Re: PaySwarm is controlled by this group

Joseph, David,

I think both of you are unfamiliar with the way W3C community groups
operate with regard to copyright and patent concerns. :)

392+ W3C member companies signed off on the way these issues are
handled, so if you were to find a hole in the hand-off mechanism for W3C
specs, you'd catch quite a number of companies by surprise. I'm not
saying that you may not find and issue, I'm just saying that many large
tech company lawyers have combed through this process and found it
adequate for world standards work.

On 12/30/2013 09:41 PM, Joseph Potvin wrote:
> RE: "control of those specs was handed over to this Community Group 
> some time ago"
> Is the "handed over" part explicit and documented?

Yes and yes. More specifically, the hand-over happens in 3 phases:

The first is in the license the specification is published under. If you
look at any of the specs we have in this group, you will see this text:

Copyright  2013 the Contributors to the XYZ Specification, published by
the Web Payments Community Group under the W3C Community Contributor
License Agreement (CLA). A human-readable summary is available.

For example, look here:

The human-readable Community License Agreement is available here:

The legal document elaborating on the license is available here:

In general, the specs that are published on the website
allow the community to:

Share  copy and distribute the Specification.

Modify the Specification  make new versions of the Specification. If
you make new versions of the Specification you must include attribution
to the original Specification (but not in any way that suggests that
they endorse you or your use of the work).

Implement the Specification  secure the royalty-free rights from
contributors necessary to implement the specification.

This first phase happened when this group was created. The W3C has a
record of it happening. We ensured that this license applied to all
specs worked on by this group. You can go through the git history for
the website to see when it happened for each spec.

The second phase happens when we produce a Final Specification
Agreement, which requires all of the contributors to the specification
to sign off on their submissions once again (just to be sure that
everyone understands that they're giving up certain copy rights and
patent rights). This will happen when we think the specs are ready to go
Recommendation track (the track that takes them to a world standard) at
W3C. Most W3C CG specs go through this process.

The third phase happens when the W3C member companies are given
exclusionary periods to hold back patents that they're holding that
cover the technology being developed. When the exclusionary period is
over, certain identified patents fall into a royalty-free pool for
purposes of implementing the specification. All W3C specs go through
this process.

To my knowledge, we've never had a failure of this process. It's the
same process that is used for most every open Web standard published by
the W3C today.

I know it's a pain to look through this stuff, but please make sure you
understand how the W3C patent and copyright policy works before
attempting to build something on top of it. :)

If someone believes that what we've done has not achieved what the
W3C CLA intends to achieve for the current set of specs published by
this group, please tell us why you think there is a hole in the current
process or exactly how there is an issue with how we've executed upon it.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: The Worlds First Web Payments Workshop

Received on Wednesday, 1 January 2014 03:06:31 UTC