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Subject: Re: [opendocument-users] Where to send suggestions for changing thelicense?

Fascinating.  You've raised a number of very interesting points, IMO.

Meantime (searching for the discrepancy between "741" found occurrences
of "Copyright" and the "737" pages, I found the "Notices" section in
Appendix I. Notices.  Maybe that's based upon an older-style template --
I'll ask.

It occurs to me that if you wanted to make an essential "verbatim" copy
of an OASIS spec, annotated as unofficial [you say: "clearly marked as
unofficial] there should be no problem.  That's my initial opinion, of course,
and not any official judgment.  If you add the gloss "unofficial,"
you will have produced a derivative work that needs to be
labeled so.  In that connection, why should it be a problem if
you change fonts or margins?  Surely formatting changes are less
significant than substantive content changes...

I can imagine you taking the HTML version and creating a
hyperlinked and annotated version, like the "Annotated XML Specification":


In so doing, you would be creating link icons, frames, and other
devices.  The choice of "font" would be rather inconsequential,
as far as I can see.

As to commercial distribution of derivative works: I know of no
OASIS policy prohibiting that practice. I once saw a collection
of print copies for some of the (OASIS) ebXML specifications,
and I think they were sold.  I've never heard that it's a
problem so long as attribution is made, and other guidelines
for derivative works are followed, per the "Notices".

As I recall, some of the W3C specifications are similarly
printed on paper and sold, maybe as translations -- I forget.

Apart from those (private, personal, not-official) comments:
I agree with your requirements about distributing documents
that are not encumbered by licensing restrictions.  I always
find it disconcerting when I see an ISO standard with a
warning like this:

"This PDF file may contain embedded typefaces. In accordance
with Adobe's licensing policy, this file may be printed or
viewed but shall not be edited unless the typefaces which
are embedded are licensed to and installed on the computer
performing the editing. In downloading this file, parties
accept therein the responsibility of not infringing Adobe's
licensing policy."

If I were creating a derivative work and distributing it
as a PDF, I would not want to be forced to use that
language, or to suggest that the user is put in legal
jeopardy by some (computer-driven) act that could be
characterized as an "edit" operation.

For that reason, and several others, I think the normative
version of an OASIS Standard (or other specification) should
be the editable (native code) format, which has no
licensing restrictions as to fonts or any other technology,
other than the OASIS copyright terms.  OASIS TC Process
requires that specifications be published in "editable source"
as well as in XHTML and PDF:


"TC Working Drafts may be in any format (i.e. produced by any application).
All TC-approved versions of documents (i.e. Committee Drafts, Public
Review Drafts, and Committee Specifications) must be submitted to the TC's
document repository in the editable source, XHTML, and PDF formats. Any
links published by the TC shall be to the XHTML and/or PDF formats stored
in the TC's document repository."

Therefore, one should always be able to start with the
"editable source" (MS-Word, ODT, DITA-markup, DocBook XML,
TEI XML format, etc.) and use that as a base.

* note that XHTML is sometimes == editable source
* as to "links" being made to the XHTML and/or PDF formats,
  I've never understood the rationale, and for use on the
  Web (linking to inner-document locations), I would
  naturally want to use an (X)HTML hyperlink to the
  XHTML version.  It may be that linking into ODT and
  Word and PDF is possible -- e.g., from an (X)HTML
  document ANCHOR href="" into the guts of an
  ODT/Word/PDF, actioned from within a typical
  browser -- but I can't recall seeing that.


Robin Cover

On Sat, 17 Feb 2007, J.B. Nicholson-Owens wrote:

> Robin Cover wrote:
> > I just looked at the specification (PDF, CS1 as balloted), and concur that
> > the copyright status of the document is not clearly described.  I'm sure
> > this will be corrected in the final OS version.  I'll convey your
> > message to the appropriate Staff at OASIS, but you can also send a
> > comment to the TC (eds)
> Thanks for your helpful response.
> Regarding the copyright notices, now that I read the additional text you
> quoted, I've got two requests:
> 1. Make the copyright notices consistent.
> This is what you've already addressed.
> 2. Give readers more rights.
> Specifications need to be altered by readers to do a variety of things
> beyond translation.  For example, I want to change:
> - the fonts used to only use fonts licensed under a free software
> license (I mean "free" in the sense of freedom; the freedoms to run,
> inspect, share, and modify) so when I generate a PDF copy I'm not
> distributing font data (even subsets) that I'm not licensed to distribute,
> - the margins to print the spec on fewer pieces of paper and to make the
> line numbers more easily visible (which will require repagination),
> - every code section (for example, the RelaxNG sections) to be broken
> with line-breaks instead of paragraph-breaks as they are now.  This will
> make them obey the paragraph settings to keep the lines together as much
> as possible.
> If I need to refer to a part of the spec, I can refer to "section 12" or
> a code line number, so it doesn't matter what page section 12 is on in
> my copy.  I'm fine with pointing people to the official spec for any
> work that requires that text, but I think we should all be allowed to do
> other things so long as our derivative spec is clearly marked as
> unofficial (including commercially).
> > On this, note the wildly popular and successful Creative Commons:
> > http://creativecommons.org/
> >
> > "Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists,
> > artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms
> > they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from
> > "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."
> If you pick a CC license (there are many of them and no common baseline
> of freedoms granted across all of their licenses), I'd urge picking one
> that allows derivative works and commercial distribution.  As I
> understand it, OASIS is interested in popularity more than making sure
> nobody makes money from distributing copies of the spec.
> Thanks again for your informative response.
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