Velocity Reviews - Computer Hardware Reviews

Velocity Reviews > Newsgroups > Programming > XML > Is there a patent on XML itself?

Reply
Thread Tools

Is there a patent on XML itself?

 
 
Simon Brooke
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-04-2007
in message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Grant Robertson
('(E-Mail Removed)') wrote:

> I want to give it away for free. But, in order to do that, I have to
> ensure that it will stay free.


Seriously, if you want that, the solution is one of:

The GPL <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html> - not designed for this
sort of thing, but with real legal teeth.

GNU Free Documentation License <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html> -
designed for this sort of thing, and with the firepower of the FSF behind
it.

Creative Commons <URL:http://creativecommons.org/> - pick-n-mix licensing
which should do more or less what you want but legally less tested.

--
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; Usenet: like distance learning without the learning.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Grant Robertson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-04-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> in message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Grant Robertson
> ('(E-Mail Removed)') wrote:
>
> > I want to give it away for free. But, in order to do that, I have to
> > ensure that it will stay free.

>
> Seriously, if you want that, the solution is one of:
>
> The GPL <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html> - not designed for this
> sort of thing, but with real legal teeth.


I have been considering this. I haven't had time to really study either
GPL v2 or GPL v3 to see if it would really meet my needs. Remember, a
standard is not code. So many aspects of GPL would not apply


> GNU Free Documentation License <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html> -
> designed for this sort of thing, and with the firepower of the FSF behind
> it.
> Creative Commons <URL:http://creativecommons.org/> - pick-n-mix licensing
> which should do more or less what you want but legally less tested.


Nor is a standard simple documentation. Neither of these would apply. I
have been told by an IP expert that copyright only protects the text of
the code not the algorithm. In this case, it would only protect the text
of the documentation of the standard, not the ideas and principles of the
standard.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Grant Robertson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-05-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> in message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Grant Robertson
> ('(E-Mail Removed)') wrote:
>
> > I want to give it away for free. But, in order to do that, I have to
> > ensure that it will stay free.

>
> Seriously, if you want that, the solution is one of:
>
> The GPL <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html> - not designed for this
> sort of thing, but with real legal teeth.


I finally found a great reference about this issue, and it supports your
suggestions. Take a look at...

http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-de...8/pdf00000.pdf

....paying particular attention to section V.D. starting on page 9. This
paper specifically addresses my concerns about as exactly as if I had
written them myself. The paper is written as a report from an XML.org
working group called Legal-XML which was formed to create XML standards
for the transmission of legal documents. Heck, if those guys don't know
about protecting the intellectual property of XML standards then no one
does.

So, I guess this about settles it. My notion of patenting the standard,
though legally possible, was unnecessary. It appears that *a* GPL will do
just fine. I don't know if the GNU GPL will exactly meet my needs but at
least I now know I won't have to go to the expense of getting a patent.

Thanks for all your suggestions and patience. Many get pretty religious
on this issue and won't take the time to explain themselves civilly.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Simon Brooke
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-05-2007
in message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Grant Robertson
('(E-Mail Removed)') wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> (E-Mail Removed) says...
>> in message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Grant
>> Robertson ('(E-Mail Removed)') wrote:
>>
>> > I want to give it away for free. But, in order to do that, I have to
>> > ensure that it will stay free.

>>
>> Seriously, if you want that, the solution is one of:
>>
>> The GPL <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html> - not designed for
>> this sort of thing, but with real legal teeth.

>
> I finally found a great reference about this issue, and it supports your
> suggestions. Take a look at...
>
> http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-de...8/pdf00000.pdf
>
> ...paying particular attention to section V.D. starting on page 9. This
> paper specifically addresses my concerns about as exactly as if I had
> written them myself. The paper is written as a report from an XML.org
> working group called Legal-XML which was formed to create XML standards
> for the transmission of legal documents. Heck, if those guys don't know
> about protecting the intellectual property of XML standards then no one
> does.
>
> So, I guess this about settles it. My notion of patenting the standard,
> though legally possible, was unnecessary. It appears that *a* GPL will do
> just fine. I don't know if the GNU GPL will exactly meet my needs but at
> least I now know I won't have to go to the expense of getting a patent.


There is only one GPL - the G stands for 'GNU', which in turn stands
for 'Gnu is Not UNIX'. There are, however, different versions of the GPL.
V2 is the one in common current use and is so legally fierce that no-one
has yet dared seriously challenge it in court. V3 is currently in draft
and promises to be even fiercer.

