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

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 10:40:16 -0800
Message-ID: <63df84f0903051040n53d7644fp790c0b05bfaae504@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Cc: Karl Dubost <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>, Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org, site-policy@w3.org
On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 9:48 AM, Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu> wrote:
> I am not sure if Philippe's intention was to have this discussion here at public-html as well, or just at site-policy,

This was unclear to me as well.

> but while reading some of people's concerns (Jonas's, Lachy's), I as a prospective author of either software or manuals that might hope, one day, to explain or utilize the spec (making the largely speculative assumption that I might ever understand it), am not sure I share the concern of being able to quote from the text in explanations of it. It seems that, from my reading, anyhow, that the language precludes impersonating the spec, not quoting from it.

Impersonating *the* spec, or impersonating *a* spec? In other words,
are you prohibited from impersonating the HTML spec, or from
impersonating a spec that defines how to parse the coords attribute of
the area element? My reading is that the draft prohibits impersonating
*a* spec.

> I read it to say that it's cool to quote so long as it's not into another spec.

What constitutes a specification? Anything with normative requirements
in it? Anything that references rfc 2119? For example, would a book
that says that contains the sentence "you must write the coords
attribute as a list of comma separated positive integers" constitute a
specification? If not, what do you base that answer on?

As I brought up in
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Feb/0322.html, it
is important that it is extremely clear that the use cases we are
talking about are permitted. If there is any possible interpretation
that something is not allowed lawyers tend to tell you not to do it.
This is especially the case at big corporations that are often targets
of costly law suites.

> Regarding what look like more thorny issues raised by Ian and apparently by L. David Baron, if I understand them, the concern is that it wraps the control of the spec too closely with the W3C as a standards body. What, happens then if the W3C becomes sluggish, unwieldy, or naughty? Can't WHATWG then resume its rebel ways?

Only if the spec in question is available under a license that allows
forking. So for example this couldn't be done to the document Mike
Smith is writing since it's only available under the W3C license. The
only options then would be to recreate the whole thing. This is
further complicated since many people that would want to create such a
document has already read the document Mike is writing and so would be
prime target of accusations of copying text, unintentionally or not,
from Mikes document.

> Well, if I recall correctly, from the beginning of this WG there has always been the spectre of two specs looming about. In the vast history of specifications (like in specifying the official currency of Babylonia) I'm sure there have been lots of similar situations. But maintaining the right to mint new specs whenever we are dissatisfied with a current one rather negates the purpose of having specs doesn't it?

Why? Anyone can already create a spec that specifies approximately the
same thing as any spec that W3C produces. Does that negate W3Cs
purpose.

The only thing we are requesting is that creating such non-W3C specs
should be easier by allowing them to copy parts or all of the spec
language in the W3C document.

> And don't specs usually fall by the wayside when change happens too fast for specs to keep up with reality?

Indeed. The purpose of the request is to allow change to happen faster
by not having to recreate the work created at W3C.

> It seems like until it is time to discard a spec, it is best to have some standards organization that maintains the integrity of that spec.

This can be done by trademark policies rather than copyright policies.
Just like firefox and debian maintain their brand value by maintaining
a trademark ownership of respective logo and name, while allowing
anyone to copy their code and create more rapid change.

/ Jonas


> * I am a little vague on the purview of the term "W3C Document" -- does that apply only to things that have that label on them? Also the license uses both the spellings "license" and "licence" -- one spelling is probably better than two.
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: public-html-request@w3.org on behalf of Karl Dubost
> Sent: Thu 3/5/2009 11:06 AM
> To: Lachlan Hunt
> Cc: Ian Hickson; Philippe Le Hegaret; public-html@w3.org; site-policy@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Draft W3C Excerpt License (Re: WG Decision - spec license use cases)
>
>
>
>
> Le 5 mars 2009 à 09:39, Lachlan Hunt a écrit :
>> I agree with this about the spec too.  But particularly for the
>> authoring guides, sepcifically the HTML 5 Reference that I'm working
>> on, I think the ability for others to fork that document, and
>> incorporate it in whole or in part into their own work is very
>> important.  Whether they want to produce their own independent
>> online resources, books, or other publications, either commercially
>> or non-commercially, it should be possible.
>
>
> <irony>
> [Showing 1 - 12 of 6,601 Results][1]
> </irony>
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> It is not an issue and has never been. It would be better to show
> "real world" use cases of existing or past issues.
>
>
> [1]: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=node%3D3510&field-keywords=html&x=0&y=0
>
>
> --
> Karl Dubost
> Montréal, QC, Canada
> http://twitter.com/karlpro
>
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Received on Thursday, 5 March 2009 18:41:00 UTC

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