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Re: Does W3C Document License prohibit profiles?

From: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 16:04:43 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Cc: www-qa@w3.org

At 07:32 PM 11/4/2004 +0100, Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:

>* Lofton Henderson wrote:
> >>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.
>The document licence deals with the documentation, not with what is
>documented, don't you think?

Perhaps.  But I'm unclear where is the dividing line (documentation text 
versus documented technology).

The FAQ [1] doesn't seem to help much.  For example, it says:  "The 
document notice does not permit derivative works...", and goes on with the 
reason, "...so as to prevent misleading alterations to our specifications 
that are then associated with the W3C."

So the stated motivation would not proscribe profiles (even closely derived 
from the REC text).  But the various cases in the FAQ don't help to 
clarify, IMO.

For example, if you look at Annotations of the second type (5.8, #2), they 
start to sound like some ways that one might express (document) a profile.

If the view that the document notice applies only to the documentation 
itself is the correct view (and restrictions on the documented technology), 
then that would lead to some interesting conclusions about writing 
profiles.  Some ways of documenting the SmallBlah profile of Rec Xblah 1.0 
would infringe the document notice, and some ways of documenting the exact 
same technology would not.

In some cases, the best and clearest way to write the SmallBlah profile 
might be infringing, whereas an oblique and inferior presentation might be 
safe.  That hardly seems optimal.

Given the extreme nervousness about IPR in industry now (which was the 
source of this question), a timely clarification from site-policy, and 
inclusion of same in the FAQ, would be most welcome.


[1]  http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/IPR-FAQ-20000620
Received on Thursday, 4 November 2004 23:04:59 UTC

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