W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > May 2014

Re: License of W3C icons

From: Dimitri John Ledkov <xnox@debian.org>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2014 19:20:03 +0100
Message-ID: <CANBHLUgtBuvc=Wfy5N1rp=MbGjLD7MBQTv0d77vz5TqYkSW84Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net>
Cc: www-qa@w3.org, Debian FTP Masters <ftpmaster@ftp-master.debian.org>
On 5 May 2014 10:09, Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net> wrote:
> Hi Dimitri,
> Le 3 mai 2014 à 02:07, Dimitri John Ledkov <xnox@debian.org> a écrit :
>> http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/Icons into the resulting documents.
>> Unfortunately that causes problems with licensing the resulting
>> documentation, despite being open source documentation [1]  the
>> ruslting document is non-free, since the above included icons appear
>> to be non-free and non-modifiable.
> What kind of issues **happened** (concrete examples with links would help understand).

When I uploaded an updated package of boost 1.55 to Debian FTP master
server, I received automatic reject of said package, requesting me to
remove w3c icon from the source tarball, create a new one without it,
and then reupload to Debian.

boost1.55 source: lintian output:
'license-problem-md5sum-non-free-file doc/images/valid-html401.png
usual name is valid-html401.png. The valid w3c icons could not be
modified. See also http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/Icons.', automatically
Please feel free to respond to this email if you don't understand why
your files were rejected, or if you upload new files which address our

lintian is automatic static validation and checking tool for debian.

The full list of packages affected so far is here:

List of bug reports:

As you see there were more in the past on the graph, but those have
been resolved (via removal) by now.

>> Can you please license those icons under a free license?
> This is a question for the legal and communications team at W3C. I guess.
>> For example are the icons at http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/Icons covered
>> by W3C Software Notice and License? [2]
> So let's see, the first paragraph of this page links to
> http://validator.w3.org/docs/help.html#icon
> Which has a paragraph about
>     "Can I modify the existing icons to create my own?"
>     No. The validator's icons are distributed under the
>     W3C document license, which allows distribution but
>     does not allow derivative works.
> There is also a link to
> http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/logo-usage-20000308.html
>> There is no intention to modify official W3C logos,
> This seems to contradict your second part…
>> as indeed that
>> would defeat the purpose and violate your trademark, but it would be
>> great if the logos would be opensourced such that one can use them on
>> the basis of creating derivative / unrelated to W3C trademark images
>> etc.
> … about creating derivative.

Correct. /I/ don't intend to modify those icons, and would like to
preserve them verbatim in boost html documentation as shipped in
Debian. Users of Debian however should have the right to modify
anything shipped by Debian.

I am at the moment blocked in uploading updated boost packages to
Debian, thus I have created poor-mans alternative icons from scratch
under a free license. http://x4d.surgut.co.uk/ I will use them interim
in boost packages in Debian, but i'd rather: not invest in repackaging
boost tarballs, keep w3c official icons, and have them re-licensed
under a free license.

>> Debian Operating system requires all its components to be
>> modifiable, thus at the moment we have started to strip upstream
>> software distributions from W3C logos and we are intending to not ship
>> them on Debian.
> Links to where this discussion is happening, I guess would help people in charge to understand the issue.

Well, it's best to contact Debian ftp-masters about this, adding that
team's email contact address to CC.

The lintian auto-rejects are documented here:

List of currently active tags is at:

The change to start auto-rejecting
license-problem-md5sum-non-free-file was announced here
https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2014/02/msg00302.html by Joerg
Jaspert, one of the ftp-masters.

I'm not sure if there are other discussions requesting W3C icons to be
relicensed initiated by Debian. And it would be best to proceed those
discussions with ftp-masters. I simply started that request as a
maintainer of a package in Debian which is affected by this issue.

>> Imho, it would be a shame to not be able to display W3C logos by
>> default on Debian, and I hope that you can license your logos under a
>> free licence, without compromising your registered trademark policy.
>> [1] open source defined as per https://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
>> [2] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/copyright-software-20021231
> Note that for example the HTML5 logo has a more permissive license.
> http://www.w3.org/html/logo/faq.html#how-licenced

Indeed, similar license for other w3c logos and icons would be welcomed.


Received on Monday, 5 May 2014 18:20:30 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:40:39 UTC