Month: December 2007

Making open standards as open as possible — required public domain licensing of all microformats wiki contributions

Today we are changing the microformats wiki to require that all contributions be placed into the public domain. This means that any page created, or any content added to the microformats wiki from here forward is placed into the public domain for maximum possible reuse.

We take these steps to make the open standards as open as possible.

Five months ago Rohit Khare introduced the Voluntary Public Domain declaration to the microformats wiki which was quickly adopted by all the admins and the majority of active contributors. The end result is that, much of the microformats wiki, including several microformats themselves have already been placed into the public domain.

What you can do to help immediately

  1. Use and advocate the valid, interoperable use and implementation of open standards that are as open as possible (including microformats where appropriate).
  2. If you are a member of the microformats community, edit your user page to include the Creative Commons Public Domain Declaration template (CC-PD declaration) to explicitly place all your past contributions into the public domain. If your user page already has the voluntary public domain declaration, upgrade it to use the CC-PD declaration.
  3. Encourage other microformats contributors to also add the CC-PD declaration to their user pages.

Moving forward

Our goal is to put all of the wiki into the public domain. We will be taking the following steps to do so.

  1. We are encouraging everyone who has contributed to microformats to explicitly place their past contributions into the public domains as noted above. We are going to give folks a month (until the end of January 2008) to do so because we’d like to keep as much of the contributions as possible. Those who do not want to release their past contributions to the microformats wiki into the public domain may simply remove such contributions, or indicate that preference on their user page(s). Editors will take care to look through page histories and remove past contributions from users who have indicated that preference.
  2. Starting February 1st, primary editors and authors of pages should start cleaning wiki pages created before today of non-public-domain content, and then submitting them for review. After reviewing them, one of the admins will add the Creative Commons Public Domain License template (CC-PD license) to the bottom of the page.
  3. When all pages are new or cleaned, the admins will move the text of the CC-PD license to the global footer on the wiki, thus indicating that the contents of the entire wiki is in the public domain.


We are here because of the great work that others have done before us. The following building blocks and good examples have all contributed to and inspired the steps we have taken today:

By embracing open standards development in the public domain, we hope other standards bodies and communities who choose to call their efforts “open” are encouraged by the example we set here today to do so as well.

The importance of open development of standards for data formats cannot be overstated. Following posts will expand on how open standards are essential for open content, , and data longevity.

Tantek Çelik

Related background and history