The Open Game License (OGL) is a public copyright license that may be used by tabletop role-playing game developers to grant permission to modify, copy, and redistribute some of the content designed for their games, notably game mechanics. However, they must share-alike copies and derivative works.
Disclaimer: This document doesn't claim to be an exhaustive, authoritative treatise on the subject. There's no warranty of the accuracy of the information found here. This hasn't been reviewed by a legal expert.
What is OpenD6?
OpenD6 was created by Eric Gibson, the owner of West End Games, as the new standard for the D6 System -- a pen and paper Role Playing game which was used in such classic games as Star Wars D6, The Ghostbusters RPG, and Indiana Jones D6. His goal was to make the D6 System more available and customizable to the fan base at large.
OpenD6 is a trademark owned by Purgatory Publishing. It refers to the OpenD6 game system, which anyone is free to use as long as they follow the terms of the Open Game License. Purgatory Press has released "D6 Adventure" (WEG51011, Copyright 2004, by Purgatory Publishing Inc.) and several other books in the "51000 Series" under the terms of the Open Game License.
What is the Open Game License or OGL?
The Open Game License (OGL) is a royalty free copyright license developed by Wizards of the Coast. It allows publishers to share things with each other, such as a common game system (OpenD6 in this case).
To use the OpenD6 trademark, logo, or game system, one must comply with the terms of the Open Game License which Purgatory Press has released allowing that use. (It's all free to use and it's not hard to use the OGL at all.)
Where is the OpenD6 Open Game License?
As of this date, (June 2010), the current version of the OGL is included with all OpenD6 released books. Other books have been released which under the OGL which also contribute material. (See "How do I use material from more than one source" at the OGL FAQ.)
How to be legit
Place a copy of the OGL within your work
It's customary to include it at the end, but whatever works for you is fine. Just cut and paste the existing one and modify it as you need.
Update the Copyright Notice
Section 15 of the OGL needs to be amended with your information like this: (Title), Copyright (year), (your name or name of your company). Be sure to leave everyone else's copyright information in there too. For instance, if your book uses some Open Game Content material (even a tiny bit) from "Buck's Big OpenD6 Bonanza," this is where you give him credit, and yes, you have to give him credit. It's only fair.
Decide what is "Product Identity"
(Section 15 under Product Identity) Product Identity is material, otherwise clearly identified as Open Game Content, that is excluded from the License terms that apply to Open Game Content. Product Identity usually includes trademarks and other Intellectual Property (characters, settings, etc.) You can't use anything anyone else has declared as Product Identity in your product, so the only Product Identity you should have listed here should belong to you.
Determine what is "Open Game Content"
(Section 15 under Open Game Content) Open Game Content is any material that is distributed using the Open Game License clearly identified by the publisher as Open Game Content. Furthermore, any material that is derived from Open Game Content automatically becomes Open Game Content as well.
- It's the stuff that you made that you will let others use.
- It must include all existing Open Game Content you are republishing.
- It must include everything that you created based on existing Open Game Content.
Points to consider
The proper trademark is "OpenD6"
- It's not D6. (D6 System and the "D6" logo are separate trademarks belonging to Purgatory Publishing.)
- It's not Open D6. (OpenD6 is all one word with mid‐word capitalization.)
OpenD6 and D6 System trademarks aren't the same
OpenD6 and D6 System are both trademarks. The game mechanics are compatible. Everything "OpenD6" is "D6 System" compatible and vice versa. Many "D6 System" books have been released under the OGL, but that doesn't mean you may use the D6 System trademark or the "D6" logo without permission. The point of the OpenD6 trademark is to give gamers an idea of what is within a product.
You can't title your product "D6 Superheroes" or "Aliens D6" or anything similar without a special license from Purgatory Press – but that goes beyond the scope of this article. OpenD6 doesn't grant you the right to use the D6 System trademark.
You may use the term "D6" in game terminology
For instance in your product text you may refer to players rolling 3D6 or even a D6. This wouldn't be a challenge of trademark. It's common tabletop gaming lingo.
Don't use any material you aren't certain you can use
Don't use things you don't own and which you don't have a license to use. You might have a fun idea for a game based on your favorite movie, novel, comic book, or tv show. Chances are really good that you don't have the proper rights to use it if you are referring to this guide. You might not know who it belongs to, but know that there's a good chance that it could land you in legal hell if you do.
"Okay, but what if I change things just enough? The revolutionaries are out to end Dorth Fader and His Imperial Majesty's Grand Empire..." You're on your own. Consult a lawyer.
