[uf-new] XFN - Professionals Network microformat
gfraser at adaptavist.com
Thu May 10 16:33:29 PDT 2007
Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
> Wow... banks are certainly different.
> Most the corporations I've dealt with have GPL stuff all over the place.
> (I've even had some clients seek out GPL stuff.)
> Just out of curiousity, why do banks (you know of) have a problem with
I was just using banks as a reference because I've come across these
issues in that sector. It's mainly anyone who deals with software and a
growing number of banks and other companies have in-house development
teams. If they integrate microformats in to their systems, or in any way
become dependant on them, licensing and patenting become really big
issues. If you've got a key software system or process that's dependant
on microformats then you find you didn't understand the license properly
(clause 6 in LGPL, from vague memory, is a good example) then you find
yourself experiencing a great deal of pain. Most companies are unaware
of the sorts of issues that can arise, until it's too late and they find
themselves facing lawsuits.
Lots of things released under GPL also have a commercial license to get
round this problem. Again, here is an issue - if there was a commercial
license for microformats then who exactly would the money go to? Would
each contributor for the microformat in question get a share of the
revenues? How would the size of share be determined? Who would take the
initial payment and how would they be audited?
Are you seriously telling me that *any* organisation would seek out
something with these credentials:
* No clear owner - could be microformats.org, could be the authors, some
company like Technorati, etc. Nobody really knows.
* Only a statement of intent regarding the copyright - "we might use a
license like this" - yeah, that fills me with confidence
* A statement that it might be under a royalty free (which is not
necessarily cost free) patent, but then again it might be under a normal
patent and commercially exploited as much as possible.
The list goes on and on. I'm still utterly amazed that people are
staring this issue in the face and rather than dealing with it they are
trying to brush it under the carpet. It's even more worrying that there
is a community here who are devoting some of their time and energy in to
microformats that are ultimately going to make other people money. Crazy
Still, there's nothing stopping people setting up their own independent
initiatives to replace microformats with something more "open" and with
far less risk submarine patents ;)
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