Hasbro delays new Dungeons & Dragons licensing rules following fan backlash – CNBC

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Hasbro postponed its update of its Dungeons & Dragons licensing terms after thousands of the game’s players pushed back on proposed changes.

The attempt to create a new D&D open game license comes as Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast unit looks to capitalize on a surge in popularity of the nearly 50-year-old game.

Hasbro said it still intends to create a new OGL but that it will not include a royalty structure or give itself access to intellectual property made by third-party content creators.

The  Rhode Island-based toy maker postponed its update of its licensing terms in order to address mounting concern from the D&D community, which largely viewed the proposed changes as overreaching and unfair to third-party content creators.

Hasbro said it still intends to create a new open game license, or OGL, but that it will not include a royalty structure or give itself access to intellectual property made by third-party content creators.

CNBC obtained copies of Hasbro’s reformed licensing agreements — OGL 1.1 and an FAQ section for OGL 2.0. According to the documents, Hasbro had sought to require independent publishers and content creators to report financial data directly to the company’s Wizards of the Coast division, which includes D&D. At a certain threshold, the revised agreement would have forced independent creators to pay significant fees.

The first agreement, OGL 1.1, contained a clause that would have given Wizards access to new and original content created by third-party publishers. However, that was retracted in OGL 2.0.

D&D fans rallied around a petition called #OpenDND, signed by nearly 67,000 people, and began canceling their subscriptions to Wizard’s online toolkit, D&DBeyond, in order to protest changes to the license.

Hasbro said the two OGL documents were drafts and that the company always planned to make changes to the text. In a statement Friday, Hasbro said it still plans to revisit the OGL but that the final version will not contain a royalty structure or a license back provision.

The licensing changes come ahead of the release of “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” a movie starring Chris Pine, as well as a recent deal with Paramount+ to stream a D&D television show. Additionally, “True Blood” actor Joe Manganiello is set to direct a documentary about the game with Kyle Newman slated for release in 2024 for the game’s 50th anniversary.

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