[whatwg] HTML 5: Wording of "license" link type is too narrow

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed May 28 00:07:59 PDT 2008

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008, Dave Hodder wrote:
> The scope of the "license" link type in section 4.12.3 seems too narrow 
> to me.  It's presently described like this:
>     Indicates that the current document is covered by the copyright
>     license described by the referenced document.
> I think the word "copyright" should be removed, allowing other types of 
> intellectual property licence to be specified as well.  As a use case, 
> take for example a piece of documentation that is Apache-licensed:
>     <p>This piece of useful documentation may be used under the
>     terms of the <a rel="license"
>     ref="http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0">Apache License,
>     Version 2.0</a>.  Please note that Example™ is a trademark
>     of Example.com Enterprises.</p>
> The license link not only refers to copyright law, but also trademark 
> law and patent law.

Sure, the license can cover things other than copyright. But it is 
primarily a copyright license, and that is the part that the rel="license" 
keyword is referring to. The copyright license being part and parcel of a 
bigger license isn't a problem, IMHO.

In particular, we don't want people to use rel=license to point to 
trademark licenses or patent licenses that _aren't_ copyright licenses.

> On a related note, should the "copyright" keyword really be a synonym
> for "license"?  They seem to have distinct purposes to me:
>     <meta name=copyright
>             content="Copyright 2009-2010 Example.com Enterprises">
>     <link rel=license
>         href="http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0"
>         type="text/html">

The namespace of the "name" and "rel" attributes is distinct. The 
name=copyright above doesn't fall into the scope of the part of the spec 
that defines rel=copyright as a synonym for rel=license.

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

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