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Re: Formally Object to Referencing WhatWG within the W3C HTML5 specification

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2010 08:45:24 -0500
Message-ID: <4C0F9AF4.80606@burningbird.net>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
CC: public-html-comments@w3.org
Bijan Parsia wrote:
> Hi Shelly,
>
>> I'm not sure that the legal status of the groups can't be so easily
>> dismissed. Not in this particular instance, when we're no longer sure
>> who does have a right to lay claim to copyright of HTML5.
>
>
> My point is solely that the legal status of a group is not necessary 
> in this case to ground the proposed action nor, afaict, is it 
> sufficient. It runs the risk of providing an overbroad rule that then 
> gets only applied in a single case.
Point taken.
>
> It's not necessary because the relevant legal issues do not turn on 
> the legal status of the WHATWG (e.g., ownership of the spec text; the 
> WHATWG is not a candidate owner). It's not sufficient because I 
> presume that even if the WHATWG changed its legal status (which it 
> could easily do by incorporating in, say, the US or affiliating with a 
> host organization), that people would object to the denigrating text 
> (however accurate).
>
> AFAIK, signing the membership agreement does not assign copyright to 
> the W3C for work done on W3C specs, but only licenses it:
>     http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620#holds
>
> So I believe your assertion to copyright ownership is incorrect.
>
Could very well be, as I said: I'm not a lawyer. But it is an important 
issue that has been left unanswered.

> It seems that your argument about whether certain classes of links to 
> the WHATWG specs and space are inappropriate or confusing are quite 
> independent of the precise organizational nature of the WHATWG. I.e., 
> they are arguments about substance, the particular behavior of this 
> particular group, not form (i.e., that they are not incorporated). I'm 
> unclear whether you think that the W3C should adopt as a matter of 
> policy "no parallel specs with any external organization". That *is* 
> formal, but as we've really only had one case (though WS-I profiling 
> is an interestingly related case) and there's ample issues to discuss 
> there, I'd personally prefer to stick with the core substantive 
> issues. I would object to introducing new formal constraints along the 
> suggested lines because I can think of many situations both historical 
> and prospective where I don't want them in place.
>
Your point is good.

If I've read correctly elsewhere, the licensing issues associated with 
HTML5 are being discussed, so I'll drop that as an argument.

My main concern is removing all references to the WhatWG from the HTML5 
specification, other than a link in the acknowledgment section. This 
includes references to the WhatWG version of the document, to the WhatWG 
email list, to the WhatWG copyright statement, to the WhatWG Subversion 
directory, and to the editor's own personal little stash of HTML5 "issues".

These references provides points of confusion, as well as opening the 
door for problems exactly like that, which has happened this week: the 
editor disagrees with a decision, and makes a modification to "his" 
version of the HTML5 spec that generates FUD regarding HTML5.

At a minimum, if these references are moved, and the editor chooses to 
degenerate the W3C effort in the future, he can do so, and all he's 
doing is undermining his own credibility, and the credibility of the 
so-called "member" organizations (Mozilla, Opera, and Apple) for the WhatWG.

> Cheers,
> Bijan.
>
Regards

Shelley
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 13:46:06 GMT

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