[uf-discuss] Voluntary Public Domain declarations now enabled on the wiki

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...
Thanks, Rohit]

   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 [6] (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 [10]).

   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 [11], 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 [13]),
   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 [14] 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 [17], which was suggested on the #microformats
   IRC channel on 21 June 2007 [18] by the user unfo [19]. Microformats
   community co-founder Eric Meyer's placement of the microformat-based S5
   slide presentation system into the Public Domain on 2005-07-28 [20] 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 [21] image also suggested this approach. There's an FAQ about
   multi-licensing on Wikipedia [22] 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 [24], 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

   6. http://microformats.org/wiki/microformats-issues
  10. http://microformats.org/blog/2007/04/19/microformats-the-book/
  10a. http://microformats.org/wiki/governance#Admins
  11. http://microformats.org/wiki/Template:MicroFormatCopyrightStatement2004
  13. http://consortiuminfo.org/laws/
  14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/73921563@N00/639108451
  15. http://simplebits.com/
  17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Public_domain_release
  18. http://rbach.priv.at/Microformats-IRC/2007-06-21#T000102
  19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Unforgettableid
  20. http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2005/07/28/s5-11/
  21. http://microformats.org/wiki/semacode
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Ram-Man/MLFAQ
  24. http://microformats.org/wiki/User:Rohit

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list