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[css3-syntax] legal implementability

From: Peter Moulder <peter.moulder@monash.edu>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 12:30:10 +1100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-id: <20130211013010.GA15544@bowman.infotech.monash.edu.au>
css3-syntax currently has:

  Copyright  2013 W3C  (MIT, ERCIM, Keio), All Rights Reserved.
  W3C liability, trademark and document use rules apply.

where "document use" is a link to
http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/copyright-documents,
which in turn says:

  No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C documents is granted
  pursuant to this license.  However, if additional requirements (documented in
  the Copyright FAQ) are satisfied, the right to create modifications or
  derivatives is sometimes granted by the W3C to individuals complying with
  those requirements.

Thus, it would seem that it's a copyright violation to implement css3-syntax as
a straightforward transcription to a programing language, just as translating a
literary work from English to Greek is covered by copyright.

Of course one would assume that the W3C would never sue someone for *correctly*
implementing its specs, but it's hard for a potential implementor to be sure
that it could never happen, say in the case of a knowingly incompatible
implementation: presumably the existing document use rules are restrictive
precisely to avoid forking and incompatibility.  (A potential implementor might
bring to mind Sun's and Oracle's suing over incomplete implementations of Java
specs.)

The way that the html5 spec gets around the document use rules is that the
html5 spec is available separately from www.whatwg.org with a more liberal
license.  Can the same be done for css3-syntax?  We actually want to encourage
a very close implementation of specs to encourage interoperability and
maintainability rather than deliberately reorganizing things to avoid copyright
issues.

pjrm.
Received on Monday, 11 February 2013 01:30:41 GMT

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