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Re: Spec license

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2009 18:10:44 -0500
Message-ID: <4988CEF4.7020506@intertwingly.net>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Cameron McCormack wrote:
> 
> As far as I know, contributors to the WHATWG do not make any explicit
> copyright assignment or licensing to Apple, Mozilla and Opera, unlike
> with the W3C agreement.  How do contributions made through the WHATWG
> end up being copyrighted by the W3C?

It is a good question, but I'd suggest that we non-lawyer types not 
wander far off of the original topic.

My understanding is that "whereas a patent protects the application of 
an idea, and a trademark protects a device that indicates the provider 
of particular services or goods, copyright protects the expression of an 
idea"[1]

Ignoring patent and trademark for the moment, if Ian is careful (and he 
impresses me as a careful kinda guy), then he can claim ownership on 
behalf of the WHATWG for the unique expression of the idea, and can 
license such to the W3C in specific and via the world in general under 
terms of his choosing.  Depending on the license, the W3C may then be 
able to sublicense the work under different terms.

Even if I have details in the above incorrect (note: IANAL), my 
impression talking to Ian and plh is that it would be best for all 
concerned if we could reconcile these two to a single license, allowing 
full, free, and bidirectional flow of content.

- Sam Ruby

[1] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/copyright
Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 23:11:19 GMT

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