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Comment on XHTML2 WD: adding a "license" REL

From: Ben Adida <ben@mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 18:29:14 -0400
Message-Id: <d52b609767f65182b8bc3f53ca48da68@mit.edu>
Cc: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>, Ralph R. Swick <swick@w3.org>, Hal Abelson <hal@mit.edu>, Mike Linksvayer <ml@creativecommons.org>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org


Dear HTML Editors,

I'm writing to you as Creative Commons's AC rep with a proposal to add  
"license" within the XHTML2 namespace of allowable REL attribute  
values. The goal would be to allow statements as follows:

====
licensed under a <a rel="license"  
href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons  
license</a>.
====

(note that in the current working draft, it would be rel="cc:license")

The change for Creative Commons is minor, but it is far more important  
and interesting for other web users, as it would also allow statements  
like the following:

====
this source code is available under <a about="source.zip" rel="license"  
href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdn-files/027/001/901/ 
ShSourceCLIbetaLicense.htm">Microsoft's Shared Source License</a>.
====

or the following:

====
the photos on this site are available to you under my <a rel="license"  
href="restrictive-photo-license.html">for-personal-use-only  
license</a>, which forbids you from redistributing these photos under  
any circumstance.
====

It is unlikely that Microsoft or this lone photographer would want to  
use the "cc:license" property for fear that it might confuse people  
into thinking their work is distributed under a CC license. Of course,  
the cc:license property, as it stands, pertains to licenses beyond  
those of Creative Commons, but its CC-qualification may cause  
confusion. Creative Commons would prefer to use a widely-adopted  
license property standard: after all, licensing is not a CC-specific  
concept.

We propose that the xhtml2:license property be strictly defined as  
indicating that the subject is licensed for use under the terms of the  
object. The object can be *any* license URI, representing anything  
ranging from a plaintext document to a styled HTML page to a complex  
RDF graph indicating specific individual rights. The xhtml2:license  
property should not define the owner of the copyright: we leave that to  
existing properties like dc:rights. The xhtml2:license property also  
should not define the licensees, jurisdiction, or other attribute of  
the license: those details are left to be defined within the license  
object itself.

Note that there is no current XHTML2 or Dublin Core property that  
properly expresses this pure licensing relationship [1].

Thanks for your consideration of this proposal,

-Ben Adida
ben@mit.edu / ben@creativecommons.org
Member, Creative Commons Technology Advisory Board

[1] http://creativecommons.org/technology/metadata/extend
Received on Tuesday, 21 June 2005 22:29:24 GMT

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