W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > site-comments@w3.org > June 2004

Re: W3C specs reformatted

From: Janet Daly <janet@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 13:33:20 -0700
Message-ID: <40BF8B10.7030602@w3.org>
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Cc: site-comments@w3.org, site-policy <site-policy@w3.org>

Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:

> * Janet Daly wrote:
>>Bjoern, I am curious why you are pursuing this thread, as it was not 
>>your request.

Bjoern, since this topic is related to W3C's policies and not to the 
structure of the site, I am moving this thread to site-policy. For some 
reason, the requestor double posted, and now the thread is more 
challenging to track. Please, if you have further questions, drop the cc 
to site-comments, and we'll keep it on the public site-policy list.

> I would like to ensure that I fully understand W3C's policies in this
> regard, especially since I distribute works under the terms of the IPR
> FAQ (though with respect to section 5.6 rather than section 5.9). I
> would also like to avoid giving people false advise in a discussion on
> such matters.

Ah. Clarity is always a worthwhile pursuit.

How is it that you redistribute our works?

>>In the case of the reformatted documents referenced in the thread: To 
>>avoid confusion wrt normative versions, there has to be a compelling 
>>reason to allow for publication. In this case, there was no compelling 
>>reason that would outweigh the confusion factor.
> Ok, I wish you had cited this reasoning and explicitly stated that W3C
> does not grant its permission for this particular derived work, rather
> than insisting that publishing reformatted documents is not allowed at
> all. Specifically [1] gave me the impression that the IPR FAQ was
> considered irrelevant in this case.

Bjoern, as long as the W3C maintains its web site and mirroring systems, 
there are ample ways and avenues for the materials to be distributed. As 
you know, W3C does not have the staffing to chase down every possible 
person who decides to redistribute documents.

Most people who have been pointed to us - that is, those who don't even 
bother to read the FAQ or document license -  make a simple copy with a 
different URI, thinking that's acceptable. Others make changes to the 
documents, either because they think they have a "better" idea for 
presentation - either changes in the stylesheets or the document format 
- or in more extreme cases, because they think there are aspects of the 
document content itself that can use some tweaking.

> It is however still not clear to me which terms of the IPR FAQ have not
> been met by the works in question and I worry a bit about the confusion
> factor you cite. Specifically, if the reformatted version includes a
> header ala [2] there seems to be no confusion factor at all. Could you
> please expand on what requirements were not met?

W3C reserves the right to evaluate requests. Nothing in the FAQ, nor in 
the document license, says that all modifications will be granted based 
only on the minimum requirements listed in the FAQ.

> Hm, I also worry about these compelling reasons. The example in the IPR
> FAQ is a conversion of the normative HTML/XHTML document to PDF. 

Right. Our own WGs produce non-normative PDF versions of the original 
documents, when they see fit. In each of those cases, those WGs cited 
the need for a predictable, portable print format as their rationale, 
which is compelling. It has made the publication process a bit more 
difficult, particularly when errors are discovered in the normative 
format after the PDF has been generated. That said, the case for 
predictable, portable printing is convincing.

> works in question were a conversion to CHM, so this gives me the
> impression that W3C considers PDF a more compelling format than CHM. I
> am certain this is not what you meant, maybe you could clarify what
> would be compelling reasons to grant permission reformat a document?

It is not clear to me why there is a compelling need for a CHM document. 
CHM is specific to one fairly restricted use for one operating system, 
as I understand it. I could be wrong.

> I am afraid the translation project was a bad example in this context
> since translations (and annotated versions) are covered by different
> terms in the IPR FAQ and the value such works add is obvious, while I
> am no longer certain what section 5.9 attempts to cover that would not
> apply to the works in question.

I was providing you an example of what is required, even from known 
trusted parties. So, the context in terms of how permissions are 
considered is entirely relevant. The details would not necessarily 
belong in a FAQ, where the "fa" stands for "Frequently Asked".

> I would like to point out that section 5.9 of the IPR FAQ does not
> discuss compelling reasons, if such reasons are a requirement to get
> permission to reformat a document, it, in my opinion, needs to be
> clearly stated there.

That's fair, except that it is present in the Document license. Nowhere 
does it say that this is all you have to do.

> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/site-comments/2004May/0065.html
> [2] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/translation-example.html
> Thanks for your time Janet!

Sure. I will add clarifying language to the FAQ, to make it more clear.

Thank you for your attention, and for your assistance in making our 
policies more transparent.


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Janet Daly, Head of Communications
MIT/CSAIL, Building 32-G518
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

voice: 617.253.5884
fax:   617.258.5999
Received on Thursday, 3 June 2004 16:33:19 UTC

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