W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 1999

copyright rumors debunked - again

From: Dan Rogers <danro@microsoft.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 17:23:27 -0700
Message-ID: <C35556591D34D111BB5600805F1961B91C3568E0@RED-MSG-47>
To: "'Charles F. Munat'" <charles@munat.com>
Cc: jn@tommy.demon.co.uk, wai@tommy.demon.co.uk, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Charles,

Thanks for being so clear about your concerns.  I'll try and address them
here one by one.

Regarding copyright and www.biztalk.org:
The original letter that started this long chain did mention copyright, and
I've addressed that several times over now, I'll do it again for your
benefit here.

The public statement on the web site can be read here:
It's tedious reading, but that's the nature of debunking rumors.

For the record, the statements regarding copyright owndership that were
rumored, alegedly by IBM, and repeated by yourself, are false.  Look at the
schemas on www.biztalk.org.  I do see a few schemas with copyrights on them
(search for "OAG" for instance).  I see no schemas that contain any claims
by Microsoft.  Each contributor decides on the copyright mark, if any, for
each schema contributed to the library.

The website itself is copyrighted.  Microsoft, who produced the software,
artwork and ultimate display, does as a matter of course own a copyright on
the entire site and the presentation of each page.  This is a commonplace
practice for most public web sites.

Regarding the library web site:
The purpose of the schema library is to promote the use and adoption of
standard XML.  The long term mission of the web site is to remove entry,
learning and adoption barriers to XML take-off.  Since the move to the XML
schema standard will not be intuitive nor easy, we estabilshed this web
site.  Microsoft is adopting w3C standard Schema in our products as soon as
practical after the schema standard is ratified.  Since tens of thousands of
our customers are looking at XML today, and there is no other active schema
library that I know of, we built one to help people learn and use XML
schemas.  Is there a motive behind this for Microsoft?  Absolutely.  We sell
software (that's what software companies do!).  That software will use the
XML schema standard.  We want as many of our customers using software that
uses the W3C standard as possible.

Regarding Oasis:
OASIS is a group that has existed for some time as the SGML consortium.  The
focus of the renamed group is defining interchange standards to allow
metadata repositories to share information via a common data format.
Microsoft is a paying member of the OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org) group.
OASIS has several committees that are defining standards that will or may
have impact on Microsoft customers.  These are currently:

1. DocBook
2. XML conformance
3. Technical specifications for XML registry and Repository.

The Technical specifications for XML registry and Repository recently
started the first planned 18 month schedule to address the specifications
that define interfaces between systems that register schemas, and systems
that serve as XML repositories.  These terms are very loosely defined as of

In order to track progress of this open process, only paying members are
allowed to see the plans and schedules.  Sign up now at Oasis-open.org if
you are interested.

Microsoft has joined this initiative for the same reason that we join every
industry consortuim.  To see what the eventual standard might mean to our
customers and to gain an insight into the ultimate ability of the
organization to deliver on a universal standard.

Regarding your own goals:
You seem interested in XML.  If you want to learn more about the content of
www.BizTalk.org, please visit.  If you need help getting your free login,
write and I'll set up an account for you.  Hopefully, you can be the own
judge and determine whether you want to use the free library at
www.biztalk.org, whether to learn about schemas, download tools to help you
build applications that use XML, or make your own schemas available with no
strings to a large audience.  It's your choice.

I hope this helps you,

Best Regards,

Dan Rogers
Program Manager - www.biztalk.org
Microsoft Corporation

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles F. Munat [mailto:charles@munat.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 12:25 PM
To: jn@tommy.demon.co.uk; Dan Rogers; wai@tommy.demon.co.uk;
Subject: RE: How to make XML proprietary

I am happy to hear that Microsoft isn't trying to make XML proprietary
(yet). And I'm always happy to hear that a company is concerned about
accessibility. For Microsoft, the results have been a mixed bag, but
generally positive.

That said, I do have a few remarks to make about Dan Rogers rebuttal:

IMHO, it is a very carefully worded and clever reply, since it sounds great
but says nothing substantive.

I'm no expert on the current XML fuss, but even I can see that one of IBM's
points was that the BizTalk XML data definitions were copyrighted by
Microsoft. Where does Dan address this issue? Instead we get a carefully
worded explanation of what "proprietary" means. Worse, the defense of
proprietary is that it's just good capitalism.

Sigh. Frankly, capitalism is a pretty awful system. Not that I like many of
the alternatives currently in vogue, but I don't think that defending
something as normal to capitalism is equivalent to saying it's a good thing
for joe public.

So let's take a look at the other point that Dan ignores. According to IBM,
there is already an industry sponsored group, Oasis, working on this issue.
So why does Microsoft feel the need to establish its own group (with a
trademarked name, copyrighted definitions, etc.)?

The answer seems obvious: control. So let's stop pretending that that's not
an issue here. Defining proprietary narrowly so you can avoid sounding like
bad guys is not the same as being open and supportive of things that will
benefit the consumer and the industry in general (like the open source
movement, another Microsoft favorite).

Microsoft has developed BizTalk for one reason only: to benefit Microsoft.
Anyone who thinks that Microsoft (or IBM or any other TNC) is working for
the benefit of humanity is sadly deluded. Capitalism is about profit and
profit is about control (of property, of market share, etc.). It has nothing
to do with benefit to the consumer.

As consumers, however, we have an equal right to support what benefits us,
and to resist what does not. Frankly, I don't see how BizTalk benefits me
when there is already an industry-funded group doing the same sort of work,
but without the pro-Microsoft bent. I'm suspicious, and nothing Dan has said
has assuaged that suspicion. And when I consider Microsoft's record on
issues of control vs. benefit to the consumer, I feel even more suspicious.

So my comment to Dan is this: Spare me the Microsoft-as-humanitarian crap. I
know what Microsoft is getting out of this. Tell me what's in it for me.
What is it about BizTalk and Microsoft's approach to XML that's going to
benefit me in ways that Oasis won't?

Charles F. Munat
Seattle, Washington
Received on Monday, 18 October 1999 20:44:55 UTC

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