[uf-new] Legal implications of using Microformats

Guy Fraser gfraser at adaptavist.com
Fri Apr 27 08:24:19 PDT 2007

Brian Suda wrote:
> This specification is (C) 2004-2007 by the authors. However, the
> authors intend to submit this specification to a standards ...
> I think that pretty clearly explains what you are agreeing to when you
> participating.

It clearly states the intent. Intent does not guarantee what will 
happen. Intent can change at any time. As such, the only thing that 
those statements at the top of pages clearly state to me is:

a) This is a copyrighted work, but we're not sure which copyright 
statement will be used yet, but let's just use a CC until we decide

b) This work is going to be patented, and here's a few examples of 
patents that we *could* use, but we might not use those.

c) If you submit work, it'll be under our copyright and our patent, 
unless you release something under strange copyright/patent notices 
yourself to protect yourself from our strange copyright/patent notices 

Dude, that's so wrong. :p I've never seen a community where people put 
that sort of stuff in to their work. It's like a legal version of the 
game of Russian Roulette! "Here's something you can use freely, but it 
might be under a copyright and it might get patented but there's no 
guarantee if it will or what the actual copyright/patent will be if it 
does and we're not even going to make it clear who owns it. Now, hold 
this microformat to your head and pull the trigger. Good luck!" ;)

If you want to release under a patented and commercial license, just say 
so. If you want to make the work freely available, but with attribution, 
use a certified OS license like New BSD and do away with the talk of 

> If you have questions/comments we could certainly look into spinning
> off a new page on the wiki to explain this better.

The wiki is the best place to hide things :p I've never understood how a 
wiki with no automated page index could be used to store information?


1. Why not just release under New BSD or other certified OS license?

2. Why the talk of patents?

There must be some fundamental reason why you don't want to release as 
open source. Patents are a complete PITA to get - why would you spend 
all that time and money? Everyone is still dodging these two fundamental 
questions. I'm starting to wonder why... :p


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