International World Wide Web Consortium
1. Organization and Structure.
The purposes of the Consortium are to support the advancement of information
technology in the field of networking, graphics and user interfaces by
evolving the World Wide Web toward a true information infrastructure, and to
encourage cooperation in the industry through the promotion and development
of standard interfaces in the information environment known as the "World
Wide Web." MIT, INRIA and KEIO University (KEIO)'s role is to provide the
vendor-neutral architectural, engineering and administrative leadership
required to make this work. The Consortium began operation October 1, 1994.
The Consortium is financially self-supporting, through membership fees.
Membership in the Consortium is open to any operating organization agreeing
to the terms of this agreement. These terms apply to membership for a period
of three years on the first day of the calendar quarter in which the member
joins. If the organization is itself a consortium, user society, or otherwise
has members or sponsors, the rights and privileges granted under this
agreement extend only to the paid employees of the organization, not to the
members or sponsors.
There are two membership categories: Full Member and Affiliate Member . An
organization whose controlling corporation has gross sales in excess of $50
million per year must join as a Full Member. Other organizations, including
educational institutions, may join as Full Members or Affiliate Members.
The total Membership fee for becoming a Full Member is One Hundred Fifty
Thousand ($150,000) Dollars, and the total for becoming an Affiliate Member
is Fifteen Thousand ($15,000) Dollars. One-third of the total fee is due at
the time the organization joins, and one-third is due in each of the two
subsequent years. The due date in each subsequent year will be the
first day of the calendar quarter in which the member joins; i.e., January
1st, April 1st, July 1st or October 1st.
c. Subsidiaries of Members.
If the organization has subsidiaries, the rights and privileges granted under
this agreement shall extend to all subsidiaries the voting stock of which is
directly or indirectly at least fifty percent (50%) owned or controlled by
The Consortium has an MIT-employed Director (the "Director"), who acts as
chief architect for all specifications produced by the Consortium. The
present Director is Tim Berners-Lee, who is the original architect of the W3
protocol and has been directing its development since its inception at CERN.
The Consortium has an INRIA-employed Deputy Director (the "INRIA Deputy
Director" (IDD)), who acts as the lead technical person on the INRIA
The Consortium has a KEIO-employed Deputy Director (the "KEIO Deputy
Director" (KDD)), who acts as the lead technical person on the KEIO staff.
b. MIT Staff.
The MIT staff of the Consortium will consist of the Director, at least seven
full-time engineers, and one support person. The staff are in the employ of
MIT and its Laboratory for Computer Science ("LCS"), and report to the
Director. Staff hiring is controlled by MIT. Staffing will depend on the
proportionate share of membership fees retained by MIT.
The INRIA staff of the Consortium will consist of the IDD, at least seven
full-time engineers, and one support person. The staff are in the employ of
INRIA and report to the Deputy Director. Staff hiring is controlled by INRIA.
Staffing will depend on the proportionate share of membership fees received
The KEIO staff of the Consortium will consist of the KDD, a number of
full-time engineers, and a support person. The staff are in the employ of
KEIO and report to the KDD. Staff hiring is controlled by KEIO. Staffing will
depend on the proportionate share of membership fees received by KEIO.
c. Integration within MIT.
The MIT component of the Consortium is administered within LCS, and the
Consortium Director reports to the Director of LCS.
d. Integration within INRIA.
The INRIA component of the Consortium is administered within INRIA, and the
IDD reports to the Director of the Consortium on technical matters and to the
Director of Development of INRIA on all administrative matters.
e. Integration within KEIO.
The KEIO component of the Consortium is administered within KEIO, and the KDD
reports to the Director of the Consortium on technical matters and to the
Dean of KEIO University on all administrative matters.
f. Steering Committee.
A Steering Committee sets overall policy and provides strategic guidance and
review of the Consortium's activities; this committee includes the Director
of MIT LCS, the Chairman of W3C, the Director of the Consortium, and
representatives from INRIA and KEIO. Inasmuch as MIT, INRIA and KEIO are
conducting research on many aspects of the information infrastructure a
technical committee shall be established to facilitate the links between MIT,
INRIA, KEIO and other research worldwide, to the activities of the
consortium. These links will take place primarily through the technical
workshops described in Section 12.
