Help:Legal

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Licensing

D&D wiki's pages are, by default, licensed under (GNU Free Documentation License 1.3).

You may, of course, choose the Open Game License v1.0a, Creative Commons Attributed Noncommercial Share Alike, and others at a pages creation (see a list of current license templates here).

Relicensing, (redistributing a work under a different license after its initial creation) under the Creative Commons Attributed Noncommercial Share Alike license is not possible.

Here's what you need to know about what that all means when posting here:

We are not Wizards of the Coast or Paizo

D&D Wiki is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast or Paizo Publishing in any way, shape, or form. We are a community of D&D enthusiasts and RPG hobbysists, with a focus on collaborative game design in the production of derivative works based on Dungeons & Dragons and its spinoff games, D20 Modern and Pathfinder. This community reproduces OGL content for the purposes of reference within the wiki, not as an encyclopedic project of officially published content.

Do not reproduce officially published non-OGL content on this wiki. It will be removed as a violation of WotC or Paizo copyright.

User Attribution

Users should not apply user attribution templates, categories, or announcements to the display page of a given piece of content. In order to encourage compliance with GNU-FDL v.1.3, section 4.B., authorship is recorded in the history section of a page. In order for a user to redistribute a copy of any work from this wiki, they would need to go to the history page and record all involved authors, not just the person who originally posted their content to the wiki (or supply a reference to the said history).

Additionally, user attribution disclaimers quickly become a disorganized mess, with every user using their own version, and some pages having dozens of contributing authors, as well as many contributors having nothing more than an IP to identify them, a display page can quickly become cluttered and ugly. Such disclaimers do nothing to improve the quality of the content on that page and, thanks to the history record, are entirely redundant.

So, please just don't do that.

Be Careful What You Post

At the bottom of every single edit page is the following disclaimer. Please take it to heart when posting content on this, (or any) wiki.

If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here.

See also D&D Wiki:Copyrights. The licensing of documents on this wiki can become problematic if a user does not want their work under one of these licenses, but fails to realize that it has been posted as such. This most frequently occurs when someone wishes to retain full copyright ownership of a singular work. D&D Wiki has no policies which explicitly condone or protect such illegitimate copyright claims, and the licensing does not give us any reason to do so. Furthermore, protecting territorial claims of mis-licensed copyright leads directly to a wide variety of social disturbances in a community which focuses on collaborative creativity. The two objectives are at odds with one-another. Because collaborative creativity benefits the majority of people, (the community as a whole) in every situation, while protecting a single copyright dispute only benefits one person, (the person who posted it) we do not permit such behavior. If you are going to publish something, take the time to read the terms it is being published under.

Once a work has been posted to the wiki, it can very rapidly grow and change in a manner which the original contributor cannot control, gaining a long list of contributing authors in its history page. As such, if an author accidentally posts something they want to retain full copyright over, under the wrong license, it can be extremely difficult to justifiably remove said content from the wiki afterwards. In general, if a page has no other authors in its history, or on the talk page, and no other author's works link to it, nobody will notice if you delete your own work. What we don't know won't kill us. However, once a work has become a collaborative effort, with the combined efforts of multiple authors, it now becomes difficult to do so. Technically, every author has shared a part in the page's current state. Trying to remove it from the wiki as being under copyright by yourself would actually be a violation of the original license the work was published under, because there are now actual people who can contest your claim. If you only have a couple of editors, it may be possible to convince them to allow the page to be removed. Sometimes, if the only other editor was an admin, depending on their attitude toward the work in question, may agree to remove the page for you due to a licensing mistake. The key is to be calm, polite, and talk it out honestly and clearly with your fellow wikians. For more information about the collaborative nature of this wiki, please see Help:Spirit and Intent.

If you are confused about page licensing options, STOP, and take the time to become thoroughly knowledgeable. So, if you do not want your work to indirectly partially belong to everyone who participates in this community, do not post it here. Your work is also available to the larger community.

It is strongly recommended that you read the license before you post content. If you are posting material to the Main namespace, it is assumed that you are doing so with an interest in participating in the collaborative activity here. Subuserpages are a safe place to post material for self-reference purposes, as it is socially unacceptable to edit someone else's user page or its subpages, but be aware that those pages are still being posted under the GNU-FDL license. Rather, subuserpages are better used to record a stable copy of something from the main namespace for your personal reference, or for working on unfinished projects prior to moving them into the main namespace.

