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Document License prohibits profiles?

From: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 16:18:59 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: www-qa-wg@w3.org

I have been asked a question by a (legally) cautious potential profiler of 
a W3C REC, and one reasonable answer is fairly startling, based on 
documented W3C policies.

Is it legal for an individual or group to write a profile of a Rec which 
contains the Document License [1]?  That license says:

>No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C documents is 
>granted pursuant to this license. However, if additional requirements 
>(documented in the Copyright FAQ) are satisfied, the right to create 
>modifications or derivatives is sometimes granted by the W3C to 
>individuals complying with those requirements.

I think a profile is certainly a derivative work of its base standard -- it 
defines a subset of the base standard.  Is it a derivative in the sense of 
the Document License?  I don't know.  One would hope that the Copyright FAQ 
[2] would say something like "Profiles are okay, as long as they clearly 
distinguished themselves from the base REC."  But no.  The section on 
Annotation (5.8) flirts with the topic, but doesn't deal with it head on.

It is not unreasonable to interpret the Document License in such a way 
that, for example, an industry group could NOT define a technical graphics 
profile by basing it on SVG Basic, as suggested in the 4th paragraph of 
SVG12 [3].  There are other examples as well.



[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/2002/copyright-documents-20021231
[2] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG12/profiling.html
Received on Wednesday, 3 November 2004 23:19:08 UTC

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