing to treat it like a closed development process the way WotC did. That was really their original, big mistake with the OGL — they seemed to just think that the license would magically boost sales, without actually taking advantage of the characteristics of the license in their business model.

    Comment by apotheon — 16 February 2009 @ 01:18

  18. [...] into the (self) publishing field. Chad Perrin SOB followed up on Mad Brew’s post with “RPGs and Intellectual Protectionism“, once again a somewhat humorous take on the RPG industry. What’s better is… he [...]

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