Dual-Publishing to D&D Wiki & Dungeon Master's Guild

Keep in mind that none of us are lawyers. This is our understanding of the legal situation here based on reading and discussing the licenses and contacting Wizards of the Coast support.

"Create, don’t copy. We reserve the right to stop publishing and selling your work if we think it goes against the spirit of the Dungeon Masters Guild program. All authors should respectfully use the content originally created by Wizards of the Coast or other Dungeon Masters Guild creators. For example, if a Dungeon Masters Guild author releases a trilogy of adventures, and another author takes those three adventures, compiles them, and republishes them as a single collection, without substantive original additions or changes, then we would stop publishing and selling that collected work because it adds no value to the Dungeon Masters Guild community content. It’s simply one author copying another author’s work and looking to make a royalty on it." --Dungeon Master's Guild Mantra

1. The OGL and DM's Guild are 100% incompatible. The OGL is an actual public license, but the DM's Guild merely provides permission. Although it is possible to publish some content under both, if it is simple enough, it would need to be published under each condition separately. (You'd have to publish one version through the DMs Guild, and then publish it again on your own as OGL as a separate instance.) Things get even more complicated once you get the GNU-FDL 1.3 involved.

2. Everything on this wiki is published under the OGL and GFDL at the same time. (There's actually more than one OGL, so even that is more complicated than you may think) That means you can not publish non-OGC content (such as trademarks) on this wiki at all. Because the Dungeon Master's Guild grants permission to use such content, this is the primary limiting factor as to whether content may be published through both formats.

3. The GFDL does allow redistribution of the work, even for sale, BUT it requires that the GFDL be reproduced with the work (or made available from it) and a list of contributing authors be reproduced with the work (or made available from it). That gets a little sticky when you want to redistribute content from the wiki, because, let's face it, things change here. Even if you follow the GFDL to the letter, a single edit from another user could render your redistributed work (and all extant copies of it) violate of the GFDL!

As such, the work would also need a disclaimer noting the date of the final edit relevant to the redistribution, as the GFDL does not prohibit the redistribution of prior versions of a piece of content. Redistributing a timestamped version is the safest way to go, because they are, by definition, static.

4. If you make any changes to the work prior to redistribution, it may be possible to call your work "derivative" and cite the wiki page as your inspiration source, as long as your changes are significant enough. In that situation, you could license the work however you want, it's nolonger legally tied to the original- it's yours. This is kind of an ugly grey area though, and a risky legal position to take. Lawyers have been arguing about how much change is necessary for something to be considered original/derivative/inspired rather than infringement, for over a century.

5. THE DUNGEON MASTER'S GUILD DOES NOT GIVE YOU A LICENSE. It gives you written and limited consent to use their copyrighted and trademarked material in your work, and gives you the right to make a profit from the sale of these works, but stipulates that your work be published through their approved channel and adhere to their product requirements. This means YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RELICENSE ANY WORKS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED THROUGH THE DUNGEON MASTER'S GUILD.

So, while it is possible to relicense GFDL content from the wiki to the DM's Guild as a form of redistribution, it is not possible to redistribute anything from there, in its original state, here.

6. And on that note, a comment about ethics seems to be in order. What is legal is not necessarily always what is right. If you choose to redistribute content from D&D Wiki for personal profit, you are kind of violating the trust of everyone else who was involved in the development of that work toward its final state. You're making a profit off of somebody else's work, even if their contribution was very small. Now, if you only redistribute a version of the work which has only your identity attributed to its creation, then there's really nothing wrong with that. Nobody's being hurt by it. But if you never even edited a page, and 30 other people are attributed as bringing it into existence, and you decide to redistribute it for personal profit... Well, while it is legal, (in a funky, murky, foggy, grey-area way) I think everyone would agree that would make you a colossal &$$#@!=. And I don't think anyone will ban me for calling such a person that on the wiki either!

The DriveThruRPG Family

The Dungeon Master's Guild is part of a family of websites, which are effectively being "contracted out" by Wizards of the Coast to provide the service. This family of sites does not discriminate against GNU FDL v1.3 pages. Take a look at Remarkable Races Pathway to Adventure: The Numistian for an example of how GNU FDL pages have been included alongside other published materials. In addition, D&D Wiki Magazine can also be found on DriveThroughRPG. Just make sure that you do not break any of the legal information, for example by re-licensing homebrew GNU FDL materials.


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