W3C

Intellectual Rights FAQ

General

This document answers several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about W3C intellectual rights policies. The primary goals of these policies are:

  • To encourage the widespread dissemination of W3C work.
  • To preserve the integrity of W3C work by eliminating confusion about its source and status.

Which policies apply to W3C specifications, Web pages, and software?

These three:

IPR Notice and Disclaimers
General web site copyright, trademark, and legal disclaimer statements. This page gives further explanation on the default policies that apply and where they apply.
Software Notice
Information on using and modifying W3C software.
Document Notice/License
Information about reproductions of W3C work, including Technical Reports and documentation. Note in particular that the W3C document notice does not permit the creation of derivative works so as to prevent interoperability problems. Unless otherwise indicated, all content on w3.org not covered by another license is published under this license.

Trademark

Please see W3C Trademark and Servicemark License for more information on the treatment of W3C trademarks.

Does W3C hold any trademarks?

Yes, see the list of W3C Trademarks and Generic Terms.

W3C is a contractual entity arising from agreements between the "Host institutions" and W3C Members. W3C Trademarks are managed through a joint agreement among the Host institutions.

Can I use the W3C logo (e.g., on a T-shirt)?

Please see the W3C Logo and Icon Usage for policies on logos, including the W3C Logo.

How do I acknowledge a W3C Trademark?

Here is the suggested text:

'TheTrademark' is a (common law | registered) trademark of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, or Keio University on behalf of the World Wide Web Consortium.

W3C Documents

The W3C Document License governs the distribution of W3C Documents.

Who holds the copyright on W3C documents?

The original author of the document. Many documents are created by the W3C and W3C consequently holds the copyright. Owners who allow their works to be published on the W3C site retain the copyright, but agree to the W3C license for the redistribution of those materials from our site.

May I republish W3C Documents without modifying them?

Yes. See the next question for information about attribution.

Note: W3C disapproves of and will act upon the misrepresentation of our work with respect to authorship, endorsement, or status.

Do you have an example of attribution of a work under the W3C Document License?

Unless otherwise stated, documents on the W3C site are published under the W3C Document License. The Document License contains the requirements for attribution. An example attribution would look like the following:

Getting Started with the W3C I18n site, Richard Ishida, ed. Copyright © 2009 W3C ® (MIT, ERCIM, Keio), All Rights Reserved.

Do you have an example of attribution of a work under Creative Commons License?

For the authoritative answer to that question, we suggest starting with the Creative Commons FAQ intended to help answer the question: How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?. An example attribution might look like the following:

Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization, Shawn Lawton Henry and Andrew Arch, eds. Copyright © 2010 W3C ® (MIT, ERCIM, Keio, Beihang). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Status: Updated 23 September 2010.

May I modify a W3C specification and redistribute it? May I call it, for example, HTML 3.2.1?

No and no. W3C does not, in general permit derivative works created from its specifications in order to avoid interoperability problems.

I am a teacher. Can I print out specifications and other documents for my class to read?

Yes. Note that your browser quite likely enables you to print documents with the source URL displayed at the top or bottom of the page; this is useful to ensuring that people are aware of the document origin. Please also direct your students' attention to the document's copyright notice.

I have a Web site that mirrors (has copies of) useful Web documents. May I make copies of your documents and serve them from my site?

Yes.

I am a writer. May I make a "fair use" excerpt from a specification for my analysis?

Yes, if you believe your usage falls within the exception of fair use (e.g., in the U.S. § 107 Title 17. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use).

I am a publisher. May I publish a book that includes an entire W3C specification?

Yes.

I am a publisher. May I publish a book that includes part of a W3C specification?

In general, no. We discourage the republication of large excerpts due to the risk of interoperability issues. You may send a request to site-policy@w3.org.

May I translate a W3C Technical Report into another language?

Yes. General information about translations is available, including the list of known translations.

To translate a Technical Reports, please first inform the W3C of your intention by sending an message in English to w3c-translators@w3.org [public archive] and — if provided — the comments email list associated with that document. In your message, state that you agree to the following terms:

  1. the translation may be redistributed according to the W3C Document License.
  2. that the W3C may rescind your right to publish or distribute the derivative work if the W3C finds that it leads to confusion regarding the original document's status or integrity.

