[uf-discuss] Licensing of Microformats

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Fri Dec 8 12:09:12 PST 2006

ebay have replied to my suggestion that they adopt uFs, using what I
suspect is standard wording:

        Thank you for taking the time to send us your idea related to


        We are always pleased to hear from members of the eBay community
        and welcome their comments regarding our services. I assure you
        that we are committed to the continuous improvement of our
        website to make it both a fun and safe place to trade. However,
        please note that our company policy does not allow us to accept
        or consider ideas or proposals, other than those that we have
        specifically requested.

        Please understand that this policy is intended to avoid the
        possibility of future misunderstandings when new products,
        services or features developed internally by eBay employees
        might be similar or even identical to your idea or proposal.

        Please note that eBay has no obligations of any kind (whether
        contractual or otherwise) with respect to the ideas and
        proposals that you have sent to us. eBay does not consider such
        ideas and proposals to be confidential or proprietary. eBay will
        not be liable for any disclosure or use of your ideas and
        proposals and is under no obligation to compensate you in
        relation to them.

        If, having read and understood the above, you would like eBay to
        consider your ideas and proposals further, please use our
        "Sending Suggestions to eBay" page

It seems to me that the current position on IP is unclear, or at least
not clearly expressed. For instance, the hCard page on the 'wiki' says:


        This specification is (C) 2004-2006 by the authors. However, the
        authors intend to submit this specification to a standards body
        with a liberal copyright/licensing policy such as the GMPG
        (http://gmpg.org/), IETF (http://ietf.org/), and/or W3C
        (http://w3.org). Anyone wishing to contribute should read their
        copyright principles, policies and licenses (e.g. the GMPG
        Principles (http://gmpg.org/principles)) and agree to them,
        including licensing of all contributions under all required
        licenses (e.g. CC-by 1.0
        (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/) and later), before


        This specification is subject to a royalty free patent policy,
        e.g. per the W3C Patent Policy
        (http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20040205/), and IETF
        RFC3667 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3667.txt) & RFC3668

which is more about future intentions than the current position but
there appears to be no clear statement that "this format is available
under license X".

I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that there should be such a statement,
either for each individual format, or collectively, on a page to which
people with concerns like eBay's may be directed.

[I'll put a pointer to this post on the issues page on the 'wiki'.]

Andy Mabbett
                Say "NO!" to compulsory ID Cards:  <http://www.no2id.net/>

                Free Our Data:  <http://www.freeourdata.org.uk>

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