Monday, June 22, 2015

"ORC" is a designation, NOT a license!

With Greg Gorgonmilk seeking to publish the new Gorgon Quarterly under the ORC designation, I feel like I need to clarify something... the ORC signifier is a designation, NOT a license. It has nothing to do with the content in the publication (which the word “license” implies). E.g., the OGL is a license. Rather, ORC is a designation, like a “flag” that says, "This is HOW this project put together," (people contributed freely/without pay, and the people publishing/organizing it are not making any money from this). A standard license (or lack of) must still be applied/used/considered for any content in a product flagged with the ORC designation. For example, while all the content in Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded was contributed freely (that is, without pay), all of the ownership rights (copyrights) remain with the individual contributors (meaning, there is no “license” for use of the content, as it falls under standard copyright laws).

The important thing to note here is that content and process are two different things. ORC is a "process" designation, not a "content" designation. In regards to the ORC designation, these two things have nothing to do with one another. E.g., something can be completely copyrighted and still be labeled as ORC content, if the person gave permission to use that content for free in that ORC publication (such is the case with Prof. Barker's article from Petty Gods). Also, it is possible that content that is considered Open Game content might not qualify for the ORC designation if the person who created that content got paid for writing it (e.g., if Greg Gorgonmilk paid me to write a new character class Gorgon Quarterly, and that class appears in the Gorgon Quarterly as Open Game Content, Gorgon Quarterly would no longer qualify for the ORC designation since I was paid to create that content).

BTW, since people are wont to call the guidelines for ORC logo usage a "license," I much prefer the term "Usage Requirements" for the ORC designation.


  1. I thought you were pretty clear on the usage....

  2. ...and just what, exactly, does O.R.C. stand for?

  3. ...and just what, exactly, does O.R.C. stand for?