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Wizards of the Coast, in their draft Open Gaming License 1.2 include the following notice:

NOTICE OF DEAUTHORIZATION OF OGL 1.0a. The Open Game License 1.0a is no longer an authorized license. This means that you may not use that version of the OGL, or any prior version, to publish SRD content after (effective date). It does not mean that any content previously published under that version needs to update to this license. Any previously published content remains licensed under whichever version of the OGL was in effect when you published that content.

This is related to OGL 1.0a section 9 (found here, for instance):

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.

Is Wizards able to do this? I mean, obviously they can say that they deauthorize it, but does that have any legal weight? Supposing that they publish this notice as is, must all derivative works of say, D&D 3.5, be published under OGL 1.2?

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Yes, they can

The 1.0a licence is a contract that was offered for acceptance to the public. Anyone who has accepted that offer for a particular product has entered a binding contract with WotC. However, WotC is under no obligation to continue making that offer and they have explicitly revoked it - no one can accept it from the time the offer was revoked. This is contract law 101.

Must all derivative works use OGL 1.2?

No

Only those derivatives of copyrighted works that are not fair use/dealing must use the licence. Game rules are not subject to copyright, however, game “lore” and trademark is. There is no bright line separating one from the other. If you want to be safe, use the licence. If you want to live on the edge, hire an IP lawyer.

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  • You somehow dodged the point in your first paragraph. What does this mean for people that did enter a binding contract? What happens to the book on a store shelf that was published using the 1.0a license?
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 17:06
  • @nvoigt there is no question on that - the paragraph is clear that noting happens to it
    – Dale M
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 21:59
  • I'm still not clear on what it is doing (possibly based on the wording of the OP) - does this just mean that new users can no longer acquire the license for new works, and that people who have licensed material can continue to publish that material? You talk about "book on a store shelf published under 1.0a" - but once it's sold out, can the author print more copies and put them on the shelf? The license does say it's "perpetual", so I'd have thought yes, but who knows?
    – John C
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 18:32

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