In the translation, you must include the following information in the target language:

  1. a reference to the original document
  2. that the normative version of the specification is the English version found at the W3C site.
  3. that the translated document may contain errors from the translation.

This disclosure should be made in a prominent location, generally a header and/or footer that wraps the translated specification. It is important that no changes in meaning be made to any part of the W3C document including the Status Section, contributors, or appendices. If comments or annotations are absolutely necessary within the content of the specification, those annotations must be clearly represented as such. (example)

You MUST retain the English version of the copyright notice in your translation. You MAY (but are not required to) also include a translated version of the copyright notice per Translations of the W3C Copyright Notice.

Please inform us when you have completed the translation by sending a message to w3c-translators@w3.org.

See our patent policy FAQ for information about translations and patent commitments.

May I translate a document other than a W3C Technical Report into another language?

Yes, provided you ask for and receive permission. Documents that are not Technical Reports are likely to change frequently. Please mail your request to the document author/editor and cc the w3c-translators@w3.org mailing list. If you receive permission, the process thereafter is the same as for Technical Reports.

May I create the official translation of a W3C document?

No. However, the W3C Policy for Authorized W3C Translations enables you to have your translation authorized by W3C and the community. W3C created this policy in 2005 so that translations in languages other than English may be used for official purposes. Examples include: a standardization authority in a country that wishes to standardize on a W3C Recommendation, but requires the usage of a local language; or a local government plans to reference the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in their regulations, but requires a translation of the guidelines in the local language to do so.

See our patent policy FAQ for information about translations and patent commitments.

May I annotate one of your specifications?

There are two types of annotations mechanisms:

  1. those that do not require the copying and modification of the document being annotated (e.g., an external service stores annotations that identify their target via XPointer), and
  2. those that are created by copying and modifying the document itself (e.g., the file is copied and modified and the annotations are included in-line but differentiated using style sheets).

Annotations of the first type are links to the W3C site and are permitted as described elsewhere in this FAQ.

Annotations of the second type (including the reorganization and excerption of copyrighted material) are derivative works. In some cases W3C grants permission to create derivative works of this sort.

To request permission to create such a work, please inform the W3C of your intention by sending an message in English to site-policy@w3.org and — if provided — the comments email list associated with that document. In your message, state that you agree to the following terms:

  1. that the W3C may rescind your right to publish or distribute the derivative work if the W3C finds that it leads to confusion regarding the original document's status or integrity.

In the annotated version, you must include the following information:

  1. a statement that the resulting display or document is an annotation and the W3C is not responsible for any content not found at the original URL and that any annotations are non-normative.
  2. a reference to the original document

This disclosure should be made in a prominent location, generally a header and/or footer that wraps the translated specification. It is important that no changes in meaning be made to any part of the W3C document including the Status Section, contributors, or appendices. If comments or annotations are absolutely necessary within the content of the specification, those annotations must be clearly represented as such. (example)

Please inform us when you have published the annotated version by sending a message to site-policy@w3.org.

May I publish your specification in a different format (e.g., PDF)?

The creation of a reformatted work is a derivative work. In some cases W3C grants permission to create derivative works of this sort.

To request permission to create such a work, please inform the W3C of your intention by sending an message in English to site-policy@w3.org and — if provided — the comments email list associated with that document. In your message, state that you agree to the following terms:

  1. to the redistribution terms of the W3C document copyright notice. Consequently, your version may be republished by the W3C or other entities if it is done in compliance with the notice's terms.
  2. that the W3C may rescind your right to publish or distribute the derivative work if the W3C finds that it leads to confusion regarding the original document's status or integrity.

In the reformatted version, you must include the following information:

  1. that the normative version of the specification is the English version found at the W3C site.
  2. a statement that the resulting display or document is a reformatted work and the W3C is not responsible for any content not found at the original URL
  3. that the reformatted document may contain formatting or hyper-textual errors.
  4. a reference to the original document

This disclosure should be made in a prominent location, generally a header and/or footer that wraps the reformatted specification. It is important that no changes in meaning be made to any part of the W3C document including the Status Section, contributors, or appendices. If comments or annotations are absolutely necessary within the content of the specification, those annotations must be clearly represented as such. (example)

Please inform us when you have published the annotated version by sending a message to site-policy@w3.org.

