Re: SVG & XPointer - When I write SVG code can I be sued?


First let me thank you for taking time to comment.

Second, my conclusions on this (taking into account off-list email) are

1. That the intention of W3C and Sun was to say, "Guys don't worry! Nobody is 
going to sue you for using XPointer" (and by extension SVG).

2. The way that good intention was expressed was verbose, opaque, convoluted 
and confusing

3. The XPointer WD and the Sun "Terms and Conditions" should be redrafted to 
express conclusion 1. much more clearly.

I have posted some specific redrafting suggestions on

Specific attention needs to be given to the (possibly unintended) effect of 
the widely drawn definitions of "modification" and the reporting requirement 
in paragraph 3. of the "Terms and Conditions" document.

If the perceived good intentions of both W3C and Sun on this matter are more 
clearly expressed in revised versions of the documents then the potential 
concern can be safely laid to rest.

I hope to see suitably revised documents posted in due course, sufficiently 
clear to allay any slight remaining question over this matter.


Andrew Watt

In a message dated 18/01/01 21:51:36 GMT Standard Time, writes:

> Hi all, 
>  Chris justed notified me of that mail. I think this needs some
>  comments. (not clarifications, as those may be legal advice and
>  W3C is not in the shape to give legal advice) I'm not a
>  US-Lawyer, but a lawyer nevertheless (Germany/France)
>  First, I think, Sun has omitted to provide the manual for their
>  legalese. Perhaps this can be remedied by some explanatory
>  remarks and some clarifications of the intention of the given
>  conditions. 
>  I find it an exotic construction to grant a right "not to be
>  sued". In civil law areas, this will probably be interpreted as a
>  license. But I don't know about the US.
>  It seams that your fear to be sued is a bit too high, as far as I
>  understand the terms and conditions. 
>  If you carefully read, Sun is not requiring notification to W3C!
>  for _any_ implementation, but only for Modifications, as defined in
>  the thingy. Modifications are defined as _extensions_ etc... to
>  XPointer. So: Notification only for extensions + Notifications
>  should go to W3C.
>  Furthermore, I might think, it is possible to implement only
>  parts of XPointer. The text says:
>  ...making, using, selling, offering for sale, otherwise disposing
>  of or importing a fully compliant implementation of the XPointer
>  Specification or _subsets_ thereof.
>  But part or full implementation, it has to be compliant. That's
>  what we try to reach with validator, css-test-suite etc.. What
>  does that mean, fully compliant? Who will determine that? It is
>  not said, that Sun will determine that. So I assume, this will be
>  decided by the test-suite or by some expert from W3C or some well
>  recognized expert in an testimony before some court.
>  If you do an implementation and you do a bad job, the thing might
>  be not compliant, but you aren't aware of it. I don't think you
>  risk that much until you dicover that you're not compliant. The
>  test-suite give's you an easy way to discover it.
>  (for US, I'm not sure, to be confirmed by a US Lawyer)
>  Finally, if it were all true, Sun's Patent would not only protect
>  Sun, but eventually also You (at Sun's discretion!). The text
>  says: 
>  You covenant on a worldwide basis not to sue Sun or any _third_
>  _party_ for infringement of _any patents_ ....for the making..
>  or...implementation of the XPointer Specification. 
>  So Sun reserves itself the right to sue somebody upon this
>  patent, if this somebody sued you for infringement of one of
>  somebodies patents..
>  Than, there is an "open source" provision. To me it is 
>  new (and interesting) to see, that they tried to base that on 
>  a patent and not on normal copyright. The "open source" 
>  provision only applies to the "Modifications", so a commercial
>  implementation without extensions might remain possible. 
>  AND, they put W3C! in an editor-role (that we never accepted
>  officially ;), as you'll have to provide documentation of your
>  _extentions_ to W3C! and NOT to Sun.
>  Summa summarum, I think the word "sue" or "sued" should be
>  avoided in texts, that are made to be used by non-lawyers.
>  At least, such statements should be tidied before they go to
>  techniciens.
>  But if I'm wrong, Eve Maler could correct me. It would be really
>  interesting to here about their intentions behind those
>  conditions. 
>  I keep the full quote because of the extensive cross-posting
>  without reference, so all information remains contained
>  (including the URI of the mail with the conditions and terms)
>  Note, that this is NOT a legal advise nor does it reflect any
>  official statement of W3C as an entity on that issue (this is
>  Danny's Job) These are just some remarks from me to clear up some
>  apparent misunderstandings. (Imagine additionally a
>  US-Disclaimer, disclaiming everything possible)
>  Best, 
>  Rigo Wenning            W3C/INRIA
>  Policy Analyst          2004, Routes des Lucioles
>        F-06902 Sophia Antipolis
>  +33 (0)6 73 84 87 31

Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 05:36:05 UTC