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Re: [Licensing] Request to evaluate candidate HTML Document license (known as "Option 3")

From: Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Apr 2011 09:31:03 +0000
Message-ID: <4D959B2D.4000405@mozilla.org>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
CC: licensing@mozilla.org, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
On 23/03/11 17:33, Sam Ruby wrote:
> Would the license below meet the Mozilla's Foundation's criteria for
> Licensing of Third Party Code[1]?

Hi Sam,

Before I answer that question, I would like to make a statement on the 
wider issue.

The criteria for the licensing of Third Party Code are an attempt to 
encode requirements in response to questions which have previously come 
up. They should not be considered normative in the sense that e.g. the 
OSD is normative for the OSI.

Having considered the matter, Mozilla has three requirements for the 
licensing of HTML Recommendations:

A) The license must meet the Open Source Definition and the Free 
Software Definition.

B) As a UA vendor, we want to be able to embed license text (e.g. IDL 
definitions) in our code, our developer documentation, etc. So the spec 
license needs to allow us to do that, given our existing licenses for 
code and documentation. This means, among other things, allowing 
relicensing to the MPL, LGPL or GPL (i.e. sticking it in the middle of a 
file which is under one, two or all three of those licenses without 
needing reams of additional legal text).

C) As an organization that cares about the future of the web, the spec 
needs to be effectively forkable as long as its made clear that the fork 
is not W3C-sanctioned in any way.

We are told Option 1 is considered not compatible with the GPL by the 
FSF, and so we have not considered it further.

Our opinion is that Option 2 does not directly satisfy requirement A), 
because it does not allow one to make derivative works of the whole 

Our opinion is that Option 2 does not satisfy requirement C), because it 
limits the ability to copy and redistribute to portions, not the whole.

Our opinion is that Option 3 does not satisfy requirement A), because it 
contains field-of-use restrictions.

Our opinion is that Option 3 does not satisfy requirement C), because 
the W3C Document License does not permit forking, and the additional 
permission statement restricts it to portions "in/accompanying software".

Regarding requirement C): in both cases, either the additional 
restrictions are meaningless and so should be removed, or are meaningful 
and are therefore unacceptable. And a license where different parties 
interpret the same words different ways in order to make them and their 
constituency happy is also not reasonable, and may lead to conflict in 
the future.

So I must report that none of the three options are acceptable to 
Mozilla as they stand.

Received on Sunday, 3 April 2011 11:37:02 UTC

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