Lotsa laughs

Chris Lilley chris at w3.org
Tue May 25 23:16:20 BST 1999

Didier PH Martin wrote:

> Chris said:
> > Yes; but on the other hand, if product vendor X announces some new
> > product and describe their new protocil or format (totally proprietary
> > and undocuments) as "the new standard" and it, for exanmple, it covers
> > the same ground as an existing W3C Recommendation, then we do the world
> > no favours if a magazine editor rings us to do a sidebar on the WE3C
> > spec and we don't promote it, in that forum, as being "more standard"
> > than product X.

> And what if W3C compete against other "standard" institutions? 
Do you haved any specific examples, or is that a theoretical

> And what if
> this product is documented and the copyright notice explitely express that
> we can use this spec (

Then it would be what I call a freely available, proprietary standard.
Freely available in the sense you can download it and check that
everything is actually documented and that it isn't missing some key

And proprietary in the sense that one company controls the spec and can
alter it whenever they see fit

> We should not forget that all W3C material is
> copyrighted also).

Of course. Otherwise, we have no recourse if some third party takes, for
example, the XML spec; chages it; copyrights it, and pursues W3C for
copyright infringement.

> Below are extracts from the W3C copyright notice and an
> other one from biztalk.org (because this is this thread's origin after all).

OK. Notice that the W3C copyright restricts you from changing the spec
(so you can't put it on company X's website and remove the bits that
didn't get implemented and claim 100% conformance) and insists on a
pointer to the original, so you can check. And as it says we sometimes
waive those conditions (for example, to allow folks to translate into
other languages, which requires changing the spec).

Note that the W3C license relates to the *spec*, the actual textual

Anyone is free to implement it and W3C will not be going after
implementors for royalties or requiring that they sign some license
agreement with undisclosed terms; and the practice of "patent placement"
(by analogy with "product placement"), where a group make s
aspecification with the express intention of forcing people to license
certain technology, is highly frowned upon.

> So, what if someone publish a document with a copyright statement like in
> the biztalk documents? 

Then you should read it carefully and see precisely what you are
agreeing to, beforehand.

> What if a big bunch of people use and elaborate on
> this spec? Is it then a "standard"? 

Accordiong to the position for non-magazine-ediotors, no, it isn't.

> a de facto "standard"? "an open
> specification" we can freely implement? maybe is the latter who knows ? ;-)

Sure. I would refer to for example SAX as an open specification that can
freely be implemented, and if talking loosely to people who might
otherwise wander into vendor-lockdown I might even call it the SAX
standard. Small s, of course.

license extracts left intact for perusal

> ------------------------
> W3C copyright extract:
> Permission to use, copy, and distribute the contents of this document, or
> the W3C document from which this statement is linked, in any medium for any
> purpose and without fee or royalty is hereby granted, provided that you
> include the following on ALL copies of the document, or portions thereof,
> that you use:
> A link or URL to the original W3C document.
> The pre-existing copyright notice of the original author, if it doesn't
> exist, a notice of the form: "Copyright © World Wide Web Consortium,
> (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institut National de Recherche en
> Informatique et en Automatique, Keio University). All Rights Reserved.
> http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/" (Hypertext is preferred, but a textual
> representation is permitted.)
> If it exists, the STATUS of the W3C document.
> When space permits, inclusion of the full text of this NOTICE should be
> provided. We request that authorship attribution be provided in any
> software, documents, or other items or products that you create pursuant to
> the implementation of the contents of this document, or any portion thereof.
> No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C documents is granted
> pursuant to this license. However, subsequent to additional requirements
> documented in the Copyright FAQ, modifications or derivatives are sometimes
> granted by the W3C to individuals complying with those terms.
> --------------------
> Biztalk copyright extract:
> Microsoft hereby grants to all users of this BizTalk (tm) Framework
> specification, version 0.8 (the "Specification"), a perpetual, nonexclusive,
> royalty-free, world-wide right and license under any Microsoft copyrights in
> the Specification to copy, publish and distribute the Specification.
> Microsoft further agrees to grant to users a royalty-free license under
> applicable Microsoft intellectual property rights to implement and use the
> BizTalk XML tags and schema guidelines included in the Specification for the
> purpose of creating computer programs that adhere to such guidelines --one
> condition of this license shall be the party's agreement not to assert
> patent rights against Microsoft and other companies for their implementation
> of the Specification. Microsoft expressly reserves all other rights it may
> have in the material and subject matter of this Specification. Microsoft
> expressly disclaims any and all warranties regarding this Specification
> including any warranty that this Specification or implementations thereof
> does not violate the rights of others

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