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Why Did Wizards of the Coast Try to Cancel the OGL?

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Why Did Wizards of the Coast Try to Cancel the OGL?

Photo: Simon Hayter/Toronto Star (Getty Images)

Ben Riggs is a D&D historian and author of the book Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons.

The OGL debacle appears to be over, but we are left with many questions about the events of the past two months. I have been trying to find the answers to these questions, and have interviewed upwards of a dozen individuals. I have spoken to Wizards of the Coast employees, third party publishers, lawyers, gamers, and fellow journalists, many of whom only agreed to speak under confidentiality given that many signed NDAs, or are Wizards employees. And I think I have some answers.

One of the most important questions may be why Wizards tried to cancel the Open Gaming License. The revised text of the now dead as a dodo OGL 1.1 has an answer for us: money. The text reads:

“…moving forward, hugely successful businesses that generate more than $750,000 of annual revenue will also need to share some of that success with us by paying a royalty of 20 to 25% of the “qualifying revenue” they make in excess of $750,000.”

I stick upon the use of the word “share” in that passage. Yes, sharing and paying are both acts of giving, but the difference between the two? It is all the difference in the world.

A confidential source within Wizards told me that making money was the intention behind the OGL revision. They reported the company wanted to receive money from the profits of huge 5E Kickstarters and successful 3rd party publishers.

Money is a comprehensible motivation for the Hasbro-owned company. The Open Gaming License 1.0a was a gift to the D&D and TTRPG communities. It is a revolutionary document in the history of TTRPGs. The golden age of TTRPGs that we’ve been living through is in many ways a product of the OGL.

However, one could argue that while the OGL was great for the community and industry, it was not good for Wizards. It is easy for math-minded bean counters to see every dollar spent on a 3rd party product as a dollar lost to Wizards. (I disagree with that interpretation, but it’s easy to see the argument.) Heck, Wizards tried to kill of the OGL once before with 4th edition and its Game System License.

But “Wizards wanted to make more money,” is not the answer D&D Executive Producer Kyle Brink is giving on his PR tour of the internet. For example, in his interview with Three Black Halflings on February 7th, Mr. Brink said there were three reasons to revise the OGL: The advent of new technologies (such as NFTs), the creation of hateful content, and large corporations moving into the space. By large corporations, Brink said he meant, “Meta big. Disney big.” Wizards wanted to limit or control those things, and it was impossible under the Open Gaming License 1.0a.

Brink followed up with a hypothetical example wherein Facebook/Meta was trying to make a virtual reality D&D space. I emailed Brink to ask if he had any knowledge that Facebook/Meta was attempting to do such a thing, and he said it was a concern, but the changes in OGL 1.1 were “future-proofing, not reactive.” I also contacted Meta to ask if it had plans to do such a thing, but have not heard back as of this writing.

But in summary, Brink said that Wizards was acting to protect the D&D brand, and to some extent the community, in its revision of the OGL.

So what should we believe? Was the OGL revision a misguided attempt to do good or an attempt to make money?

First, it is hard to take the claims about NFTs and hateful content seriously. Hasbro already sells Power Ranger NFTs, and while the OGL 1.0a does allow hateful people to produce hateful content that you could hatefully use at a table while gaming, they can’t call it D&D. The name is protected by trademark.

Furthermore, a confidential source within Wizards said that concern about Facebook/Meta was not a primary driver behind the OGL decision. Also, the royalty scheme within OGL 1.1 makes no sense if you’re worrying about competition from Meta. The OGL 1.1 said that if you made 5th edition content under its terms, you had to pay a 25% royalty on gross profits over $750,000. Meta is a $572 billion company. They can manage a 25% royalty.

In an email with me, Brink conceded the point. But went on to write:

No multi-billion-dollar corporation is going to want to pay a royalty without negotiating first. Could they afford it? Sure. Would they want to? No. They would probably approach us for a better deal. And that was the point: to encourage the biggest players to work with us as direct licensees, so that we would have a say in their products and services that affected the community and the D&D play experience.”

So according to Mr. Brink, OGL 1.1 was an attempt to gain leverage over others making them into direct licensees.

