W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2011

Re: Mozilla Proposal for HTML5 Spec Licence

From: Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 09:47:55 +0100
Message-ID: <4DA411BB.7030606@mozilla.org>
To: Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
CC: 'HTML Working Group' <public-html@w3.org>, PSIG <member-psig@w3.org>
On 12/04/11 03:14, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
>>> Yes, CC0 is suitable for dedicating your copyright and related
>>> rights in computer software to the public domain, to the fullest
>>> extent possible under law.
> If you are suggesting a public domain dedication for the HTML5 specs,
> don't get your hopes up. Why would W3C members allow that?

Well, at least two have said that they would (Mozilla and Google) so 
perhaps the argument from incredulity will not serve you well here.

> You expect
> them to release their community-created specifications without any
> conditions?

Because, perhaps, they want the community to be able to make wide use of it.

> No open source non-profit (including FSF and Apache)
> allows that with their valuable copyrightable software. No
> corporation (including Google and Mozilla) would release their own
> software as public domain. Why should W3C tolerate that for its
> specifications of software?

Because the specifications for software are (at least in this case) not 

Quoting from http://www.w3.org/2011/03/html-license-options.html :
"W3C already makes it a practice to license IDL portions of a 
specification under the W3C Software License; policies of other 
organizations such as the IETF also distinguish code from prose."

Is your objection that with CC0 there is no disclaimer of warranty 
attached, as in e.g. the BSD licences? Those have effectively a similar 
degree of liberality to CC0. Google and Mozilla have certainly released 
software under BSD licences, and I suspect that if FSF people were 
contributing to projects so licensed, they would as well. If that is 
your objection, state it and we can discuss it.

It would help move the discussion forward if you were to give examples 
of the sort of bad thing that could happen if we use CC0 that could not 
happen if we used one of Options 2 or 3, why that thing is actually bad, 
and who it is bad for.

> Open Web Foundation just published its specification licenses, which
> are already used by Google, Facebook, and others for publishing
> software standards. There isn't even a hint of "public domain" in
> that!

Mozilla is not arguing that CC0 is the only acceptable license for 
specifications in any context under any circumstances. We are arguing 
that CC0 is the most appropriate license for this document, given the 
circumstances in which it was created and the uses to which people wish 
to put it.

> If you focus your discussion on articulating some need for forking of
> the HTML5 specification rather than introducing the public domain as
> an alternative, you are more likely to influence events at W3C.

My previous message contained an attempt to articulate our rationale for 
requiring the ability to fork, and why we think attempting to prevent it 
would be both unwise and, likely, ineffective at achieving the purposes 
aimed at. Do you feel the need for forking is still insufficiently 

Received on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 08:48:32 UTC

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