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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 15:57:31 -0800
Message-ID: <63df84f0903051557p19ff6d47nc6070e0b3c7426d3@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Cc: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, public-html@w3.org
> Jonas continued:
>>I am not arguing for a copy-left license. In fact, several people have
>>specifically asked for a license compatible with the MIT license,
>>which a copy-left license wouldn't be.
> Yeah, as I understand it, the MIT license is a fairly permissive license. A long time ago "copyleft" used to mean any of a variety of licenses -- sort of a generic term -- perhaps it has come to take on a more specific connotation in some circles. The meaning I had in mind seems consistent with the Wikipedia entry and seems to include GNUwhich as I understand it is also a part of the MIT thingy.

You are correct up until the end. GPL is copy-left, but MIT is not.
GPL is more restrictive in what it allows you to do since it requires
that any derivates of the GPLed document is also GPLed. This means
that you can not take content that is GPLed and put it into an MIT
licensed document. See the first paragraph of


> Allowing your suggested rewording however, my question remains : Have other specs flourished under a /permissive IP/ regimen? I really don't know the answer, but am certain that others here must know.

I don't know the answer to that question. However the answer doesn't
change my opinion on the topics at hand. I know of several other
instances (other than standards bodies) that has flourished while
allowing forking, or likely because they allowed forking. Linux and
Mozilla are two examples.

> I think that in practice, W3C specifications will remain canonical and
> authoritative, not because of licensing, but because the W3C is
> respected as an organization, and is seen as the definitive source of
> Web standards. So long as W3C remains a good steward, forks will not
> happen or at least will not go anywhere. If it fails to be a good
> steward, forks will happen no matter what the license says.

Indeed. I think it's W3Cs name, not its licenses, that makes people
honor its specifications.

/ Jonas
Received on Thursday, 5 March 2009 23:58:11 UTC

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