[uf-new] Legal implications of using Microformats

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Thu May 10 13:58:28 PDT 2007

On Apr 27, 2007, at 9:04 AM, Guy Fraser 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-*

I'm certainly an outsider to the corporate world, but this has not  
been my impression. Please give us more specific reasons and examples  
so that we can avoid getting the same reaction from such organizations.

> 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.
> ...
> 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".

IANAL, but AFAICT the BSD license, whether new or old is only suited  
for source code, not for documentation. Since we're talking about the  
licensing of specifications, not code, I'm not sure a BSD license  
would be appropriate.

> 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?

Making material open source does not completely remove licensing.  
Open source still requires licensing. Public Domain is the only  
situation I know of that would eliminate licensing (but that's only  
in the US, I believe other nations have more complicated definitions  
of PD).


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