OpenD6:OpenD6 and the Open Game License
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, and only reflects the opinions of an anonymous gamer.
- 1 The basics
- 2 How to be legit
- 3 Points to consider
- 4 References
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 OpenD6 Open Game License is included with D6 Adventure. 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