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

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 14:54:06 -0500
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D01525747@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: "Chris Wilson" <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "Jonas Sicking" <jonas@sicking.cc>, <public-html@w3.org>
It seems that that is not the intent. From the use cases document[1]:
"The goal of the license is to make it easy for people implementing W3C specifications to include portions of the specifications in help text and other software documentation. The license does not permit the creation of derivative specifications. Thus, in scope use cases include the following:
Using examples and blocks of text in books and other descriptions (e.g. How to's). 
Reproducing parts of a W3C Document in help texts for software and modify those help texts as needed. 
Using parts of a W3C Document in code and modify them further in the code, either as code or as comment. 
Copying parts of a W3C Document into a test case that exemplifies and tests this part of the W3C Document. 
Quoting text from a W3C Document in bug reports. "

I supposed that that has been the purpose of the rewrite of the license, as per this from Sam [2]:
"... In my discussions with Ian and at Mozilla, 
I gathered that it was a shared understanding that by October that the 
license for the W3C license would be somehow open source friendly, and 
specifically that a Creative Commons Attribution license was something 
that was of common and general interest.
Philippe remains highly supportive of this direction, and indicated that 
it would be helpful to him if this were more than simply a general 
understanding, but instead were an explicit decision of the working group."
It seems like this clarifies the intent. Whether or not the new language is sufficient to do this I guess is one of the questions. Seems sufficient to me, given the intensions as spelled out above, to handle the simple quoting issue.
The other issue, as raised by lots of folks has to do with the forking of a specification. I can see Jonas's point about trademark rather than copyright as being a way to control that. 
Does the new version of the text disable any uses that would previously have been allowed? If it does then it has not succeeded in its objective. 
Does the new version enable any uses that contributors have not previously agreed to? If so, then I could imagine that being as big a problem as the reverse.
I'm not sure that permissive open source licenses work for specs. Open source software flourishes under the ability to re-use freely. Have other specs flourished under a copyleft regimen? Is that what folks are arguing for here? I'm just trying to make sense of the discussion, having not quite wrapped my head around what is at stake here, I suppose.

[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2008/06-excerpt-copyright
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Feb/0026.html


From: public-html-request@w3.org on behalf of Chris Wilson
Sent: Thu 3/5/2009 2:18 PM
To: Jonas Sicking; public-html@w3.org
Subject: RE: Draft W3C Excerpt License (Re: WG Decision - spec license use cases)

Jonas Sicking wrote:
>And how many of those do things that are technically illegal under the
>W3C policy? It's just not been a priority for W3C to enforce that
>policy by suing book authors.

Nor is it likely a good idea.  From a PR perspective as well as a propagating-the-standard perspective.  :)
Received on Thursday, 5 March 2009 19:55:17 UTC

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