If that’s true, then this wasn’t about NFTs, Nazis, Meta or money. It was about power.

Brink did go on to add that this was a mistake. He wrote to me in an email, “We were wrong in our assessment of the damage the royalty structure would have on the D&D publishing industry[,]” and added, “We never wanted to damage the D&D publishing ecosystem, and that is why we dropped this entire provision in response to feedback. We were wrong.”

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Top CIA agent shared pro-Palestinian to Facebook after Hamas attack: report

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Top CIA agent shared pro-Palestinian to Facebook after Hamas attack: report

A high-ranking CIA official boldly shared multiple pro-Palestinian images on her Facebook page just two weeks after Hamas launched its bloody surprise attack on Israel — while President Biden was touring the Jewish state to pledge the US’s allegiance to the nation.

The CIA’s associate deputy director for analysis changed her cover photo on Oct. 21 to a shot of a man wearing a Palestinian flag around his neck and waving a larger flag, the Financial Times reported.

The image — taken in 2015 during a surge in the long-stemming conflict — has been used in various news stories and pieces criticizing Israel’s role in the violence.

The CIA agent also shared a selfie with a superimposed “Free Palestine” sticker, similar to those being plastered on businesses and public spaces across the nation by protesters calling for a cease-fire.

The Financial Times did not name the official after the intelligence agency expressed concern for her safety.

“The officer is a career analyst with extensive background in all aspects of the Middle East and this post [of the Palestinian flag] was not intended to express a position on the conflict,” a person familiar with the situation told the outlet.

The individual added that the sticker image was initially posted years before the most recent crisis between the two nations and emphasized that the CIA official’s Facebook account was also peppered with posts taking a stand against antisemitism.

The image the top-ranking CIA official shared on Facebook.

The latest post of the man waving the flag, however, was shared as Biden shook hands with Israeli leaders on their own soil in a show of support for the Jewish state in its conflict with the terrorist group.

Biden has staunchly voiced support for the US ally since the Oct. 7 surprise attack that killed more than 1,300 people, making the CIA agent’s posts in dissent an unusual move.

A protester walks near burning tires in the occupied West Bank on Nov. 27, 2023, ahead of an expected release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages. AFP via Getty Images

In her role, the associate deputy director is one of three people, including the deputy CIA director, responsible for approving all analyses disseminated inside the agency.

She had also previously overseen the production of the President’s Daily Brief, the highly classified compilation of intelligence that is presented to the president most days, the Financial Times said.

“CIA officers are committed to analytic objectivity, which is at the core of what we do as an agency. CIA officers may have personal views, but this does not lessen their — or CIA’s — commitment to unbiased analysis,” the CIA said in a statement to the outlet.

The top CIA official has since deleted the pro-Palestinian images from her social media page. Hamas Press Service/UPI/Shutterstock

Follow along with The Post’s live blog for the latest on Hamas’ attack on Israel


Neither the Office of the Director of National Intelligence nor the White House responded to The Post’s request for comment.

All of the official’s pro-Palestinian images and other, unrelated posts have since been deleted, the outlet reported.

Palestinian children sit by the fire next to the rubble of a house hit in an Israeli strike. REUTERS

The report comes as CIA Director William Burns arrived in Qatar, where he was due to meet with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts and the Gulf state’s prime minister to discuss the possibility of extending the pause in fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip for a second time.

Israel and Hamas agreed Monday to an additional two-day pause in fighting, meaning combat would likely resume Thursday morning Israel time if no additional halt is brokered.

Both sides agreed to release a portion of its hostages under the arrangement.

More than 14,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including many women and children, have been killed in the conflict, according to data from the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.



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Lee Hsien Yang faces damages for defamation against two Singapore ministers over Ridout Road rentals

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Lee Hsien Yang faces damages for defamation against two Singapore ministers over Ridout Road rentals

High Court ruling: Lee Hsien Yang directed to compensate Ministers Shanmugam and Balakrishnan for defamatory remarks on Ridout Road state bungalows. (PHOTO: MCI/YouTube and ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images ) ((PHOTO: MCI/YouTube and ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images ))

SINGAPORE — The High Court in Singapore has directed Lee Hsien Yang to pay damages to ministers K. Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan for defamatory statements made in Facebook comments regarding their rental of black-and-white bungalows on Ridout Road.