W3C Software

The W3C Software License governs the reuse and modification of W3C software.

May I modify W3C Software?

Yes. The W3C Software License allows derivative works provided that you comply with the terms of the license. In a few instances, software distributed by the W3C is provided by another entity under specific terms and conditions which must be followed. Please review any notices or disclosures that accompany the software itself.

I am a software publisher. May I release W3C software on a CD-ROM? May I charge for it?

Yes to both, provided you comply with the terms of the W3C Software License. To summarize the terms, you must:

  1. include any pre-existing notices or the short form of a copyright statement,
  2. make available the full text of the license, in a location viewable to users of the work. For resources distributed/obtained over the Internet, a link to the software license from the copyright declaration suffices.
  3. provide notice of any changes to the work, and
  4. respect the trademarks of its originator.

Is code released under the W3C license compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL)?

Software that is free from any claims beyond W3C terms and conditions is compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL) and may be redistributed under the GPL. The GPL ensures users always have the ability to run, change, or redistribute software with or without changes; it also prevents such software from being bundled with closed/proprietary software such that users lose their rights to that free code in the new product. The W3C is compatible with this license and can be redistributed while complying with both the W3C and GPL software license.

Is code released under the W3C license compatible with non-copyleft / proprietary licenses?

Yes. The W3C license permits W3C code to be used in other (non-copyleft) licenses or even proprietary software.

Is software documentation covered by the Software License or the Document License?

The W3C Software License.

What do I have to do if I link to your software libraries?

If you use a software library (such as libwww) and include it in the source code, or compile/link to it, you must also include the copyright license. However, if you merely provide a compile option you are not obligated to include the copyright license. Any subsequent party that links or includes against the library is obligated to include the license. (If you include the option, you might do your users a favor by pointing to it yourself.)

To restate our policy: it is the responsibility of the person who causes our software to be included in subsequent distributions (either in source, object, or executable code) to abide by our terms.

How do I contribute code to W3C open source software?

If you wish to contribute code via CVS to W3C Open Source Software, please:

  1. complete and return this permission form.
  2. send an email to the project/CVS-repository owner and site-policy@w3.org with notice of your intention.

Note that that you will be bound by the following terms when you contribute code:

  1. The contributor vouches that the she has all rights necessary to contribute the materials in a way that does not violate copyright, patent, and trademark rights; contractual obligations, or libel and export control regulations.
  2. The contributor agrees that all contributed materials will be governed by the W3C W3C Software License.
  3. W3C will retain attribution of authorship. The W3C makes no a-priori commitment to support contributions.

How do I contribute test cases or a test suite to W3C?

Please see Policies for Contribution of Test Cases to W3C.

May I use the Amaya editor/browser in my commercial software? May I make changes and re-release it?

Yes to both. We encourage you to contact the authors and let them know about your improvements. Amaya is covered by the generic notice and the W3C Software License.

You may not make changes to Amaya and continue to call it by a trademarked term or misrepresent the origin, capabilities, or liabilities associated with its use. You may make valid assertions, such that it is based on Amaya code, or that it is compliant with a Recommended Specification of the W3C.

W3C Web Site

No. Links are merely references to other sites. No permission is required to link to w3.org or to any other website. For more information, see the W3C Recommendation "Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume 1" (section 3.5.2 in particular), the Technical Architecture Group (TAG) finding "Deep Linking" in the World Wide Web as well as the essay by Tim Berners-Lee on link myths.

Please note that any form of misrepresentation of W3C work or your relation to W3C, whether achieved through links, frames, URL manipulations, server redirects, or other means, is forbidden. For instance, do not use mislead readers into thinking that W3C content is published by anyone other than W3C. It is your obligation to be clear in your representations; W3C does not sign waivers about who may link to us.

May I use a screen shot of part of the W3C Web site?

Yes. As long as the screen shot is not used in any manner that implies W3C sponsorship or endorsement of your product, service, or Internet site, no permission is required to use a screen shot. We do, however, appreciate that you notify us by email to site-policy@w3.org, with a reference to the screen shot (i.e., a URI is preferred over an attached copy of the screen shot) and a brief description of the intended use.

Screenshots MUST NOT be used to circumvent W3C's logo usage policy.