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   General Public License for DTD and Schema

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A couple weeks back, I mentioned a General Public License that I have been
drafting with the input of a few others specific to DTD and Schema.

The GPL has been posted at the following link and I would apprecaite any
comments you have on it.


Somone recently asked me to compare it to the OASIS intellectual property
policy.  My answer is below.  Your comments on this would be appreciated as


> What is/are the differences between the OASIS license
> http://www.oasis-open.org/who/intellectualproperty.shtmland and the "GPL"
> one proposed by the AOC?

This is a good question.

If you categorize provisions as (1) general and (2) specific to the
technology, I would compare the two in this way.

(1) The OASIS license has more verbiage (i.e., total words) in the "general"
category.  Nevertheless, my opinion is that the intent is the same -- i.e.,
to provide specifications royalty free, perpetually, and on
non-discriminatory terms.

(2) In the "specific to the technology" category, the <xmlLegal> GPL does
not conflict with the OASIS license, but goes into more detail.  This detail
is directly relevant, and very important in my view, to the development of
industry-specific XML schema.

The <xmlLegal> GPL distinguishes between:

1. Original or Licensed Works
2. Derviative Works
2. Extended Works
3. Versioned Works

Derivative Works are not permitted.

Extended Works are permitted, provided that Extensions are published back to
the owners/developers of the Original/Licensed Works.

Versioned Works are permitted, provided that the same process or procedure
is used to create new versions and/or that the owners/developers of the
Original/Licensed works agree on a different process or procedure.

(Please see the GPL for more detail.).

The OASIS license does not make these distinctions.

The purpose of making these distinctions is to avoid, if possible, the
browser wars or the Sun/Microsoft java wars, but to allow (indeed,
encourage) innovation via published extensions between versions.

Consider the following example.

In the browser wars, Netscape implemented the HTML specification
faster/before Microsoft and implemented the specification more vigorously
(i.e., complied better with the standard).  Microsoft had/has a loose
implementation in IE.  For example, at the time (perhaps still), in
Netscape, if the closing tag on a table element was not present, then the
table would not render.  However, in Microsoft IE, the same table, without
the closing table tag, would render.  The result is that IE customers
thought that IE was the better browser (because it rendered the table), and
that Netscape was the poor browser (because it did not render the table).
In fact, Netscape had implemented the standard better and, in this respect,
could be seen as more socically responsible.  The user simply wrote sloppy
HTML.  Great for the user.  **Disaterous** for interoperabilty.  Microsoft
engaged in similar anti-social conduct when it added new elements to HTML
unilaterally and without warning or discussion.  The result is that
Microsoft built a "better" (user friendly) browser for its customers, but
essentially "hijacked" the core HTML spec (i.e., "embrace and extend")
leaving its competitors at an unfair disadvantage.

The <xmlLegal> GPL distinguishes between derivative work and extensions
through the use of namespaces.  Thus, a unilateral change to a schema
(distinguished by its namespace) is not allowed.  However, one can create a
different schema in a separate/distinct namespace and mix it with an
original schema, provided that one (a) follows normalization rules (i.e.,
schema best practices -- so people don't have to deal with other people's
sloppy schema) and (b) publish the schema to the developers of the original
work (so everyone knows how to validate when faced with an xml instance with
that has "know" elemented mixed with "foreign" elements).  Thus, "embrace
and extend" (i.e., reasonable innovation) is allowed, but it is allowed in
managed way, which is only fair considering the time, energy, and subject
matter expertise contributed by the original owners/developers.



Winchel "Todd" Vincent III
Attorney and Technical Consultant
Project Director, E-CT-Filing Project
Georgia State University College of Law
US Office: 404.651.4297
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Email    : winchel@mindspring.com
Web      : http://e-ct-file.gsu.edu/


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