FWIW I release all the code I make my living from under GPL V2.

--
(E-Mail Removed) (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

There are no messages. The above is just a random stream of
bytes. Any opinion or meaning you find in it is your own creation.

 
Reply With Quote
 
Richard Tobin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-05-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Simon Brooke <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> I want to give it away for free. But, in order to do that, I have to
>> ensure that it will stay free.


>Seriously, if you want that, the solution is one of:
>
>The GPL <URL:http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html> - not designed for this
>sort of thing, but with real legal teeth.


Regardless of whether the GPL is appropriate for protecting a
specification, the OP apparently wants to prevent others from
extending his work, which is contrary to the spirit of the GPL. While
I sympathise with the aim of preventing the likes of Microsoft from
"embracing and extending", doing this by restricting what ordinary
users can do would certainly put me off using it.

A less extreme approach is to have the definition require that
non-conformant documents not be accepted. This is what XML does, so
that (for example) an extension that allowed </> end tags would not be
able to claim conformance with the XML specification.

-- Richard
--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Grant Robertson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-06-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> There is only one GPL - the G stands for 'GNU', which in turn stands
> for 'Gnu is Not UNIX'. There are, however, different versions of the GPL.
> V2 is the one in common current use and is so legally fierce that no-one
> has yet dared seriously challenge it in court. V3 is currently in draft
> and promises to be even fiercer.


I figured out that every one refers to "The General Public License" as if
it were the only general public license, so I guess that term has become
a de facto name for the "GNU General Public License." So the "G" in
"GPL" stands for "General" not "GNU." The "G" in "GNU" stands for GNU. If
you don't believe me just check out www.gnu.org. Anyway that is a minor
point.

I have also been doing a lot of research lately. Many commentators,
especially lawyers in the software licensing field working FOR open
source causes, seem to feel that all of the open source licenses (to use
the more general term) are on a bit of shaky ground exactly because the
concept has never been tested in court. The shrink-wrap licenses have
been upheld in court but that may be because they are on paper and the
software installation disk is a physical object. Enforcing a license
against someone who never entered into a legal contract just because they
modified some code hasn't been tested as far as I could find. If you have
some case law to cite I would love to see it. Keep in mind, I am not
arguing against open source licensing. I am just saying it may or may not
have as many teeth as advocates give it credit for.

After having read through a couple dozen licenses, the GPL does not seem
to be nearly as accurate of a legal document as many others I have seen.
Precise legal phrasing is there for a reason, just like clean coding
practices are there for a reason. Even if it looks the same to non-
professionals, it may not work out as well in the end. With all the non-
precise language and excessive explanations and examples in the GPL, they
have actually left MORE room for misinterpretation. That is just the way
it works with legal documents. No, I am not a lawyer, but I have heard
and read this point explained by many lawyers.

I personally suspect that the major companies like Microsoft haven't
directly challenged the GPL or any other open source license because they
fear it would invalidate their shrink-wrap licenses. After all, no one
signed anything and people really just made up the idea of claiming that
someone entered into a contract just by opening a package. I think they
made it up hoping it would get traction just from common use. Eventually
it did but, in the beginning, many doubted their legitimacy.

It would probably be better if there were a legal challenge to the GPL.
Then the open source community would either have set a precedent, if GPL
won, or learned what needs to be fixed, if GPL lost. I don't think a loss
would kill open source. It would just teach people that they can't just
make up these licenses will-nilly and expect them to hold up in court.
They must get real lawyers involved and create legally precise documents.


> FWIW I release all the code I make my living from under GPL V2.


Now I know I am going way off topic for this newsgroup but I am curious.
The money you make from writing that code is that paid to you by a
company? So, if you are working for a company then it is the company that
is releasing the software under GPL, correct. So, you are making a living
just writing code, whether or not that code is profitable. It could be
that your company is loosing money hand over fist because they haven't
figured out how to make money using the open source model. Or they are
making a fortune on support. I don't know. But in that case, you are
making money from writing code, not from releasing software under GPL.

On the other hand, if you are working for yourself, could you please tell
me how you are actually making a living by writing code and giving it
away. I'm not arguing. I am genuinely curious.

