[uf-new] Legal implications of using Microformats

Brian Suda brian.suda at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 08:12:14 PDT 2007

i suggest that if this is not a discussion about a specific new
microformat that we move this thread to the 'discuss-list' where other
people might be able to give their thoughts.


On 4/27/07, Guy Fraser <gfraser at adaptavist.com> wrote:
> Hiya,
> Manu Sporny wrote:
> > Would the mandatory placement of all examples, formats, brainstorming,
> > proposals, and drafts under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
> > 3.0 License go towards solving that problem?
> >
> > * It would allow for the commercial and non-commercial use of the
> >   format.
> > * It would ensure that people could contribute without worrying about
> >   copyright assertions from other authors.
> >
> Uhm, not really.
> 1. Share alike is still a problem for some corporates. This is the whole
> reason why a growing number of organisations now run screaming when they
> see LGPL, GPL, cc-*
> 2. Um, possibly. But again, why not just release under New BSD or
> similar certified open source license. New BSD still requires
> attribution which everyone is fine with IMHO. Having each uF under a New
> BSD license and having a contributors page should make everything
> crystal clear and very tempting for adoption by big companies.
> > That coupled with a patent statement on the Microformat stating that
> > full disclosure has been performed by all authors and contributors to a
> > Microformat. Authors are not allowed to contribute to Microformats if
> > their organization holds any sort of patent covering their proposals.
> >
> a) Who would own the patent?
> b) What's to stop them from changing the licensing of the patent? (the
> patent in itself is not a licensing scheme, it's a mechanism to prevent
> others from using the work without license)
> c) Why would I contribute to someone else's patent, especially when I
> don't see the point of the patent in the first place?
> > The Microformats community could even put up a terms of use asserting
> > that anybody that is going to author a Microformat must agree to the
> > previous two requirements before contributing.
> >
> Again, if things were released under New BSD or similar certified open
> source license, there would be no problem. "Everything you put on this
> site will be released under New BSD license - if you don't like that,
> don't do it".
> I'm still waiting for someone to properly address these 2 key issues:
> 1. Why not just release the existing uF stuff as certified open source?
> Completely remove licensing issues from the mix?
> 2. Why not just remove the patent statement - if it's certified open
> source is there any need to patent it? The *only* reasons I'm aware of
> for patenting something are a) stop other people working in that field
> and b) make money from licensing.
> If the uF community is wanting to have their work mass adopted and are
> not looking for financial gain, why not address these two fundamental
> issues above?
> *puts flack jacket on and hides behind a tree*
> Guy
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brian suda

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