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Re: Spec license (was: Re: Discussions with plh)

From: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2009 09:19:27 -0500
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1233670767.7681.71.camel@localhost>

On Tue, 2009-02-03 at 09:47 +0200, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>   * When a sufficient number of open sourcy pieces are mashed up, at  
> some point the issue of GPL-compatibility comes up. For example, in  
> order to explain why Validator.nu as a whole (excluding the IANA  
> language subtag registry file) is Free in the sense of the Debian Free  
> Software Guidelines, I explain how each runtime dependency is GPLv3- 
> compatible. The FSF says that CC-by 2.0 is not GPL-compatible (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html#ccby 
> ). (I haven't seen a compatibility analysis for CC-by 3.0.) Would the  
> W3C be willing to explicitly permit relicensing under "GPLv2 or later"  
> or "GPLv3 or later" to make sure that the spec is licensed in a GPL- 
> compatible way?
>  * Is the intent to use "or later" when specifying the version of CC- 
> by? (Particularly, using a version prior to 3.0 without "or later"  
> would for sure create the kind of problem that now exists with copying  
> RFC text into Debian packages.)

You should be able to take the "W3C HTML5 spec" and do whatever you want
with it as long as you don't call your derivative work the "W3C HTML5
spec". In other words, besides the trademark, you can do what you want.
Now, understand that I'm not writing on behalf of W3C here. There is no
agreement within the W3C to do such a thing and there are certainly
individuals and/or organizations who are/will be against such a move.
It's a significant shift from the way we've been doing standards so far
and it removes legal protection against improper use of the
specification (besides the trademark). For the moment, the only move
that W3C has been looking into is to make its specifications more reuse
as part of software documents (it's still in progress). So, if we want
to be able to steer W3C further away from its current document license,
I need to go in front of the W3C management and the W3C Advisory
Committee and starts the discussion. Having the backup of a W3C Working
Group and a clear idea of what we want to achieve will significantly
increase the chances of success here (and also increase my life
expectancy in some forum).

>   * Is the intent to license the IDL pieces also under a software- 
> oriented license that has previously been found suitable for licensing  
> software interfaces in a way that doesn't unduly interfere with the  
> licenses of downstream projects using the interface definitions?  
> (Consider the recent W3C interface licensing discussion in connection  
> to use in Batik.)

I believe that this issue has been resolved. It was an oversight from
some Working Groups who did not realize that having the interfaces
inside the specification had the effect of adding those under the
document license. I have an action item to write something about that fr
the Hypertext CG.

Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 14:35:09 UTC

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