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Re: [whatwg] Creative Commons Rights Expression Language

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 22:51:55 +0000 (UTC)
To: Ben Adida <ben@adida.net>
Cc: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Kristof Zelechovski <giecrilj@stegny.2a.pl>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, "Bonner, Matt" <matt.bonner@hp.com>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0808212203430.19930@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

I've taken this off the WHATWG list since it isn't about HTML5.

On Thu, 21 Aug 2008, Ben Adida wrote:
> I appreciate all of the comments. I encourage folks who are commenting 
> on these issues to read (or at least skim) the ccREL document:
>   http://www.w3.org/Submission/2008/SUBM-ccREL-20080501/
> It explains exactly our thinking, why we went with RDFa, and why a 
> number of the alternatives proposed are insufficient for our needs (and 
> the needs of a number of other web publishers.)

Is anyone who actually processes Creative Commons metadata actually doing 
so in an RDF manner? Google certainly isn't (we just inspect the metadata 
using regular expressions). It seems that if people aren't processing the 
data using real RDF tools, using any kind of RDF-based expression language 
is somewhat pointless.

Also, as Henri points out, the real problems that Creative Commons are 
facing really have nothing to do with syntax.

> We want to build tools that can answer the question "is this *item*, 
> entitled 'Sunset in Hawaii', usable for commercial purposes?" The 
> *item*, identified by a URL or present inline as a chunk of HTML, may be 
> a video, a photo, a song, a word document, geo-location information, or 
> any other type of data we haven't thought of yet.

Who is "we"? Are there any people who actually want to use such tools?

In practice, it seems that just inspecting the content for a copyright 
statement is more than enough to address the needs of people who want to 
reuse content. Furthermore, as noted above, at least one of the major 
search engines that can be used to track down content of one type or 
another certainly isn't even remotely attempting to build the tools to 
that level of granularity, and as far as I'm aware, hasn't received any 
significant amount of feedback requesting such features.

> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > I don't think anyone is suggesting that all such ideas should go 
> > through the Microformats community.
> As far as I understand, that is in fact exactly what the microformat 
> community requests, in order to prevent vocabulary collisions and 
> enforce some minimal consistency across vocabularies.

You can create your own vocabularies without clashing with the 
Microformats community and without introducing extensions to HTML.

> > What is being suggested is that instead of adding more features to 
> > HTML, the people who want to annotate their HTML documents with 
> > metadata, like Creative Commons, merely use some of the many existing 
> > HTML extension mechanisms, like class="", rel="", etc.
> Not sufficient, and not for lack of trying either. Check out the ccREL 
> paper for more details.

If the class attribute and other HTML mechanism can be used to mark up 
entire vCards, iCalendar events, and entire Atom feeds on HTML, it seems 
someone unlikely that it can't also be used to mark up what license the 
content is available under.

> And note that we helped create a standard that would serve *everyone*, 
> not just Creative Commons, with very few additional HTML attributes.

HTML can "serve everyone" too.

> How is RDFa any different? It may be a smaller community, but our needs 
> are still relevant and important. Not to mention that our design 
> approach was specifically tailored to be HTML5-friendly.

Adding to the language is not friendly to that language, especially when 
that language has as many existing extension mechanisms as HTML.

Fundamentally my opinion is that RDFa is solving a problem that people at 
large have no interest in addressing. It's fine for small communities to 
be using RDFa for their needs if they really do want structured triples 
and inference engines and so forth, but there's no point trying to use 
RDFa for something that is supposed to be used by people for whom the 
metadata in question isn't a big priority, since they simply won't care 
enough. That's not to say that I don't think computer-readable detailed 
metadata is a great idea and everything, I just don't think it'll work 
when your average human faces it. Just look at the typical media library 
of your average user -- great metadata for the tracks they bought off 
iTunes or Amazon, or which they could get data for through CD ripping 
software, but if you look at any tracks they got in othe ways, the 
metadata is a disaster. And that's with metadata that is directly helpful 
to the users! With things like licensing metadata, where the person who 
benefits the most isn't the person who writes the data, users simply 
aren't going to bother doing a good job.

Anyway. That's just my opinion. I'll shut up now. :-)

On Thu, 21 Aug 2008, Ben Adida wrote:
> But... legacy browsers have no way to display a Progress Bar either, 
> right?

Actually the <progress> element is explicitly designed to be usable in a 
manner that has acceptable fallback.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 22:52:16 UTC

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