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As you may know, the SRD5.1 is now available on Creative Commons Attributions license. https://www.dndbeyond.com/attachments/39j2li89/SRD5.1-CCBY4.0License.pdf

The document states that you can give attribution as follows:

This work includes material taken from the System Reference Document 5.1 (“SRD 5.1”) by Wizards of the Coast LLC and available at https://dnd.wizards.com/resources/systems-reference-document. The SRD 5.1 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

While they also add a clause which says:

Please do not include any other attribution regarding Wizards other than that provided above. You may, however, include a statement on your work that it is “compatible with fifth edition” or “5E compatible.”

As I see here, in my accreditation of Wizards of the Coast I may not include anything other than what they have stated above, but unlike the OGL I am not really forbidden from stating that "You can play using dungeons and dragons 5th edition rules" when advertising my work.

Is my understanding of this correct?

I know legalese might not be the best place here but I wanted the opinion of others.

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The term "Dungeons & Dragons" is not open content

The text within the SRD 5.1 document that is being put under CC-BY-4.0 never uses the term "Dungeons and Dragons" other than in the request not to use the term, so it is not part of the material made freely available.

There are two different licenses now:

  1. the OGL SRD 5.1 with all the OGL boilerplate and the rules text, and

  2. the CC-BY-4.0 SRD 5.1 with the much shorter Legal Information boilerplate:

The System Reference Document 5.1 is provided to you free of charge under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (“CC-BY-4.0”). You are free to use this content in any manner permitted by that license as long as you include the following attribution statement in your own work:

This work includes material taken from the System Reference Document 5.1 (“SRD 5.1”) by Wizards of the Coast LLC and available at https://dnd.wizards.com/resources/systems-reference-document. The SRD 5.1 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

Please do not include any other attribution regarding Wizards other than that provided above. You may, however, include a statement on your work that it is “compatible with fifth edition” or “5E compatible.”

Section 5 of CC-BY-4.0 includes a Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liability that limits our liability to you.

which is followed by the a page intentionally left blank, and again the rules text.

Nowhere in the CC-BY SRD 5.1 are the terms D&D or Dungeons & Dragons used, other than in the explicit request not to use the term Dungeons & Dragons, so those are not made exempt from copyright or put under CC-BY.

The CC-BY license guidance further advises you as a user

Pay attention to what exactly is being licensed. The licensor should have marked which elements of the work are subject to the license and which are not. For those elements that are not subject to the license, you may need separate permission.

Now you could claim that asking not to use the term is not the same as excluding it from being subject to the license, but the term was never made available under the CC-BY license to begin with, so there is no need to exclude it. That ask I think is really just to drive home the point for those to which it is not obvious they should not use it. I'd be very surprised if WotC's lawyers have not double checked that this still works to protect their primary copyrighted asset, the Dungeons & Dragons name.

(Note: I'm not a lawyer, and don't claim to be one. Get legal advice, if you need it, from a lawyer).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! The idea is that I would not include "Dungeons and Dragons" inside the CC-BY statement, nor anywhere inside the actual document, but I could just say outside on places like instagram that "Hey, check out this new D&D adventure I made!". The previous OGL specifically binded the person creating it from even advertising using the terms D&D \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2023 at 8:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @balmunk-featharion Just because something is not explicitly forbidden in an agreement does not mean you're allowed to do it or that other legislation might not limit its use. I'd personally still not use a registered trademark in advertising a product I made without obtaining an express permission and/or consulting a lawyer first. I'm not a lawyer, but the kind of advertisement you describe does not sound legal to a layman understanding of trademark law. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kryomaani
    Jul 16, 2023 at 13:28

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