[uf-discuss] Voluntary Public Domain declarations now enabled on
khare at alumni.caltech.edu
khare at alumni.caltech.edu
Tue Jul 17 16:15:53 PDT 2007
[This email is a current copy of the wiki page at
Category:public_domain_license ; I wanted to prompt discussion here as
well as fold substantive feedback back into that wiki page, of course...
By adding the public domain license template to your user profile page,
you can ensure that your contributions to the microformats.org
community wiki and mailing lists are available as openly as possible.
As more users choose to adopt it, much of the wiki's content will
become available under clear, free terms.
You can add it to your profile by 1) logging in, 2) clicking on your
name at the very top of the web page (the username link on the right
side has a little "person" icon), 3) clicking Edit (or ctrl-E/alt-E),
4) pasting the following text into the bottom of your page, and 5)
clicking Save (ctrl-S/alt-S);
Why Public Domain?
In the recent past, several kinds of legal concerns have been
expressed, notably in the Legal Issues and IP sections of
microformats-issues  (which in turn points to some
mailing list posts [7-9].
One way to address some of these concerns is for individual
contributors to decide for themselves if they'd like to put their own
individual contributions to the wiki, mailing lists, blog, and IRC
channel into the public domain. Inspired by Wikipedia, there's a new
template that you can add to your profile to indicate your support for
this option, which ensures the broadest possible reuse of your
contributions in future discussions, specifications, and in other media
(such as a book ).
What difference will this make? If enough contributors eventually
support this, entire pages of the wiki will become public-domain works,
not just their individual snippets. All of the admins [10a] have already
signed up for this, for example. If any other person or company has
any qualms about citing our documents, this clarifies the legal
situation considerably: no license is even required any more. Note that
this can only affect copyright -- patents are another matter entirely,
but at least building a thriving body of knowledge around microformats
is the best response, by establishing "prior art."
At the moment this experiment does not (yet) supercede the boilerplate
at Template:MicroFormatCopyrightStatement2004 , which may be updated
for some pages when and if all of their contributors choose to adopt
this convention. -- Rohit 2007-07-17
Unlike other efforts that might come to mind, it's important to note
that microformats are not "standards," microformats.org is not a
"standards body" (legal sense ),
and that the microformats admins are not a "legal entity" (and nor do
they have any official links to CommerceNet or Technorati, two
companies that were influential early sponsors). For that matter,
there's no bank account or any other financial standing; if you see a
hip new microformats sticker  out there, it's a private donation
(in that case, by Dan Cederholm).
The original inspiration for this experiment was Wikipedia's own
public domain release , which was suggested on the #microformats
IRC channel on 21 June 2007  by the user unfo . Microformats
community co-founder Eric Meyer's placement of the microformat-based S5
slide presentation system into the Public Domain on 2005-07-28  set
an important early good example, just over a month after the launch of
microformats.org. Recently, Andy Mabbett's contribution of a sample
Semacode  image also suggested this approach. There's an FAQ about
multi-licensing on Wikipedia  for more information, but do note that
it does not necessarily apply to microformats.org directly, since this
isn't a site governed by GFDL, for example.
Point of Contact
While community members are generally encouraged to discuss matters
openly, if you have a specific legal questions, please contact
Rohit Khare , who has volunteered to be the initial point of contact
for the administrators, before starting a discussion on the public,
archived mailing lists, IRC, or wiki, since there can be occasionally
be legal implications for statements published on the microformats.org
More information about the microformats-discuss