- "Though it is not specifically stated, text references to OpenD6 as the D6 System is fine in my book. It is primarily the old D6 logos that should not be used, using the OpenD6 logo instead. Of course, it would be silly of me to never allow or expect anyone to ever reference OpenD6 material as D6 System." (Eric Gibson, 2010-06-17)
- "To be clear, per the 'letter of the law' the text 'D6 System' is trademarked and not open under the OGL, but I'll allow its use in reference to OpenD6 in order to promote brand coherency and because to do otherwise is silly and pointless. It is like disallowing people from use 'D20' or 'd20' in a system's text, especially when a publisher might simply call it 'System 3.5' or 'OGL 3.5' or whatever. Doing so doesn't really protect the system in any way, especially since virtually every gamer knows what 'System 3.5,' 'Fantasy 3.5,' etc., really means. It's pointless obfuscation. Disallow the use of the D20 logo, fine. Disallow the use of D20 on the cover or other prominent places, ok. But to disallow it and force them to use a ubiquitous but unprotected name in the products text is just stupid." (Eric Gibson, 2010-06-18)
- As of this date, (June 2010), the current version of the OpenD6 Open Game License is included with D6 Adventure.
- A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the OGL (and their answers) can be found here and here.
- OpenD6 and the Open Game License rules of thumb
This is the OGL OpenD6 is released under:
OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a
The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc ("Wizards"). All Rights Reserved.
means the copyright and/or trademark owners who have contributed Open Game Content;
means copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted;
means to reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute;
(d)"Open Game Content"
means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright law, but specifically excludes Product Identity.
(e) "Product Identity"
means product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content;
means the logos, names, mark, sign, motto, designs that are used by a Contributor to identify itself or its products or the associated products contributed to the Open Game License by the Contributor
(g) "Use", "Used" or "Using"
means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content.
(h) "You" or "Your"
means the licensee in terms of this agreement.
2. The License:
This License applies to any Open Game Content that contains a notice indicating that the Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms of this License. You must affix such a notice to any Open Game Content that you Use. No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Content distributed using this License.
3. Offer and Acceptance:
By Using the Open Game Content You indicate Your acceptance of the terms of this License.
4. Grant and Consideration:
In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.
5. Representation of Authority to Contribute:
If You are contributing original material as Open Game Content, You represent that Your Contributions are Your original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License.
6. Notice of License Copyright:
You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder's name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.
7. Use of Product Identity:
You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.
If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content.
9. Updating the License:
Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.
10. Copy of this License:
You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy of the Open Game Content You Distribute.
11. Use of Contributor Credits:
You may not market or advertise the Open Game Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from the Contributor to do so.
12. Inability to Comply:
If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game Material so affected.
This License will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with all terms herein and fail to cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the breach. All sublicenses shall survive the termination of this License.
If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.
15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE
Open Game License v 1.0 Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Released Under OGL
- D6 Adventure
- D6 Adventure (WEG51011), Copyright 2004, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- D6 Adventure Creatures (WEG 51021), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- D6 Adventure Locations (WEG 51016), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc
- D6 Space
- D6 Space (WEG51012), Copyright 2004, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- D6 Space Aliens, Volume I (WEG 51022), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- D6 Space Ships (WEG 51017), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc
- D6 Fantasy
- D6 Fantasy (WEG51013), Copyright 2004, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- D6 Fantasy Locations (WEG 51020), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc
- D6 Fantasy Creatures (WEG 51015), Copyright 2005, Purgatory Publishing Inc
- D6 Magic/D6 Vade Mecum of Magic (WEG 51024)
- D6 Legend
- D6 Legend, Copyright 2009, Purgatory Publishing Inc
- D6 System
- The D6 System (WEG 51005), Copyright 1996, West End Games
- D6 Gamemaster’s Aid & Screen (WEG 51019), Copyright 2004, Purgatory Publishing Inc.
- Bill Coffins Septimus (WEG 54000), Copyright 2009, ""'9. Purgatory Publishing Inc and Bill Coffins
West End Games, WEG, and D6 System are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.
The D6 System; the D6 trademark, the D6 and related logos; OpenD6 and any derivative trademarks; and all cover and interior art and trade dress are designated as Product Identity (PI) and are properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc. Use of this PI will be subject to the terms set forth in the D6 System/OpenD6 System Trademark License (D6STL).
Open Game Content:
All game mechanics and materials not covered under Product Identity (PI) above.