Re: Any recommendation for context license?

That's an excellent question, Lutz!

Context files do likely qualify as "copyright-able"--though individual term definitions may not.

In the US, at least (though, I Am Not A Lawyer), it would see context files may fall under "architectural works":
"Architectural works – Copyright in architectural works only extends to aesthetics.  If a design element is “functionally required,” it is not protected by copyright."

Given that (by that definition at least), context files are "functionally required," there could potentially be a case made that:
a) they fall outside of copyright because they are functionally required to "build" the building (as it were).
b) they are published with knowledge of how the processing model (and caching) works--and therefore "enforcing copyright" on the use of the context file would seem out of keeping with the purpose of a context file in the first place.

However, I am indeed not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. 😉

I should also add that there's currently no method for stating the license of a context file other than adding data statements to it:
  "@context": {"...": "..."},
  "@id": "...url of this context file...",
  "": ""
  "": "BigBlueHat"

Other related areas of consideration are general Web caching + copyright law/discussions, though published context files would be far more long lived (i.e. forever) than a typical Web cache.

It would be great to get more input from folks who worry about this "in the wild."

Thanks for bringing this up, Lutz!
Co-Chair, W3C JSON-LD WG


From: Lutz Helm <>
Sent: Friday, February 1, 2019 8:56 AM
Subject: Any recommendation for context license?

Dear list,

is there any official recommendation concerning what license a JSON-LD
context document should have? If not, should there be one?

Developers probably want to redistribute the content of third party
JSON-LD contexts along with there projects to avoid repeated requests
for contexts or caching those contexts. (As an example, it's a thing I
plan to do with IIIF context documents; already raised a question about
it on the IIIF list.)

Lutz Helm

Lutz Helm
Bereich Digitale Dienste
AG Anwendungsentwicklung

Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig
Beethovenstraße 6, 04107 Leipzig

T: +49 341 97 30566

Received on Friday, 1 February 2019 15:19:37 UTC