[whatwg] [wf3] Idea: |copyright| and |license| attributes

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 12 13:53:36 PDT 2005

   Had a quick thought I'd like to share with you. Often times, content
from other sources might be inserted into a web page, or you may have
situations where you wish people to be able to copy part of the text
(such as a press release), but not all of it (such as the website UI and
graphics). You may also want (or are legally required) to list the
original holder of the copyright. There are also situations where
managing copyright information for content is difficult without
assistance from software.

   To resolve these problems, I suggest the creation of two new
attributes. The first is |copyright|, which allows a copyright notice to
be attached to an element. The copyright is inherited by all
descendants, unless a descendant element has an assigned |copyright|
itself, which overrides ancestor copyrights. Thus, you can theoretically
track any part of a document back to its original copyright owner.

   The second attribute is |license|. It is inherited in the same way as
|copyright|, and provides a name and/or URL to the license for the
respective content. Editing software can potentially use the licensing
information to determine if certain content can be copied into content
under a different license. Here's an example:

| <code copyright="2005; Matthew Raymond"
| license="GPL 2.0; http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html">
|   // * Put non-proprietary code here...
|   <span copyright="2004-2005; Microsoft Corporation"
|   license="GPL Killer; http://microsoft.com/licenses/firstborn.html">
|     // * Ultra-proprietary, patent encumbered code.
|   </span>
|   // * Put more non-proprietary code here...
| </code>

   An editor supporting |copyright| and |license| could warn the author
that the "GPL Killer" licensed content can't be used inside the "GPL
2.0" licensed content. Also, if the licenses are common enough, the URLs
could simply be dropped:

| <code copyright="2005; Matthew Raymond" license="GPL 2.0">
|   // * Put non-proprietary code here...
|   <span copyright="2005; Microsoft Corporation" license="GPL Killer">
|     // * Ultra-proprietary, patent encumbered code.
|   </span>
|   // * Put more non-proprietary code here...
| </code>

   Well, just a thought. There may be better ways to do this already.
Let me know what you think.

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