The court issued a default judgment favouring the two ministers after Lee – the youngest son of Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and brother of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – failed to address the defamation lawsuits brought against him. Lee had, among other claims, insinuated that the ministers engaged in corrupt practices and received preferential treatment from the Singapore Land Authority for their bungalow rentals.

The exact amount of damages will be evaluated in a subsequent hearing.

Restricted from spreading defamatory claims against ministers

Not only did Justice Goh Yi Han grant the default judgment on 2 November, but he also imposed an injunction to prohibit Lee from further circulating false and defamatory allegations.

In a released written judgment on Monday (27 November), the judge highlighted “strong reasons” to believe that Lee might persist in making defamatory statements again, noting his refusal to remove the contentious Facebook post on 23 July, despite receiving a letter of demand from the ministers on 27 July.

Among other things, Lee stated in the post that “two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls, felling trees and getting state-sponsored renovations.”

A report released by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in June concluded that no wrongdoing or preferential treatment had occurred concerning the two ministers. However, Lee continued referencing this post and the ongoing lawsuits, drawing attention to his remarks under legal scrutiny.

Justice Goh emphasised that the ministers met the prerequisites for a default judgment against Lee. The suits, separately filed by Shanmugam, the Law and Home Affairs Minister, and Dr Balakrishnan, the Foreign Affairs Minister, were initiated in early August.

Lee Hsien Yang alleges in his post that two ministers leased state-owned mansions, 26 and 31 Ridout Road from an agency, one of which they control, involving tree felling and receiving state-sponsored renovations.Lee Hsien Yang alleges in his post that two ministers leased state-owned mansions, 26 and 31 Ridout Road from an agency, one of which they control, involving tree felling and receiving state-sponsored renovations.

Lee Hsien Yang alleges in his post that two ministers leased state-owned mansions, 26 and 31 Ridout Road from an agency, one of which they control, involving tree felling and receiving state-sponsored renovations.(SCREENSHOTS: Google Maps)

He failed to respond within 21 days

Lee and his wife, Lee Suet Fern, had left Singapore in July 2022, after declining to attend a police interview for potentially giving false evidence in judicial proceedings over the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will.

His absence from Singapore prompted the court to permit Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan to serve him legal documents via Facebook Messenger in mid-September. Despite no requirement for proof that Lee saw these documents, his subsequent social media post on 16 September confirmed his awareness of the served legal papers.

Although Lee had the opportunity to respond within 21 days, he chose not to do so. Additionally, the judge noted the novelty of the ministers’ request for an injunction during this legal process, highlighting updated court rules allowing such measures since April 2022.

Justice Goh clarified that despite the claimants’ application for an injunction, the court needed independent validation for its appropriateness, considering its potentially severe impact on the defendant. He reiterated being satisfied with the circumstances and granted the injunction, given the continued accessibility of the contentious Facebook post.

Lee acknowledges court order and removes allegations from Facebook

Following the court’s decision, Lee acknowledged the court order on 10 November and removed the statements in question from his Facebook page.

In the judgment, Justice Goh noted that there were substantial grounds to anticipate Lee’s repetition of the “defamatory allegations by continuing to draw attention to them and/or publish further defamatory allegations against the claimants.”

The judge mentioned that if Lee had contested the ministers’ claims, there could have been grounds for a legally enforceable case under defamation law.

According to Justice Goh, a reasonable reader would interpret Lee’s Facebook post as insinuating that the People’s Action Party’s trust had been squandered due to the ministers’ alleged corrupt conduct, from which they gained personally.

While Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan were not explicitly named, the post made it evident that it referred to them, and these posts remained accessible to the public, as noted by the judge.

Justice Goh pointed out that by choosing not to respond to the lawsuits, Lee prevented the court from considering any opposing evidence related to the claims.

