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[Bug 6606] generic 3rd-party <mark>, Smart Tags, and Activities prevention

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 07:56:46 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1MLYCs-0002oR-8Y@wiggum.w3.org>

--- Comment #12 from Nick Levinson <Nick_Levinson@yahoo.com>  2009-06-30 07:56:45 ---
HTML5 grants and denies permissions and imposes requirements, or will when in
effect. "Elements . . . in HTML are defined (by this specification) to have
certain meanings (semantics). . . ."/"Authors must not use elements . . . for
purposes other than their appropriate intended semantic purpose." Section
3.3.1. In that context, section 4.6.7, saying what the mark tag "represents",
grants permission for its representation, and gives "highlighting parts of a
document that are matching some search string . . . . [i]f someone looked at a
document, and the server knew that the user was searching for the word
'kitten', then the server might return the document with one paragraph modified
[with "kitten" enclosed in the mark element]" as a positive example.

The consequence of violation of HTML5 is being noncompliant with the standard,
once functionally finalized and adopted. Noncompliance is in degrees. Being
noncompliant is a problem for the UA maker and offerer and for the computer
maker and offerer who includes the UA to meet a customer's stated needs. To the
extent Web browsing requires HTML, the UA and computer offerers must make their
product comply with an HTML standard. Flexibility is allowed but not unlimited.
That's already law.

W3C as a standards creator (if not by contract) has much more room. If the
standard meets a need, it may be relied on by those with the legal duties. If
not, a computer maker can stop providing the product or find another solution,
e.g., another standard. Or they can become noncompliant in order to meet
customers' needs. That would make a standard increasingly irrelevant,
encouraging development of another standard.

The same general rule applies to a customer whose stated use is to create or
host a website. Standards compliance is already a legal matter there, too.

HTML, v5 or earlier, as a markup language, is already a collection of
requirements, permissions, proscriptions, and silences that collectively
already have legal effect. If W3C ignores that and goes contrary to legal needs
of others, it risks irrelevance. Thus, the concern is with the mark kitten-type
permission. Within compliance, the mark standard will give permission for



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