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From "Lawrence Rosen (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (LEGAL-179) Include CC-BY as an Apache-approved third party license
Date Sat, 26 Oct 2013 17:20:32 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-179?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=13806142#comment-13806142

Lawrence Rosen commented on LEGAL-179:

This JIRA LEGAL-179 has been resolved as "not a problem." Many of you are tired of reading
about this. Feel free to ignore it. I can lead a horse to water but I can't force him to drink....


Some of you have treated this JIRA LEGAL-179 issue as a personal vendetta by me to force our
VP of Legal Affairs to take action prematurely to approve a new W3C specification license.
This isn't personal; this is an important legal issue whether you recognize it or not. However
Apache decides to deal with this issue, "not a problem" is the wrong way to describe it.

W3C standards are currently available under the W3C Document License. Why isn't that good
enough? Because the ways we write software standards and the ways we implement them have changed
even as open source and open standards have evolved! Here is how one attorney at W3C PSIG
described the problem recently when it became obvious that Sam and others didn't really understand
the issue:

   "This argument is at the core of a long dispute between Larry Masinter and
    Ian Hickson. If a specification is just abstract rules for implementation, one
    "uses" the specification to implement code. Masinter argued for such 
    specifications. But if the pseudo-code and code serves as a specification
    and as a reference code at the same time, using that code or pseudo-code,
    transforming it automatically into code and putting it in a new context is generating
    legal problems. Problems that nobody wants, but that interfere with the entire
    development process and standardization."

In particular, one runs afoul of the following condition in the W3C Document License:

   "No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C documents is
    granted pursuant to this license."

Ignore this W3C Document License condition at your own risk! 

I am comfortable that W3C itself won't sue anyone at Apache for copyright infringement, so
that's not the risk. Instead, you should recognize that large, powerful software companies
such as IBM and Microsoft are worried about the "forking" of industry standards and want to
prevent it. It is they ā€“ your employers and the owners of much proprietary software ā€“
who have insisted that W3C PSIG develop a standards licensing strategy that both enables open
source and derivative works /and/ that prevents forking. 

I don't want standards to be forked! But I do argue that open source principles require the
freedom to create derivative works, even of industry standards, without asking the permission
of any big company!

Here is how that W3C attorney described the process by which, after more than a year of vigorous
discussion within W3C PSIG, the CC-BY license came to be the W3C recommendation:

    "Some technician came up with CC-BY and this was too late to stop.
    Then some people realized CC-BY is claimed to be not compatible
     with GPL (I wonder why) and suggested CC-Zero. CC-Zero does not
     even acknowledge authors, which is very objectionable from a droit 
     d'auteur point of view as it neglects the moral rights."

When the Director of W3C finally adopted CC-BY as an "experiment" for a new license, I supported
it. So did the companies represented at PSIG, including the companies that employ many of

I then asked here that we add CC-BY to the list of approved licenses. 

The sā€”t then hit the fan here, most of which was unfortunately slung at me. Maybe this email
will awaken you to the real story behind the story you thought you heard.


Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)
3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482
Office: 707-485-1242
Linkedin profile: http://linkd.in/XXpHyu 

> Include CC-BY as an Apache-approved third party license
> -------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: LEGAL-179
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-179
>             Project: Legal Discuss
>          Issue Type: Question
>            Reporter: Lawrence Rosen
>            Assignee: Sam Ruby
> W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee has just approved the use of CC-BY as the license for the
HTML Working Group and as an experiment to determine whether to use that license for other
W3C specifications. Since Apache members participate in HTML development and use that W3C
specification in our projects, we should add CC-BY to the Apache list of approved third-party
> /Larry
> ********** Here is what the W3C announcement said:
> "Based on extensive discussions, the Director has decided to pursue the experiment with
CC-BY. The Director's view is that:
>    * Despite concerns from some developers that it is not sufficiently
>      liberal, CC-BY satisfies the key requirement of permitting the
>      creation of derivative works.
>    * A license with no attribution requirement, such as CC0, would
>      not support other important W3C and community aims, as it could
>      contribute to confusion rather than interoperability of the Web
>      platform.

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