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Re: W3C should drop bespoke licenses, adopt CC0 + OWFa instead (was Re: HTML License Options for Discussion)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 22:06:07 -0700
Cc: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>, PSIG Group <member-psig@w3.org>
Message-id: <DD57AA37-30F2-4EAD-9C97-9C84F2EBA544@apple.com>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>


Do you have a particular licensing approach to suggest in line with this comment? We will pass along any constructive proposals along these lines, though we cannot guarantee what level of consideration will be given to such proposals.


On Mar 31, 2011, at 8:55 PM, Jonas Sicking wrote:

> Additionally, copyright doesn't even provide the legal framework to
> prevent forking of a standard. Even if W3C claims a very tight
> copyright on the specification, the standard can still be forked in at
> least two ways:
> 1. Write a completely new specification document, without copying any
> text from the W3C specification. Copyright doesn't provide any
> protection of the technical algorithms or constructs defined by the
> standard. It just prevents content from being copied.
> 2. Write a "diff". I.e. anyone can write a document that says "I
> define My-HTML to be the W3C html specification, but with the
> following changes to the parsing algorithm: ...". In this case no text
> is copied and thus no copyright restrictions broken.
> These are not theoretical possibilities. Both have already happened.
> WHATWG did 1 when it started the document which has now become the
> HTML5 spec drafts. ISO did 2 to define their own version of HTML [1]
> Fortunately there are other legal mechanisms to prevent the type of
> forking that W3C seems to be concerned about. By using trademarks W3C
> can prevent others from writing documents and claiming to be a new or
> official HTML specification.
> This is the way that for example mozilla uses to protect Firefox from
> being forked in ways that would harm consumers. For example we don't
> let people create forked version of firefox which contains malware but
> is still looks like Firefox. If you want to fork firefox then that's
> fine. We have written a copyright license that encourages it. Even if
> you want to put malware in it. But if you use that fork to try to
> cause consumer confusion, then we'll use trademark to prevent you.
> So copyright is neither needed nor sufficient to prevent the harmful
> forking which would dilute the W3C name or its standards.
> [1] http://www.scss.tcd.ie/misc/15445/15445.HTML
> While I work at mozilla, this is my personal opinion, not an official
> mozilla position. I am also not a lawyer. But I'm damn opinionated :)
Received on Friday, 1 April 2011 05:06:48 UTC

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