W3C Process Document

4 Dissemination and Intellectual Property Policies

The Team is responsible for managing communication within W3C and with the general public (e.g., news services, press releases, managing the Web site and access privileges, and managing calendars). Members SHOULD solicit review by the Team prior to issuing press releases about their work within W3C.

The Team makes every effort to ensure the availability of the following public information:

To keep the Members abreast of W3C meetings, workshops, and review deadlines, the Team provides them with a regular (e.g., weekly) news service and maintains a calendar [MEM3] of official W3C events. Members are encouraged to send schedule and event information to the Team for inclusion on this calendar.

4.1 Confidentiality Levels

There are three principal levels of access to information at the W3C Web site: public, Member-only, and Team-only.

While much information made available by W3C is public, "Member-only" information is available to authorized parties only, including representatives of Member organizations, invited experts, the Advisory Board, the TAG, and the Team. For example, the charter of some Working Groups may specify a Member-only confidentiality level for group proceedings.

"Team-only" information is available to the Team and other authorized parties.

Those authorized to access Member-only and Team-only information:

The Team MUST provide mechanisms to protect the confidentiality of Member-only information and ensure that authorized parties have proper access to this information. Documents SHOULD clearly indicate whether they require Member-only confidentiality. Individuals uncertain of the confidentiality level of a piece of information SHOULD contact the Team.

Advisory Committee representatives MAY authorize Member-only access to Member representatives and other individuals employed by the Member who are considered appropriate recipients. For instance, it is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee representative and other employees and official representatives of the organization to ensure that Member-only news announcements are distributed for internal use only within their organization. Information about Member mailing lists is available in the New Member Orientation.

4.1.1 Changing Confidentiality Level

As a benefit of membership, W3C provides some Team-only and Member-only channels for certain types of communication. For example, Advisory Committee representatives can send reviews to a Team-only channel. However, for W3C processes with a significant public component, such as the Recommendation Track process, it is also important for information that affects decision-making to be publicly available. The Team MAY need to communicate Team-only information to a Working Group or the public. Similarly, a Working Group whose proceedings are Member-only MUST make public information pertinent to the Recommendation Track process.

This document clearly indicates which information MUST be available to Members or the public, even though that information was initially communicated on Team-only or Member-only channels. Only the Team and parties authorized by the Team change the level of confidentiality of this information. When doing so:

  1. The Team MUST use a version of the information that was expressly provided by the author for the new confidentiality level. In Calls for Review and other similar messages, the Team SHOULD remind recipients to provide such alternatives.
  2. The Team MUST NOT attribute the version for the new confidentiality level to the author without the author's consent.
  3. If the author has not conveyed to the Team a version that is suitable for another confidentiality level, the Team MAY make available a version that reasonably communicates what is required, while respecting the original level of confidentiality, and without attribution to the original author.

4.2 Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy

Note: In May 2003, W3C approved a new patent policy. The IPR policy described in this section is unchanged since the previous Process Document and does not take the new patent policy into account. W3C expects to publish a new Process Document in the fourth quarter of 2003 that is aligned with the new patent policy.

Whenever possible, technical decisions SHOULD be made unencumbered by intellectual property right (IPR) claims. To this end, W3C discloses to the entire membership which organizations have made IPR claims about a particular technology, as well as the details of those claims where they have been provided. Individuals SHOULD immediately disclose any IPR claims they believe to be essential to implementing a Recommendation Track technical report. To disclose patent and IPR claims, individuals MUST send email to patent-issues@w3.org, which is an archived mailing list readable by Members and the Team. Individuals disclosing knowledge of IPR claims SHOULD copy the Team Contact responsible for a particular technology to ensure that the disclosure receives prompt consideration. Individuals MAY also copy other recipients.

Advisory Committee representatives are responsible for facilitating communication with IPR contacts in their organizations. When disclosing IPR claims, Member representatives SHOULD copy their Advisory Committee representative.

An IPR disclosure about a given subject includes the following language (appropriately completed):

I (do not) have personal knowledge of (any) IPR claims held by [organization] regarding [subject].

Whenever possible, a disclosure SHOULD provide detail about the claims.

Activity Proposals, announcements of group creation or extension, and other important announcements and Web pages SHOULD include reminders of this IPR policy.