MIT, INRIA and KEIO will collaborate with other organizations in the
development of the W3 protocol. Aspects of the W3 reference implementation
may be developed by our collaborators under various cooperative arrangements.
5. Visiting Engineers.
Member organizations may volunteer to contribute staff on short term
assignment to MIT, INRIA or KEIO for specific implementation efforts
sponsored by the Consortium. If MIT, INRIA or KEIO has the resources to
accept such staff, the visitors will be provided with unsalaried MIT, INRIA
or KEIO appointments as Visiting Engineers. For the portion of their time
assigned to Consortium activities, visitors will take their technical
direction from the Director if at MIT, the IDD if at INRIA, or the KDD if at
6. Advisory Committee.
MIT, INRIA and KEIO shall establish a committee (the "Advisory Committee"),
the purpose of which is to move proposals through the Consortium review
process, review annual plans, assess progress, and suggest future directions.
b. Appointment of Representatives.
Each member organization is entitled to place one individual on the Advisory
The Advisory Committee will meet approximately twice per year. Meetings for
other activities are scheduled as they are needed, and need not take place at
MIT, INRIA or KEIO.
7. Standards Review Process and Procedure.
Every proposal for a new standard goes through the following process, unless
an alternative process is approved by the Director and the Advisory Committee.
[Note such a process is now
in place and avilable online at http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process, making
this paragraph obsolete - TBL 1998]
To be considered by the Consortium, a proposal must be sponsored by a
member organization and must include a complete draft specification of
interfaces and functionality. The draft specification need not originate
through a Consortium-sponsored design process. The sponsoring organization
should present the proposal to the Consortium Director for formal
consideration, and designate an individual who will act as an Architect for
the specification. The Director then ensures that the proposal is circulated
to all Advisory Committee representatives, and a one month trial review is
begun. The purpose of the trial review is to determine if the Consortium
should conduct a technical review of the specification, and to allow member
organizations to prepare sufficient resources to conduct that technical
review. At the end of the trial review, each Advisory Committee
representative is asked to give the Director a Yes/No vote. A No vote, to not
proceed with a technical review, must be accompanied with comments to explain
the vote. The Director considers the votes, and makes an informed decision as
to whether to proceed with the technical review.
If the decision is to proceed, then a three month technical review begins.
A Web posting and an electronic mailing list will be created at MIT, INRIA
and KEIO for discussion; participation on this list is open to all member
organizations, without constraint. As issues are raised during the review, it
is expected that participants will vote (formally or informally) on how to
resolve the issues. The Architect will consider the votes, and make an
informed decision. Meetings may be called, as deemed necessary by the
participants or the Director.
At the end of the technical review period, each Advisory Committee
representative is asked to give the Director a Yes/No/Not-Yet vote. A No
vote, to discontinue the review and reject the specification, must be
accompanied with comments to explain the vote. A Not-Yet vote indicates that
the specification either needs substantially more design work, or that the
complexity of the specification requires a longer review cycle. A Not-Yet
vote also must be accompanied with comments to explain the vote. The Director
will consider the votes, and make an informed decision as to whether to
proceed to the next stage of the process, or to extend the technical review,
or to dismiss the specification without prejudice and ask the sponsor to
resubmit after redesign, or to reject the specification.
If the specification is accepted, then a three month public review begins.
The Director will make a reasonable effort to distribute the specification to
the public, primarily by posting on the Web. Any issues raised during this
review must be answered by the Architect in conjunction with the review
participants, in the same way as during the technical review. In parallel
with the public review, a ``proof of concept'' implementation of the
specification should be undertaken. Proof of concept typically requires a
complete, public, portable implementation, but a public implementation is not
a requirement and alternatives can be proposed on a case by case basis. Any
issues raised during the implementation effort will be handled in the same
way as during the technical review.
When public review has ended and the Director believes proof of concept
has been established, each Advisory Committee representative is asked to give
the Director a Yes/No vote. A Yes vote indicates that proof of concept has
been demonstrated, and the specification should now be accepted as a
standard. A No vote indicates that proof of concept has not yet been
demonstrated. A No vote must be accompanied with comments to explain the
vote. The Director will consider the votes, and make an informed decision as
to whether to accept the specification, or to restart the specification at
some earlier stage in the overall process.
