W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > November 2004

Does W3C Document License prohibit profiles?

From: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 10:54:33 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: www-qa@w3.org

[...switching from QAWG to QAIG list...]

It was suggested to ask the QA IG list for opinions or thoughts on 
this:  does the W3C Document License prohibit profiles of W3C 
Recommendations?  A thread started on the QAWG list, with this original 
message [6] (also, the question has been sent to site-policy@w3.org)...

=====original message=====
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
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-qaframe-spec-20040830/
[5] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-spec-variability-20040830/
[6] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-qa-wg/2004Nov/0005.html
Received on Thursday, 4 November 2004 17:54:45 UTC

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