OSR Conservation Process: New Licence

After listening to authors feedback the OSR Conservation Process licence agreement for new uploads changed.

While the positive feedback is not worth mentioning (but always appreciated), the negative feedback is important because it might highlight problems that need to be fixed. Negative feedback revolves mostly arount two terms of the licence: irrevocability and modification.

Licence irrevocability means that a copyright holder can not unilaterally terminate the licence and take a document offline, making it unavaiable. The reason of the OSR Conservation Process is to stop this kind of loss to happen, without caring if the loss is accidental or deliberate. I believe allowing copyright holders to remove work is counterproductive to the aim of OCP and, well, there are plenty of websites ready to host your free RPGs (like RPGNow!) so authors can vote with their feet.

The modification termn, enabling OCP to change the uploaded documents, is a completely different matter. This clause made uncomfortable a number of authors, and rightly so. It’s been included to allow OCP to transform files from a format to another (allowing creation of ebooks) but it can also mean that in theory OCP could replace all copyright and author notices and entitle them to some “Odo the Bishop of Bayeux”. Or swap all interior illustrations.

Well, that’s not going to happen.

And it’s been countering the OCP growth.

So it’s been dropped. The “core” concept of the conservation process is to keep our gaming culture from vanishing. Automatic ebook support, while fancy, is not “core” and therefore it’s been dropped along the way. Finding out what’s important and what’s not is critical during critical times.

8 thoughts on “OSR Conservation Process: New Licence

  1. Seems to me the problem wasn’t ebooks, but permission to do anything at all to the document. Limit any such clause to ebooks, or whatever, and the problem goes away. A ‘we’ll make no substantial edits’ clause, with ‘substantial’ defined to mean changing the text or pictures in any way, &ct seems like a good idea too.

    • Ok, that’s another extremely good point and will be actioned. I’m not sure where it says that OCP can sell the licenced works tho.

      • “By submitting material to the OSR Conservation Process (OCP) you grant OCP a non-exclusive, non-revokable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, transferable, license to host, store, distribute the submitted data without any limitation in media or form.”

        This means you can take the files that have been uploaded, and put them on RPGNow for money, or burn them to a CD and sell the CD, or sell them on ebay, or put up print copies on lulu, etc.

        Unless I’m misunderstanding ‘distribute the submitted data without any limitation’

        • I take “limitation in media or form” to mean that I can torrent or burn CDs or put them onto servers. Probably a “for non-commercial purposes only” could be added.

          This is getting really frustrating.

          • It might help to ask around if there’s a lawyer who’s willing to do some pro bono or cheap work on this. Should be pretty simple and based on existing licensing language with just a few hours of sweaty ol’ legal research to get it done professionally.

          • Problem is, after I went live with the site nobody that offered help came up and actually contributed. The site is at the moment offline, will most probably go up again soon.

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