[whatwg] Copyright of specifications

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sat Aug 28 03:20:11 PDT 2004

On Fri, 27 Aug 2004, Jim Ley wrote:
> On Fri, 27 Aug 2004 22:00:08 +0000 (UTC), Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > The suggestion of public domain was only brought up briefly during an
> > unminutted meeting, 
> No it wasn't, you mentioned at least twice on seperate occasions on
> this mailing list.

Allow me to rephrase. During legal discussions at Opera, the suggestion of 
public domain was only brought up briefly during an unminutted meeting, 
and was very quickly dismissed as unworkable by the people who know such 

> > and was very quickly dismissed as unworkable by the people who know 
> > such things.
> So why did you not mention this before? e.g. last time I asked for on 
> update on the copyright issue.

Because at that time it hadn't been discussed.

> > Like I said, I have no interest in questioning the reasons or methods 
> > of our lawyers,
> they aren't your lawyers, you're acting as spokesperson of the WHAT-WG 
> an organisation which _does not_ recognise Opera as being a member of 
> it, I realise that this is a difficult situation for you being in both 
> camps, but please remember it is of your making and you need to try and 
> ensure the two are kept seperate, after all the entire charter of the 
> WHAT WG relies on this.

They _are_ "our" lawyers, I'm an Opera employee even in a WHATWG context. 
I realise it is difficult for you to understand the concept of an 
individual (myself) being a member of two organisations (Opera and WHATWG) 
but it is quite common and has nothing to do with whether one recognises 
the other or not. For example I have also been an individual member of W3C 
and Netscape, W3C and Bath University, and W3C and Opera, without any 
particular problems relating to not being a representative of one in the 

> > > As you just said above, you're not a lawyer...  and I certainly have no
> > > idea about Norwegian law, but certainly in US law it's not possible to
> > > give a licence that cannot be revoked.
> > 
> > I shall forward your concerns.
> can you ask for an _urgent_ response, after all 2 months is already
> extremely negligent time for what you've described as being very
> simple issues.

No, sorry.

> Would you also please request that you are allowed to post their 
> response to the mailing list?


> > > So I think I am right to be concerned, could you be clearer about 
> > > exactly the advice the lawyers gave you,
> > 
> > No, I can't be any clearer than I have been already.
> Why not?  you've said nothing at all about the advice they've given so 
> far.

I have explained everything I understood, so I can't be any clearer.

> > > Why not?  What's happening, why the delay?
> > 
> > I have no idea, I'm not involved in the patent matter personally.
> Who is the WHAT-WG member responsible then?  Can you please get them to 
> pull their finger out...

Since you can't remain civil about this, I will let them reply on their 
own terms and will not get involved.

> Also you neglected to mention my concerns that you didn't have the 
> advice from the Opera lawyers in respect of the WHAT-WG specification in 
> writing?

I didn't say I didn't have advice in writing.

> (I'm willing to forego the obvious conflict in interest here, that the 
> Opera lawyers obviously have to act in the best interest of Opera and 
> not the WHAT-WG...)

As do I, what's your point? This may surprise you but few companies set up 
open forums like WHATWG if they are not in their own best interests.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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