[whatwg] some issues

C Williams yicky_yacky at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jul 5 05:23:53 PDT 2004

--- Max Romantschuk <max at provico.fi> wrote: 
> C Williams wrote:
> > The W3C Document License
> > under which the specifications are released, states:
> > "No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C
> > documents is granted pursuant to this license."
> Modifications and derivatives do not apply here. A derivative
> work is 
> not the same thing as a new work which references an earlier
> work. 
> Referencing W3C's specs is not an issue.

Well, 'modifications' and 'derivatives', at face value, are
commonly understood to mean "mutations of the text itself", but
I was wondering what a smart lawyer might make of those clauses.
They can be interpreted a number of ways if needs be, and
nobody's really tried to extend W3C standards externally before
(well yes - they have - but they didn't publish a spec about it,
which actually might have been useful ...) 

> > The W3C Intellectual Rights Notice and Legal Disclaimers
> > states:
> > "No material may be modified, edited or *taken out of
> > context* such that its use creates a false or misleading
> > statement or impression as to the positions, statements or 
> > actions of W3C."
> > Note that I'm talking about the language used, not
> > the  idea. Which leads to ...
> I'm not sure exactly what you're aiming at here, but please
> elaborate. HTML is not owned by the W3C if that is your
> concern. HTML is a de-facto standard, which happens to be
> closely related to W3C's recommendations.

I was more concerned with the "misleading statement or
impression as to the positions ..." segment. The current
specification walks a line very close to that area. Again:
Smart lawyers, interpretations and, not least, the appearance,
layout and content of the current spec itself.

> Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. These are just my own
> interpretations, and I certainly am no expers on
> international copyright law.

Neither am I, but I've seen good developers get screwed by them

> PS. I think C Williams makes many good points, despite the
> somewhat offensive stance of his eralier post ;) I'm sure
> many of them need to be adressed if the WHATWG specs are to
> be taken seriously.

I concede my earlier mail may have been a little "tetchy", but
this is for three reasons.

Firstly: the *intent* of what WHATWG are trying to do is so
large in scope that there cannot be any room for even the
slightest perception of lack of diligence, especially when much
of what they are proposing would be received with open arms by
thousands of developers around the world, if they can get it

Secondly: Having had to trawl through *all* the XML-related
specs in microscopic detail (ouch) again during the past
fortnight, together with respected acquaintances hyping the idea
(after the xml.com article) left me a little surprised when I
finally had some time to look at what WHATWG were up to.

Thirdly; I'm very concerned about the pollution aspect. From a
certain standpoint, this travail could look like any number of
things (good and bad) to different people. Ian Hickson has a
large amount of respect from me for what he's leading, but it's
imperative that this is done as flawlessly as possible or, in
the current climate, it just won't fly. It seems as if the other
three main browsers are, in some part, supportive of this
effort, but I feel it's important, the prime criterion even, to
do everything possible to avoid a reappearance of the late
nineties browser tag soup scenario. Best laid plans and all that


C Williams

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