W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-mobileok-checker@w3.org > July 2007

Re: [Fwd: Re: Licenses and copyright for open source software development]

From: Sean Owen <srowen@google.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 14:07:20 -0400
Message-ID: <e920a71c0707311107w3c622e14u30b9c263f6164464@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Dominique Hazael-Massieux" <dom@w3.org>
Cc: public-mobileok-checker <public-mobileok-checker@w3.org>
Here's a rundown of the license terms of components we use:

CSS validator: W3C right? (no license was submitted to CVS; we should fix that)
Resolver: Apache 1.1
Commons (all): Apache 1.1
Saxon: Mozilla Public License 1.0
Batik: Apache 2.0
JHOVE: Lesser GPL
Tomcat/Catalina: Apache 2.0
SAC: W3C License
JUnit: Common Public License 1.0
Tagsoup: Academic Free License 3.0

I am not a lawyer, but:

LGPL is OK, I believe; it allows you to include a work as a library
and relicense under new terms. AFL and CPL look entirely compatible
with W3C, as is Apache.

MPL is, it seems, GPL-like and has a copy-left element to it. I think
this is the difficult part if any. Dom can we get any ruling on this
from W3C counsel?

Sean


On 7/30/07, Dominique Hazael-Massieux <dom@w3.org> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> As per my ACTION-505 and ACTION-509, I had requested some advices from
> our legal team on the licensing and copyright questions we had discussed
> back in our June F2F. I got an answer to my questions this morning (see
> below).
>
> One of the key points is that it may not be possible for us to
> distribute our package as a whole under the W3C Software License if we
> rely on GPL-licensed packages... I realize now that what is discussed
> below ("can GPL code be released under the w3c software license?") is a
> bit ambiguous (distribution/packaging vs relicensing).
>
> If we have a call tomorrow, can we discuss whether this answers at least
> some of our questions, and what further questions we may have?
>
> Dom
>
> -------- Message transféré --------
> > > The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group has started work on a
> > > reference implementation of a checker library as part of one its task
> > > forces [1].
> > >
> > > The goal is to release that software under the W3C Software License.
> > > The first goal if that message is to ask if there are any well-known
> > > open source licenses that are not compatible with this license -
> > > mainly, we're likely to re-use some existing open-source Java
> > > libraries, and we're wondering if there was any license we should
> > > avoid as being troublesome. Corollarily, should we have any doubt
> > > about the compatibilities between a given license and the
> > > redistribution of  our code under the W3C Software license, is W3C
> > > Team Legal able to help/give advices?
> >
> > There are two questions in question one:
> >
> > 1/ Can code produced under the W3C Software License be used
> >    in GPL Software?
> >
> > This question is answered in the IPR-FAQ:
> > http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620#GNU
> >
> > As the W3C Software license is wider than the GPL, GPL Software can
> > perfectly use code under produced under the W3C Software License.
> >
> > 2/ Can code produced under the GPL be integrated and the whole
> >    software be released under the W3C Software License?
> >
> > My opinion is that this is violating the GPL. The W3C Software License
> > allows for commercial closed source use of the code released. But the
> > GPL contains a clause producing a viral effect: Any code used is
> > forcing the party using it to release the whole software under GPL
> > containing again the requirement to maintain the GPL.
> >
> > Now, taking this into account, we would have parts of the code being GPL
> > but release it under W3C Software License allowing for commercial
> > binary code releases. So here, the W3C Software License is wider as the
> > GPL and we can't give rights that we have never acquired.
> >
> > Solution: Either ask the copyright holders of the code you want to reuse
> > to give you a license under the W3C Software License or publish the
> > code produced by the Mobile Web Best Practises under the GPL.
> >
> > >
> > > The second question relates to copyright of the code: my
> > > understanding is, the project being done under the umbrella of a W3C
> > > Working Group, its output by default gets under the W3C Copyright; is
> > > that true? If it is, is there any recommended way to recognize the
> > > work of individual/companies that have contributed to the development
> > > of the code? Some of the contributors (legitimately) ask their
> > > contributions to be officially recognized, and wonder what's the
> > > proper way to do so.
> >
> > Only those parts of the code that are produced by W3C employees are
> > copyrighted by W3C. Contributors retain their copyright. The effective
> > mix of code will lead to a final source where the single owner and
> > parts are not recognizable anymore thus leading to shared copyright. In
> > any case, W3C requires that the contributor grants sufficient rights to
> > W3C so we can distribute under the W3C Software License. This Grant is
> > inherent in the Working Group process. If there are pieces of code
> > coming from people/companies external to the WG please use
> > http://www.w3.org/PATCHES.html (for the moment)
> >
> > >
> > > My last question is: if/when we start receiving contributions from
> > > non-W3C Members, or from Members that are not participating in the
> > > MWI BP Working Group, how does this affect the copyright situation?
> > > My understanding is that non-W3C Members should sign the
> > > Collaborators agreement [2], but would they need to do that on paper?
> > > Can this agreement be made e.g. by email?
> >
> > Answered above..
> >
> > Again sorry for the delay
> >
> > Rigo
> > >
> > > 1.
> > > http://www.w3.org/2005/MWI/BPWG/Group/TaskForces/Checker/Overview.htm
> > >l 2.
> > > http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/collaborators-agreement-20021
> > >231
> >
> >
>
>
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2007 18:07:42 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 8 January 2008 14:13:03 GMT