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From robert burrell donkin <rdon...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Sun copyrights and our rights to include certain files in the repo
Date Sat, 11 Mar 2006 09:22:27 GMT
On Fri, 2006-03-10 at 09:11 +1300, Simon Kitching wrote:
> Is it possible to copyright a DTD? 
> 
> NB: A "DTD" is a document which defines the format of an XML file, and
> is used to validate that an arbitrary document is of the expected
> format. It can also define default values for fields. Commonly such a
> document also includes documentation on the purpose of valid XML
> elements and attributes.
> 
> A DTD effectively defines a public API which (I believe) is not
> copyrightable. And there is very little "creative expression" in such a
> file; there is really only one way to define a DTD that defines a
> specific public API. In other words, given a plain-english description
> of an XML document's format, the DTD created via a "clean-room" process
> would result in an identical document -- except for any comments that
> may be present.
> 
> I presume the limitation on modification of these DTDs is really
> pointing out that the DTD corresponds to a particular technical
> specification, and modifying it would cause software to fail to be
> compliant with that specification. There's certainly no *benefit* in
> modifying the constraints defined in such a document if the apache
> project is intending to implement the official specification. Modifying
> any *comments* present, though, might be desirable.

modifying these documents may put us in a more difficult position than
simply creating clean room implementations. comments may well be
copyrightable even when the base work is not (for example, annotated
editions of classic texts). 

- robert

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