OSR Conservation Project

Apparently my proposal for an OSR conservation project found some interested people out there.

People that actually publish stuff and know or are interested to know how to license products properly.

After May 20th (and my last exam this semester) I’ll start working on a permanent, resilient, free, legally sound online library to make available free OSR products forever.

A second stage in the library evolution will be more focused on indexing and tagging the material and make it searchable.

If you have advices on an existing technical solution or component, please comment below. Unless a turnkey solution is already available and deployed somewhere I’ll provide the initial infrastructure.


We need:

  1. legal advice: the SRD is not easily combined with other licenses. We probably need both a license to cover redistribution and some criteria to decide if a products needs the SRD to be distributed or if can be covered by just CC BY-NC-SA or similar. Help from a professional would be extremely helpful. This needs to be done ASAP so that publishers can license products appropriately.
  2. licensed products from publishers: if you make available a free OSR PDF, be sure to send it to us and license it properly. This might mean adding the SRD or other applicable licence, and most probably supplying us with a redistribution license.
  3. awareness: if you have a blog, please spread the word.
  4. advices are always welcome! 🙂

If you want to contact us, just plop a mail at osrconservation (@) gmail (.) com

7 thoughts on “OSR Conservation Project

  1. The only thing that one needs as a yardstick for determining whether the OGL applies is this:

    Is your work a derivative of the SRD?

    Is the work designed to be compatible systems like OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord or any of the other retroclones?

    If you answer yes to any of these then the OGL is the only license that can be applied. CC can not be used because the OGL clearly states you can not add or subtract anything from the OGL and that by using their intellectual property you have agreed to the license.

    There again, any part of your work that you wish to maintain control over is placed under the Product Identity clause and THEN you can create a separate agreement outside of the OGL detailing how others can use your PI.

    I am not a lawyer but I have studied this quite extensively and will help anyone to understand and write their license. For the majority of creators it is easier than falling off a log. It’s only when you get into large scale products that involve a lot of OGC from different sources that it gets tricky.

    And I would like to thank tsojcanth for taking the time to get the ball rolling on this. It would seem even you have had someone copying your material so you can see the benefit to having this issue of license resolved.

    Again, if you have questions for me please feel free to contact me and I will help even if that means just pointing you in the right direction. 🙂

  2. As a librarian, I don’t think I can say this strongly enough: awesome.

    The indexing/tagging phase will be more important as the thing gets bigger. Be forewarned: people tend to over-tag things. The Library of Congress finds three to five subject headings sufficient for most books. That’s BOOKS with 100+ pages. You do not want to have a database of 10,000 articles and have 5,000 of them tagged “D&D” (in which case you may as well not search for “D&D”) UNLESS you are going to have very sophisticated search engine that can use tags to limit results and combine searches, say with Boolean operators. Ideally probably a set of 200 or so tags, with a clear format to follow for new tags, would be better than just letting everyone tag their own work or letting all users tag things as they wish.

    You will also want to try to make sure the authors, game systems, and settings use a standarized format, even when various forms appear on the items (e.g., E. Gary Gygax / Gary Gygax / EGG may all appear on various things but you want the index to use one form). The Library of Congress authority file might be a good starting point. (http://authorities.loc.gov/) There are a lot of librarians in the gaming world who would be happy to help, I think.

    “To a man with a hammer, all problems look like nails,” and as a cataloger I am focusing on cataloging issues maybe too much but I do hope this helps and will be happy to assist however I can.

    • Hi Mike,
      thanks for volunteering 🙂
      If you want you could maybe help starting to think about tags and classifications, and possibly draft something?
      Also it would be really awesome if someone pointed us to an existing free software solution for handling digital libraries 🙂

      Regarding the licences, I wonder if somebody at the EFF would be able to help us. I’ll fire them an email soon.

  3. This topic from last summer at 1KM1KT explains OGL a little clearer:


    Re: Open Game License or Creative Commons?

    Postby Starglim » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:38 pm

    The OGL allows you to lock down things like trademarks or setting elements as Product Identity, which you not only don’t release, but also anyone using your work must explicitly agree not to use. If your projects are entirely your own work, I believe that’s the main difference.

    If you’ve derived parts of your text from OGC sources (D&D 3e, d20 Modern, anyone who has used those, FATE or certain others) you have no choice – you can only release it without infringement by using the OGL.

    As well as adding a copy of the OGL, you must

    * (section 2) place a notice stating that the Open Game Content in your work can only be used under the licence,
    * (section 6) update the copyright notice section of the licence (that is, section 15) with the notices from all sources that you used and with a notice for your own product, and
    * (section 8 ) clearly indicate which parts of the work are Open Content, usually by a “Designation of Open Content” paragraph alongside the section 2 notice and your other legal notices.

  4. If you’re looking for metadata, information architecture, and search engine expertise at some point, I’d be happy to help out: that’s my day job. Feel free to email me for thoughts/input.


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