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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: CC-BY in context
Date Fri, 07 Jun 2013 00:16:01 GMT
Jeffrey Thompson wrote:
>  I think that if the specification includes code artifacts

> (e.g., schema, DTDs) that are intended to be copied into

> implementations unchanged, it would be helpful if the author

> clearly stated that this was permissible w/o requiring any

> particular outbound license.

 

Do you have a good definition for “code artifacts”?  In an email to Luis Villa on another
list where I intended to be both ironic and humorous, I pointed out that the following is
an important specification for quantum mechanics. 

 

cid:image001.png@01CE61CC.9535D980

 

This version of the Schrodinger equation is beautiful enough to be copyrightable, and I presume
it can be copied into software and its documentation (a derivative work?) even if it seems
incomprehensible to non-physicists. Will this portion of a specification satisfy your definition
of “code artifact”?

 

>  While its perfectly appropriate for the Specification itself,

> the code artifacts would be better licensed under a license

> which allows relicensing.

 

As I’ve argued before, “relicensing” is a bogus word; nobody can relicense someone else’s
work. As for “sublicensing,” which I think you meant, that’s not necessary if *everyone*
gets an identical license directly from the copyright owner, which is how CC-BY works. (FWIW,
that is also how patent licenses from IBM are often worded, without sublicensing allowed.)

 

/Larry

 

 

From: Jeffrey Thompson [mailto:jthom@us.ibm.com] 
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2013 4:54 PM
To: legal-discuss@apache.org
Cc: Lawrence Rosen
Subject: RE: CC-BY in context

 

"Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com> wrote on 06/06/2013 03:57:49 PM:

> There is a difficult debate underway (in court and in academic 
> circles) whether the implementation of a specification in software 
> is a derivative work of the specification. Some say yes, some say 
> no, some say sometimes. In any event, will CC-BY give us the 
> permission we want -- even if we don't think we need it -- to 
> implement that specification?

Regardless of the answer to the question whether I need a copyright license to read your specification
and write code that implements the system / algorithm / interface / whatever described in
that specification, I think that if the specification includes code artifacts (e.g., schema,
DTDs) that are intended to be copied into implementations unchanged, it would be helpful if
the author clearly stated that this was permissible w/o requiring any particular outbound
license.

While someone could argue that no license is required, why have the argument?  As we've previously
discussed, I think CC-BY has a problem there.  While its perfectly appropriate for the Specification
itself, the code artifacts would be better licensed under a license which allows relicensing.

Just my 2 cents.

Jeff

> 
> Notice please that the existing W3C document license unambiguously 
> *doesn't* give us the right to create derivative works, even in 
> software. Many implementers, and our Category A list, ignore that sad fact.
> 
> /Larry
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis E. Hamilton [mailto:dennis.hamilton@acm.org] 
> Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 9:33 PM
> To: legal-discuss@apache.org; lrosen@rosenlaw.com
> Subject: RE: CC-BY in context
> 
> Um oh, so an example of a permissive license on a W3C specification 
> might be CC-by.  
> 
> Well, yes, this is not the place to deliberate on the wisdom of that.
> 
> On the other hand, I don’t see how such a decision is generally any 
> concern of an *implementer* of the specification (as opposed to a 
> modifier of the specification).  
> 
> There is a Category-B-like case though.  A W3C specification might 
> provide a schema, a machine-processable code.  (This has come up 
> with schemas related to OASIS specifications, since the copyright on
> those files is typically one of those “all rights reserved” puppies.)
> 
> Sometime those schemas, as data, are employed in the building of 
> software in an ASF Project (or elsewhere).  There is then the 
> question of their retention in the SVN or their access as external 
> dependencies (which would be OK for CC-BY whether it is an “A” or 
> not, but maybe iffy in an “all rights reserved” situation.)  A 
> simple practical example is a validator that uses the schema as part
> of its operation.
> 
> It is also the case that, for quite practical reasons, one might 
> want to make mechanical use of a derivative of the schema as 
> provided in conjunction with some specification.  It would make no 
> sense to contribute customizations “up-stream” because the standard 
> is not impacted, it serves a practical purpose for an 
> implementation.  A more-sophisticated validator might employ such a 
> beast using a flavor of the schema that is marked-up in some 
> application-relevant manner.  I can think of other instances.  Now, 
> for a license-considerate open-source effort, where can that 
> derivative be stashed and how is it to be identified, license-wise?
> 
> I know that’s a hypothetical (although I know of specific cases).  
> I’m not seeking an answer.  It is the question that is interesting.
> 

Counsel, IBM Corporation  (914)766-1757  (tie)8-826  (fax) -7164


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