Do you have a story tip? Email: [email protected].

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Also check out our Southeast Asia, Food, and Gaming channels on YouTube.

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Yahoo Singapore Telegram



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Tauranga judge orders Team Chopper Facebook pages taken down due to ‘threatening’ online communciations

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Tauranga judge orders Team Chopper Facebook pages taken down due to ‘threatening’ online communciations

Helen Fraser’s son Ryan Tarawhiti-Brown with Chopper, the dog at the centre of an attack on Tauranga vet Dr Liza Schneider.

The son of the woman whose Rottweiler dog attacked and seriously injured a Tauranga vet has been ordered to disable two Facebook pages that contained threats towards the vet and her business.

Ryan Tarawhiti-Brown (AKA Ryan Brown) ran and promoted a Facebook page called Team Chopper in support of his mother Helen Fraser’s legal battle to save her dog Chopper.

Chopper was euthanised following a court order handed down on August 21 by Judge David Cameron after he convicted Fraser of being the owner of a dog that attacked and seriously injured Holistic Vets co-owner Dr Liza Schneider.

The attack happened in the carpark of her Fraser St practice on October 14, 2022.

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Schneider was left with serious injuries after Chopper bit her arm, including a broken bone in her forearm, and deep tissue damage and nerve damage.

She required surgery and her arm took several months to heal.

Tauranga woman Helen Fraser, pictured here at her July trial, said that the case was "exceptional" and argued in favour of sparing Chopper's life. Photo / Ethan Griffiths
Tauranga woman Helen Fraser, pictured here at her July trial, said that the case was “exceptional” and argued in favour of sparing Chopper’s life. Photo / Ethan Griffiths

Following Fraser’s conviction, Schneider sought a takedown order after she told the court she and her practice had been the subject of constant online harassment and threats since October 2021.

Schneider said comments posted on the Team Chopper Facebook page included threats, harassment and derogatory and abusive comments.

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In an affidavit, Schneider said her Google account had also been bombarded with fake reviews which she alleged were incited by the Team Chopper page.

Court documents obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times confirm an interim judgment was made by Judge Lance Rowe on August 30 which ordered the page be taken down and any references to Schneider removed. She also asked for a written apology. This order was previously suppressed.

During a second court hearing on October 25, Tarawhiti-Brown’s lawyer Bev Edwards told Judge Cameron it was accepted her client had not complied with this order to take down the page.

Edwards said her client had instead changed the nature of the page to help promote the rights of cats and dogs, and no criticism or abuse of Schneider or Holistic Vets was made by her client in those posts.

Tarawhiti-Brown had filed an affidavit to similar effect, court documents show.

Schneider argued the change in tone had not prevented others from posting derogatory comments about her.

This included posts on September 23, which stated she should be “prosecuted for negligence”, “sucked” at her job and should lose her licence.

Edwards also submitted that Schneider was prepared to use social media to her own advantage when it suited, her and cited an online article published in June.

In Judge Cameron’s written judgement, dated November 13, Tarawhiti-Brown, who lives in Australia, was ordered to immediately disable or take down his two Facebook pages.

The judge ruled the digital communications on the Facebook pages had been “threatening” to Schneider and “amount to harassment of her”, and also caused her “ongoing psychological harm”.

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Judge Cameron also ordered Tarawhiti-Brown to refrain from making any digital communications about Schneider or identifying her or her business directly or indirectly, and not to encourage any other person to do so.

The judge said it was accepted by Schneider removal orders against Facebook/Meta were “fraught with difficulties”, including jurisdictional ones, and discontinued the takedown application against those organisations.

The judge did not order Tarawhiti-Brown to apologise to Schneider and lifted the suppression orders by consent of both parties, who had to pay their own legal costs.

Schneider and the NZ Veterinary Association, which has been supporting her, declined to comment on these court orders.

Tarawhiti-Brown was also approached for comment.

Sandra Conchie is a senior journalist at the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post who has been a journalist for 24 years. She mainly covers police, court and other justice stories, as well as general news. She has been a Canon Media Awards regional/community reporter of the year.

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