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

From: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 06 Mar 2009 18:39:49 -0500
To: "T.V Raman" <raman@google.com>
Cc: jonas@sicking.cc, ian@hixie.ch, public-html@w3.org, site-policy@w3.org
Message-Id: <1236382789.3200.172.camel@localhost>
On Fri, 2009-03-06 at 14:10 -0800, T.V Raman wrote:
> Re: License proliferation, and speaking as an AC  Rep: Is there a
> good reason W3C  is spending legal resources creating a new
> license?

I wouldn't qualify our legal resources on this case as significant so
far. Quite the contrary in fact. As I responded earlier, we didn't do a
deep analysis of the compatibility of the proposed license with existing
ones. The first difficult part is to agree on the goals. Without
agreement on those, the legal wording can't follow. Btw, in case it
wasn't clear before, I do intend to spend more time on this at the
upcoming AC since I consider this question important.

> Placing aside the added costs that this creates through the rest
> of the eco-system over time with respect to having to  understand
> and work with a new license, I believe it's a source of expense
> that W3C  could avoid in these hard times by reusing one of the
> suggested license such as the MIT-style license (for goodness
> sake, W3C  is located at MIT:-))---

You're suggesting that W3C should adopt an open source *software*
license for a specification. I don't believe we reached consensus on
that yet.

> As a paying member, I'd like to strongly request at this point
> that the Team simply propose an existing license that is deemed
> suitable, rather than continuing to expend resources on drafting
> a new license.

Noted, and if your sentiment is shared by other paying members, I'm sure
that we'll turn around faster. I would note however that this issue was
quickly raised recently in the Advisory Board and it wasn't such a clear
cut. Some paying members seem to think that more thinking needs to
happen.

> Also, please be prepared to share with us at the upcoming AC
> meeting how much W3C has spent to date on the license drafting
> effort, and the justification for that expense.

Having been around long enough at W3C to spend time on namespaces,
extensibility, patent policy, or style properties, I would clearly
qualify our resources on this case as very insignificant so far. In
fact, one would expect W3C to do more work before putting a new license
out there like that. The justification for that insignificant expense is
to better understand the case which is presented to us in preparation of
the AC meeting. The implications of adopting an open source license like
the MIT one need carefully considered since this introduces a
significant change in the way one approaches standards.

Philippe
Received on Friday, 6 March 2009 23:40:10 UTC

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