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Copyright on HTML5 spec?

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 09:49:29 +0100
Message-Id: <4EF96326-0373-44F5-A50A-1B88F4EDBB30@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Who exactly owns the copyright and under what conditions was it  
established?

The WHATWG spec claims:
	 Copyright 2004-2010 Apple Computer, Inc., Mozilla Foundation, and  
Opera Software ASA.
	You are granted a license to use, reproduce and create derivative  
works of this document.

But that seems false to me. If Ian has a standard contract with  
Google, then his work related production is work for hire and thus  
belongs to Google. Alternatively, it could belong to Ian. That seems  
the clearest.

The W3C spec:
	Copyright  2010 W3C (MIT, ERCIM, Keio), All Rights Reserved. W3C  
liability, trademark and document use rules apply.
	The text of this specification is also available in the WHATWG Web  
Applications 1.0 specification, under a license that permits reuse of  
the specification text.

Which is it? Unless Apple Computer, Inc., Mozilla Foundation, and  
Opera Software ASA have transferred ownership, they remain the owners  
(though they grant a liberal license, of course). If there are bits  
that belong to the W3C, shouldn't *all* the copyright owners be listed?

The W3C does not have automatic transfer of copyright:
	http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620.html#holds
	Who holds the copyright on W3C documents?
The original author of the document. Many documents are created by the  
W3C and W3C consequently holds the copyright. Owners who allow their  
works to be published on the W3C site retain the copyright, but agree  
to the W3C license for the redistribution of those materials from our  
site.

"Created by the W3C" has to mean "Created by employee's of the member  
institutions of the W3C under normal work-for-hire rules." At least,  
afaict.

Thus, either Apple, Mozilla, Opera, and maybe Google own it, or Ian  
Hickson does. I don't see a likely scenario where the W3C does.

I don't think the mere mistaken putting of an erroneous copyright  
notice constitutes change in ownership. It seems a bit confusing,  
though. And easily remedied.

Cheers,
Bijan.
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 08:49:59 GMT

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