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Re: Draft W3C Excerpt License (Re: WG Decision - spec license use cases)

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 23:04:39 -0800
Message-ID: <63df84f0903042304u722ee722pb925e245fbb7e87d@mail.gmail.com>
To: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>, site-policy@w3.org
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Hi Philippe,

Thanks for your work on this, it's great to see that things are
happening so fast on this issue!

Apart from the forking issue you are mentioning, it appears that the
license is also incompatible with the GPLv2 license (and probably
GPLv3, though I'm not enough educated on that). This is due to
requiring attribution which is incompatible with GPL. See [1] for a
short description. I suspect that the disclaimer required by the new
draft W3C license is incompatible for the same reason.

However, it seems like both these issues can be worked around, which
is probably unintentional. It seems like it would be permitted under
the current license to copy a part of the spec into a separate
document that fulfills the "Attribution" and "Disclaimer" language (as
long as it doesn't violate the "No derivative specifications"
section). It would then be permitted to copy the text out of that
document into document without any attribution or disclaimer. Though
it's entirely possible that I'm missing something that forbids this.

It's also a bit unclear if the "No derivative specifications" clause
would forbid copying a part of the spec that could be interpreted as a
normative requirement. For example, if I copy the steps from [2] into
our source code it seems like it could be interpreted as a "derivative
specification" which is specifically prohibited.

Best Regards,
Jonas Sicking

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#OrigBSD
[2] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#valid-list-of-integers

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 2:07 PM, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org> wrote:
> Dear HTML Working Group,
> This message is in response to "WG Decision - spec license use
> cases" [1].
> In response to requests from developers to make it easier
> to include portions of W3C specifications in software documentation,
> bug reports, code, and test cases, W3C have drafted a new
> Excerpt & Citation License:
>   http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2008/06-excerpt-license
> The W3C Excerpt & Citation License would apply automatically to all W3C
> Documents that carry the W3C Document license if adopted.
> Information about expected use cases and how to use the license
> is available in a supporting document:
>   http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2008/06-excerpt-copyright
> Comments on the draft are welcome to site-policy@w3.org before
> **18 March 2009**.
> It is my understanding that this current draft addresses the use cases
> presented by the HTML Working Group at [1], with the exception of
> continuing/forking the development of the WG deliverables in a non-W3C
> venue whether or not W3C and/or the HTML WG cease operations (the last
> two use cases in Henri's list). Uses like forking of a specification
> would remain prohibited to protect the due process and the consensus
> found in a chartered Working Group. I will continue to investigate the
> possibilities of addressing this last need (in particular during the
> upcoming Advisory Committee meeting), but the Group may wish to comment
> on the draft in the meantime.
> Philippe
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Feb/0388.html
Received on Thursday, 5 March 2009 07:05:17 UTC

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