Once a standard has been approved, the Web posting and mailing list will
continue to be used to discuss possible clarifications or additions to the
standard. The Director will appoint an Architect for such changes; this
Architect may differ from the original Architect. Resolution of issues is
handled in the same way as during previous technical reviews. The Director
has final authority on all decisions. Major changes to the standard will
require the full trial/technical/public review process, at the discretion of
MIT, INRIA and KEIO may but are not required to propose standards before
national or international formal standards bodies; individual member
organizations may assume that initiative. The Consortium will attempt to
provide technical assistance and advice to standards bodies, and will
participate in the formal standards process as resources permit.
8. Communication within Consortium.
The Consortium carries out almost all activities using the World Wide Web and
electronic mail. Network connectivity to MIT, INRIA and KEIO should be viewed
as a requirement for adequate participation in Consortium activities,
including the functions of the Advisory Committee. MIT, INRIA and KEIO will
only provide information in hard copy form at the discretion of the Director.
9. Software Distribution.
The MIT, INRIA and KEIO Consortium Development Team will hereafter be
referred to as the Consortium Development Team or CDT. The CDT will maintain
and distribute a collection of software and documentation. This collection
will consist of specifications and sample implementations of approved
standards, sample applications and other relevant software, and associated
documentation. The contents of this collection will be determined by the
Director and the CDT based on the needs and desires of the member
organizations, tempered by resource constraints. Member organizations can
obtain a copy of each alpha, beta, and public distribution of the reference
code (this latter with a one month lead time over public release) at no
charge. The frequency with which new distributions are produced will be
determined by the Director, with the advice of the Advisory Committee.
The CDT will provide a public network path for reporting problems with and
suggesting changes to this collection. The CDT will maintain a database of
such bug reports and an archive of bug fixes, and this information will be
available to member organizations as it is generated, using a Web posting and
network mail. A small subset of the most crucial bug fixes will be made
available to the public; the subset will be chosen by the CDT under the
guidance of the Director.
Member organizations can incorporate software and documentation produced
by the CDT into products at any time after the materials have been released
to the Consortium. Member organizations shall not adopt or incorporate such
releases into products prior to release to the Consortium. Materials are
considered released once they have been explicitly distributed to member
organizations, or once they have been made accessible over the network in a
form explicitly marked as a Consortium release.
The CDT will also endeavor to collect and distribute software contributed
by other individuals and organizations as well as by member organizations.
MIT, INRIA and KEIO will accept such third party software only with
appropriate representations of sufficient right, title and interest to
contribute the software, but will bear no responsibility if contributed
software should prove to be infringing. In addition, the CDT will not be
responsible for maintaining such software. The contents and release schedule
for the contributed software collection will be determined by the Consortium
Director and CDT.
In general, all materials included in Consortium-sponsored distributions
will be copyrighted, and will contain permission notices granting
unrestricted use and redistribution of the materials provided that copyrights
and permission notices are left intact. Specific exceptions can be made, upon
approval of the Director at the advice of the Advisory Committee. All
materials are provided "as is", without express or implied warranty.
10. Use of Hardware.
The CDT will not attempt to acquire or maintain hardware platforms produced
by every member organization, but will attempt to have a reasonable selection
of platforms. All hardware and software acquisitions will be at the
discretion of MIT, INRIA and KEIO. The CDT will not be responsible for
ensuring that prototype or released software operates correctly on any
particular hardware or system configuration, but will attempt to ensure
portability of such software to a variety of systems.
11. Use of Funds.
Consortium income beyond that needed to cover the direct and indirect costs
of the Consortium will be allocated for innovative W3 work as determined by
the Director at the advice of the Advisory Committee. However, if the total
Consortium income each year exceeds $1.4 million, one-third of the income in
excess of $1.4 million will be divided between MIT, INRIA and KEIO on a
proportional basis and used at their discretion.
12. Technical Conferences.
The Consortium will sponsor an annual conference, open to the public, to
promote the exchange of technical information about the World Wide Web. Also
workshops will be held in various technical areas such as privacy and
authentication, reliability, computer communication, semantics, and so forth
as deemed necessary and will include experts from MIT, INRIA and KEIO, and
the international technical community as deemed appropriate by the