W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-dom-ts@w3.org > June 2001

Re: GPL (was: Re: Early XSLT's)

From: Joseph M. Reagle Jr. <reagle@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 17:41:02 -0400
Message-Id: <4.3.2.7.2.20010619171843.02f7e1b8@localhost>
To: David Brownell <david-b@pacbell.net>
Cc: www-dom-ts@w3.org, plh@w3.org
[I'm dropping in on this thread so as to hopefully be of use, but I don't 
read this list otherwise, so please keep in the cc: if relevant, and not if 
not! <smile/>]

>Actually if I were contributing, I'd be bothered by the text
>that Phillipe insisted be signed.

Phillipe and I have spoken further and new draft text follows below:
[[[

    [Submitter] hereby grants to the W3C, a perpetual, nonexclusive,
    royalty-free, world-wide right and license under any [Submitter]
    copyrights in this contribution to copy, publish and distribute the
    contribution under the W3C Software License, as well as a right and
    license of the same scope to any derivative works prepared by the W3C
    and based on, or incorporating all or part of the contribution.
    [Submitter] further agrees that any derivative works of this
    contribution prepared by the W3C shall be solely owned by the W3C.

    The Contributor vouches that she/he has all rights necessary to
    contribute the Materials in a way that does not violate copyright,
    patent, and trademark rights; contractual obligations, or libel
    regulations.

    The Contributor agrees that all contributed Materials when published
    or otherwise distributed by the W3C will be governed by the W3C
    Software License.

    W3C will retain attribution of authorship to the Contributor.
    Whenever modifications are made to the Materials, this fact, and the
    nature of the modifications, will be clearly signalled in the
    distributed version thereof. The W3C makes no a-priori commitment to
    support or distribute contributions.
]]]

> > You grant to the W3C, a perpetual, nonexclusive, royalty-free,
> > world-wide right and license under any copyrights in this
> > contribution to copy, publish and distribute the contribution,
> > as well as a right and license of the same scope to any derivative
>
>That text doesn't specify a particular license (open or otherwise),
>or if "copyrights" includes "license" then it's superfluous for such
>GPL'd code.

Good point; as you can see, the text now specifies the W3C Software License.
http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/copyright-software-19980720

> > works prepared by the W3C and based on or incorporating all
> > or part of the contribution. You further agree that any derivative
> > works of this contribution prepared by the W3C shall be solely
> > owned by the W3C.'"
>
>... that text seems to permit "derivative works" (say, minor bugfixes)
>to trigger a change in "ownership"; and hence includes a grant of
>power to change license terms.  Grant under one license, then the
>next team at W3C can relicense at whim.

If you make a derivative work, you now have two works. For example, say 
Alice owns and contributes A. She is permitting others to use her property 
under the W3C license, including the creation of derivative works. If the 
W3C then makes substantive changes and creates B, B is owned by the W3C and 
governed by the W3C license. This does not at all affect her ownership of A, 
or her ability to orthogonally license it under GPL or a proprietary license 
even. It doesn't even affect her ability to use B since the W3C Software 
License is an open source license. All it does is permit the W3C to avoid 
confused claims of conflicted or joint ownership. (Most software licenses 
don't even speak of ownership and that whole issue remains rather murky in 
my reading of them. Consequently, I believe the explicitness is useful after 
seeing work at the IETF come to a stop when a contributor was upset at a 
decision and tried to yank his contribution from something the whole 
community had worked on.)

>I'd far prefer to see W3C facilitating independent contributions
>that have a consistent and immutable licensing policy, without
>such an insistence on changing of ownership.  Or at least being
>more up-front about insisting on a complete grant of IP rights
>(which in this scenario I'd never consent to).

The intent is not an exchange of ownership on the original work, only for 
the W3C to own the work it derived (and license them under the same W3C 
Software License.)

>p.s. Separately, yes I would certainly prefer to see tests be under
>     GPL, or at least LGPL.  The notion of making it easier for anyone
>     to create proprietary variants of "standards", by subverting such
>     community efforts, is bothersome.  This seems one of those cases
>     of giving up liberty, a little bit at a time.

I hope this is moot now, but I honestly don't understand what the LGPL means 
in this context. As I said in [B], 'Yes, there are questions of what "can be 
reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves" [2] 
under GPL, and options for choosing LGPL, but I'm not sure how that's 
relevant.' And LGPL speaks of libraries, and I'm not sure how that would map.
[B] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-dom-ts/2001Jun/0102.html


--
Joseph Reagle Jr.                 http://www.w3.org/People/Reagle/
W3C Policy Analyst                mailto:reagle@w3.org
IETF/W3C XML-Signature Co-Chair   http://www.w3.org/Signature
W3C XML Encryption Chair          http://www.w3.org/Encryption/2001/
Received on Tuesday, 19 June 2001 17:41:54 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 6 April 2009 12:58:44 GMT