Paizo Releases First Draft for Its Universal RPG Licence to the Public

Paizo Releases First Draft for Its Universal RPG Licence to the Public

Just as the weekend started, TTRPG company Paizo has published the first draft of its Open RPG Creative Licence (ORC).

This comes months after president Jim Butler said the company was looking into the matter when Wizards of the Coast was preparing to deauthorize its own ORC this past January. Though Wizards later backed down from those changes following weeks of controversy, Paizo remained committed to getting its ORC out the door. Made in collaboration with intellectual property law firm Azora, Paizo hopes the ORC will allow for common game mechanics to be spread across the wider tabletop space and be used without fear of infringing on a company’s copyright.

In addition to the ORC licence draft, Paizo released a draft of its FAQ for the document, both of which can be downloaded. The company stressed that everything in the drafts for the ORC and FAQ are both subject to change, and feedback on them is welcome. If either draft looks a little difficult to wrap your head around, that’s unfortunately a side effect of ensuring the ORC is as free as possible to players in a way that keeps them (and game publishers) happy. “We opted for simplicity wherever possible but when we were faced with a decision between precision or simplicity, we opted for precision,” explained Paizo in the FAQ. “Slicing copyright in half is challenging. We want this to last for a very very long time and resist all imaginable legal challenges. If we could have found a way to make it simpler, we would have done so.”

The current feedback period is expected to continue until Friday, April 21 (so in two weeks!), after which Paizo and Azora will take that feedback and release another draft with that taken into account. “If additional rounds of public commentary are required, the process will continue until the licence is complete,” Paizo notes, “and meets the needs of the majority of participating publishers. It is our intention to wrap up the entire process by the end of April if possible. […] That work is now complete, and the next phase begins.”

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