Request to evaluate candidate HTML Document license (known as "Option 3")

Would the license below meet the Mozilla's Foundation's criteria for 
Licensing of Third Party Code[1]?

- Sam Ruby


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Option 3
Resent-Date: 	Sat, 05 Mar 2011 23:18:10 +0000
Date: 	Sat, 5 Mar 2011 15:16:45 -0800
From: 	Lawrence Rosen <>
To: 	<>
CC: 	PSIG <>


Following extensive discussion in PSIG and with the HTML WG Chairs, I
have proposed the following license for HTML Recommendations when they
are published by W3C. I call this license "Option 3" to distinguish it
from other suggested licenses that have been floated since W3C first
started exploring this topic. Because it incorporates the existing W3C
Document License
and does not affect the W3C Patent Policy
<> in any way, this
is a much more robust solution for the W3C FOSS-compatible licensing
strategy than simply adopting the MIT license  which Option 3 actually

I do not want to have to explain this license to you. It ought to stand
on its own with clear wording that everyone understands. However, I owe
you an explanation of an important nuance of copyright law so that you
are not surprised: Nothing in this license _authorizes_ anyone to
distribute derivative works of W3C Recommendations **as technical
specifications**; this Option 3 _authorizes_ software and associated
documentation. This remains consistent with the expressed desire of W3C
members to discourage forks of industry standard software
specifications.This Option 3 license, however, contains _no express
restrictions_ on downstream uses. As such, I believe it to be compatible
with all FOSS licenses, including the various versions of the GPL.

I have recommended that PSIG create a FAQ to explain this legal result.

Here is Option 3 for your consideration:


Copyright  2010 W3C (MIT, ERCIM, Keio).

W3C liability and trademark rules apply.

As a whole, this document may be used according to the terms of the W3C
Document License

In addition, to facilitate implementation of the technical
specifications set forth in this document, anyone may prepare and
distribute derivative works and portions of this document in software,
in supporting materials accompanying software, and in documentation of
software, PROVIDED that all such works include the notice below. The
notice is:

"Copyright  2010 W3C (MIT, ERCIM, Keio). This software or document
includes material copied from or derived from [title and URI of the W3C

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
Cell: 707-478-8932
Apache Software Foundation, member and counsel (
Open Web Foundation, board member (
Stanford University, Instructor in Law
Author, /Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual
Property Law/ (Prentice Hall 2004)

Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 17:33:40 UTC