Strange Creative Commons Licence problem.

Rob Myers robmyers at
Fri Apr 16 04:19:54 EDT 2004

On Friday, April 16, 2004, at 08:25AM, Peter Brink <peter.brink at> wrote:

>I would not want to recommend the OGL over a CC license at all. OGL cannot 
>really be called an Open Content license, it allows the licensor to close 
>elements which are not possible to own from a IP law perspective. 

Surely this is just like the FDL's invariant sections or CC's no-derivs.

>It also 
>includes a general ,and thus very far reaching, restriction in the licensees 
>right to indicate co-adaptability and compatibility with any trademark. Being 
>able to indicate co-adaptability and compatibility with another game is 
>essential when dealing with role-playing games.

You need to understand where the OGL has come from and its intended market. The company that wrote it lost a lawsuit (yes, lost: WotC vs Palladium) about claiming compatibility some years earlier. So whilst it's essential, it's not something with a good precedent in law if a trademark holder gets upset. *
This limitation is roughly equivalent to a "no advertising" clause. Not GPL-compatible, no, but then nor are most Open Content licenses. 
The OGL is excellent for its intended purpose and contains some good stuff. It is not particularly useful outside of pen&paper role-playing games except as an interesting model.

- Rob.

* - IANAL. They settled in Palladium's favor. Don't know if this was in or out of court. It was more about mechanics and trademarks than a simple "this is compatible" notice. But you don't mess with Palladium...

More information about the cc-licenses mailing list