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Re: Draft HTML5 licensing survey

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:46:22 -0700
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-id: <2E1F4515-0866-447C-BEF2-28E2E94CE161@apple.com>
To: Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>

(Let me be clear that all of the below is with chair hat off.)

On Apr 25, 2011, at 5:16 PM, Lawrence Rosen wrote:

> The W3C Document License incorporates the Copyright FAQ by reference:
> "However, if additional requirements (documented in the Copyright FAQ) are
> satisfied, the right to create modifications or derivatives is sometimes
> granted by the W3C to individuals complying with those requirements." See
> http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/copyright-documents-20021231.html.
> 
> The Copyright FAQ (http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620) then
> says: "See our patent policy FAQ for information about translations and
> patent commitments." 
> 
> The Patent Policy FAQ: http://www.w3.org/2003/12/22-pp-faq.html. 
> 
> Sort of circular, I admit, and it relies on multiple documents to say
> similar things, but at least W3C is *trying* to establish a consistent IPR
> policy relating to copyrights, patents and trademarks. Maybe now that W3C is
> finally coming to terms with a complete HTML5 licensing policy, we can
> gather all those references into one IPR document and one IPR FAQ? 
> 
> In the meantime, as I said earlier, I'd be completely satisfied to have
> W3C's express copyright and patent permission to create any derivative
> software I want.

My understanding of the W3C Patent Policy has always been that the patent licenses (or non-assertion promises) granted pursuant to it are completely independent of any copyright licenses. For example, such patent grants need not be given until the specification is a REC maturity, while the copyright license applies at all maturity levels. And the indirectly cited Patent License FAQ does not appear to be a patent license. Furthermore, these patent license terms apply even to parties who do not exercise the copyright license at all. 

Also, the W3C Document License even seems to implicitly disclaim that any patent rights come with it; this is the only explicit mention of patents: "THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED "AS IS," AND COPYRIGHT HOLDERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO ... THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUCH CONTENTS WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY PATENTS..."

But maybe I am wrong.

Do you believe the Option 3 (and 1 and 2) reference to the W3C Document License (which applies only to unmodified copies), and its reference to the Copyright FAQ, and that FAQ's reference to a Patent Policy FAQ, and then the contents of said FAQ create patent licensing terms, in a way that materially differs from the MIT or CC0 licenses? If so, could you explain in more detail than just citing the links?

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 02:46:54 GMT

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