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Re: W3C Excerpt and Citation license

From: Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it>
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 00:17:59 +0100
To: debian-legal@lists.debian.org
Cc: ted@w3.org, Daniel Veillard <veillard@redhat.com>, Samuel Hocevar <sam@zoy.org>, www-archive@w3.org, Ian Jacobs <ijacobs@w3.org>, Rigo Wenning <rigo@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20090307001759.e8aa4e07.frx@firenze.linux.it>
On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 01:40:07 +0100 Simon Josefsson wrote:

> The complete license is reproduced below, for easy review on
> debian-legal.

Thank you, Simon.

My comments follow.
Disclaimers, as usual: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.

> [Draft] W3C® Excerpt & Citation License
> The permissions below are granted for documents in any medium that 
> refer to this license or to the W3C Document Licence

If I understand correctly, this clause is intended to grant additional
permissions to documents that are already licensed under the terms of
the W3C Document License [1].
I am not sure I understand why this level of indirectness is necessary.
I would rather amend the W3C Document Licence [1], so that every
document that refers to the generic license URL [1] gets automatically
upgraded to a new, more permissive, license.
Of course, a document referring to a specific license URL [2], won't be
upgraded (but will such a document get additional permissions with the
current indirect W3C Excerpt & Citation License?).

[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/copyright-documents
[2] such as, for instance:

> Permissions
> Permission to copy, to use, to create derivatives of parts of the 
> work (but not the entire work),

As already explained by Simon Josefsson, this forbids creating
derivatives of the entire work, thus failing to meet DFSG#3.
It's also not hard to work around, as explained by Walter Landry, hence
it's probably pointless.

I suggest to drop this restriction entirely and grant permission to
create derivatives of the entire work and of any part thereof.

> or to create extended citations or 
> excerpts, without fee or royalty is hereby granted provided that the 
> licensee:

I think that the placement of "without fee or royalty" is slightly
ambiguous, as it could misinterpreted to mean that, e.g., copying is
only permitted if it is done without asking for a fee.

Since I am not an English native speaker, I am not really sure about
this potential ambiguity.
Anyway, I am under the impression that something like:

"Permission to ... is hereby granted without fee or royalty, provided
that ..."

would make it clearer that it is the licensor who is not asking any fee
or royalty in exchange for the granted permissions.

> Attribution
>         * include links or URLs to the original W3C documents used on 
> at least one prominent place of the software documentation
>         * include this text at the same location:
>               This documentation has been created using excerpts from 
> one or more referenced W3C Documents. More information can be found 
> on the original W3C Documents. The use of citations or excerpts 
> according to the W3C excerpt and citation license does not create an 
> endorsement by W3C in any way. Legal notices and licenses from W3C 
> are available at http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/ipr-notice.

I think that mandating a fixed specific text to be included in
derivative works is not a good idea, because it creates an unmodifiable
part of the derivative work, thus causing derivative works to fail

I suggest that the clause should require that a derivative work
includes a prominent notice explaining that it is based on one or more
referenced W3C Documents and that no endorsement by W3C should be
assumed unless explicitly noted.
This would serve the same purpose, without mandating a specific fixed

> No derivative specifications
>     The target content must not create a derivative specification.

As already said by Simon Josefsson, this restriction is troublesome.
In my opinion, the reason why it is problematic is that it forbids a
category of derivative works to be created, thus failing to meet DFSG#3.
Anthony W. Youngman and MJ Ray have already explained that there are
better ways of preserving integrity, without forbidding the creation of
derivative specifications.

I hope the above may be of some help.

 On some search engines, searching for my nickname AND
 "nano-documents" may lead you to my website...  
...................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

Received on Sunday, 8 March 2009 18:25:00 UTC

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