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Author Topic: The Text Liberation License  (Read 107 times)

John Kirk

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The Text Liberation License
« on: February 02, 2023, 03:59:33 PM »
Like most people in our community, the latest debacle with Wizards of the Coast's mishandling of the OGL ticked me off. For the past several years, I've been tinkering with designing an open license, which I call the Text Liberation License (TLL), to release my homebrew RPG under. After I heard about WotC's actions to revoke the OGL 1a, I got off my butt and sent a draft TLL to my lawyer to spruce up with proper legal verbiage. We went back and forth several times over the past month, and we finally got it to a point where we think it's good enough to get public feedback.

I am aware of the Open RPG Creative (ORC) license. This initiative is completely unrelated to that one. I wish them well in their efforts. However, I'd already gotten the ball rolling with the TLL by the time the ORC plans were announced, and I saw no reason to stop what I was doing. And, who knows? Maybe this license will give them some ideas. In any case, I think the community will benefit from having choices. The Open Source community has many open licenses, each of which is tailored to fill a specific role. That is a strength of the Open Source community, not a weakness. After all, the open gaming community has recently experienced the potential catastrophe of becoming too over-reliant on a single license.

I created a new website to host the TLL: homebrew-avenue.org. The site's pretty crude at this point. But, you can download the draft license from there, or you can just use the link at the end of this post. I would appreciate feedback from the community on the TLL, which is why I'm posting to this forum. Once the license is finalized, I plan on releasing a public beta version of the homebrew RPG I've been developing under it.

The Homebrew Avenue website goes into detail about the philosophy behind this new license, and has a FAQ to answer the questions that I currently anticipate concerning it. In short, though, the TLL requires a work licensed under it to have a Text Liberation Date, which can be any date up to 25 years after the work's release date. Prior to the Text Liberation Date, a contributor has exclusive rights to their contributions, during which time they can profit from their creation however they see fit. Once the Text Liberation Date passes, though, the text of the work becomes liberated, allowing anyone to use the text for any purpose, provided it retains the same license. So, it embraces the share-and-share-alike philosophy common to many open content licenses, but it grants a contributor a period of exclusivity on their own contributions before they are freed for anyone's use.

To be clear, I'm not asking for legal advice here. As I said, I've been working with a lawyer to get the TLL in shape (who has done a wonderful job!). Once I get feedback, I'll take any potential changes back to my lawyer to polish the license for a final release. What I'm looking for is feedback on whether there are any glaring holes in the license that we've missed from a usability standpoint, and your general impression concerning it. If you're a homebrewer or a publisher, is this something you'd consider using? If not, why not?

Draft Text Liberation License (version Beta 0.2):  http://homebrew-avenue.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/The-Text-Liberation-License-Beta-0.2-DRAFT.pdf
John Kirk

Check out Homebrew Avenue, home of the Text Liberation License, which is designed for the open content community.

Also, download free gaming materials from legendaryquest.com.

Zelen

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Re: The Text Liberation License
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2023, 07:48:58 PM »
That's an interesting idea. I didn't thoroughly read the license document, simply glanced at it.

Here's a general question: How does the TLL handle issues of multiple editions? I assume, for example, if I wrote Rulebook v1.0 under the TLL and set a 25 year time limit, if I produce Rulebook v1.01, 1.02, 1.03, over the course of several years -- when the 25 year limit expires, which version is liberated? Only 1.0?

John Kirk

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Re: The Text Liberation License
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2023, 09:01:05 PM »
That's a good question.

Assuming each of the editions has a Text Liberation Date of 25 years from their initial release, then, yes. Twenty-five years after the release of the initial Rulebook 1.0, its text would be liberated. But, anything extra (or modified) in the subsequent Rulebooks wouldn't be liberated until their respective Text Liberation Dates pass.

Of course, it's possible to set the Text Liberation Dates of the subsequent Rulebooks to be earlier than 25 years past their respective release dates. You could, for example, have them coincide with that of the Rulebook v1.0, if you wanted to do that for some reason. But, that's not required.

John Kirk

Check out Homebrew Avenue, home of the Text Liberation License, which is designed for the open content community.

Also, download free gaming materials from legendaryquest.com.