I suspect that the open source business model can only work for companies
who are big enough to do the marketing it takes to convince people to pay
for support. Even Linus Torvolds has to have a job somewhere where
someone is willing to pay him money to work on Linux. As an individual,
even he isn't "big" enough to make money releasing code as open source.
Again, not arguing against. Just making an observation.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Grant Robertson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-06-2007
In article <ev31hf$1mgu$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Regardless of whether the GPL is appropriate for protecting a
> specification, the OP apparently wants to prevent others from
> extending his work, which is contrary to the spirit of the GPL. While
> I sympathise with the aim of preventing the likes of Microsoft from
> "embracing and extending", doing this by restricting what ordinary
> users can do would certainly put me off using it.


Actually, I am trying to keep anyone from extending the standard OUTSIDE
OF THE OFFICIAL STANDARDS PROCESS.

Please see http://www.opensource.org/osr-rationale on the Open software
Initiative's web site. About a third of the way down the page you will
find the following quote.

"Some seek to burnish the perception of their products or technologies by
claiming that they implement "open standards" while at the same time
adding extensions that are not part of the standard. Others go farther,
claiming that their unique implementations are themselves "open
standards", a reversal of standards logic. The result is that the
(usually undefined) term "open standard" has become more of an
aspirational term than a defining term, a problem that we seek to
rectify."

Other documents on their site underscore the importance of ensuring that
any standard claiming to be "open" must work to ensure that third parties
can not extend the standard in proprietary ways. Remember, a standard is
not software. If you add features to software then release it for others
to use and modify then everyone still has access to the old software. But
if some big company like MicroSoft fragments a standard by releasing non-
complying, proprietary software and force feeding that software to the
public then they can kill the standard.

So, "ordinary users" can always suggest and work for changes in the
standard. Just as one can do with all the existing internet standards.
But they will not be allowed to fragment the standard by releasing non-
conforming software or content and claiming it is yet another "version"
of the standard.

> A less extreme approach is to have the definition require that
> non-conformant documents not be accepted. This is what XML does, so
> that (for example) an extension that allowed </> end tags would not be
> able to claim conformance with the XML specification.


This is exactly what I plan to do when I design my XML schema.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Richard Tobin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-06-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Grant Robertson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> Regardless of whether the GPL is appropriate for protecting a
>> specification, the OP apparently wants to prevent others from
>> extending his work, which is contrary to the spirit of the GPL. While
>> I sympathise with the aim of preventing the likes of Microsoft from
>> "embracing and extending", doing this by restricting what ordinary
>> users can do would certainly put me off using it.


[...]

>So, "ordinary users" can always suggest and work for changes in the
>standard. Just as one can do with all the existing internet standards.
>But they will not be allowed to fragment the standard by releasing non-
>conforming software or content and claiming it is yet another "version"
>of the standard.


Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
claiming that it's a version of it, but I don't think you can - or
should be able to - stop people from writing software that implements
extensions to your standard.

The author of the 1960s programming language TRAC tried to use
trademark law to control the language, but extended versions were
produced under different names.

-- Richard
--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Joseph Kesselman
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-06-2007
Richard Tobin wrote:
> Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
> claiming that it's a version of it


Which is what Sun did with Java; they enforced that against Microsoft
when the MS version diverged too strongly from the spec.

If you're serious about seeking legal protection, I ***STRONGLY***
recommend you pay the money to hire a lawyer to advise you. Free legal
advice found on the Internet is generally not worth more than you paid
for it.


--
Joe Kesselman / Beware the fury of a patient man. -- John Dryden
 
Reply With Quote
 
Grant Robertson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-06-2007
In article <ev56e0$2c9p$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
> claiming that it's a version of it, but I don't think you can - or
> should be able to - stop people from writing software that implements
> extensions to your standard.


Then you would be indisagreement with the Open Source Initiative and most
of the experts on the open standards field. Only by protecting a standard
can it ever be a "standard" at all. Fragmentation is what killed UNIX.
Linus Torvold's tight rein on what can be considered part of the kernal
of Linux is what makes it successful.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
If A Patent Is A Monopoly, Then A Patent Pool Is A Cartel Lawrence D'Oliveiro NZ Computing 1 10-31-2010 04:23 AM
He Who Lives By The Software Patent, Dies By The Software Patent Lawrence D'Oliveiro NZ Computing 1 08-31-2010 08:35 AM
Is There Such A Thing As A Good Software Patent? Lawrence D'Oliveiro NZ Computing 0 07-31-2010 07:34 AM
Who owns the patent for HTML, if there is one? Grant Robertson HTML 27 04-02-2007 08:33 PM
Microsoft patent on XML Word Processing Documents Cheetah NZ Computing 26 01-22-2004 09:46 AM



Advertisments