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Some Working Groups define API definitions and associated bindings. The DOM specifications were the first ones to provide API definitions using IDLs, as well as their respective bindings in Java and ECMAcript. The definitions and the bindings are all normative and therefore part of the W3C Recommendations. However, issues arise when the bindings were included in Open Source projects.

If you include IDL definitions, Java and/or ECMAScript bindings in a document on the W3C Recommendation track, those definitions and bindings are, by default, subject to the document license, which states (as of February 12, 2010):

No right to create modifications or derivatives of W3C documents is granted pursuant to this license.

This is contrary to Open Source licenses, including the W3C Software license.

The DOM specification resolved the case by explicit applying the W3C Software license to the bindings. DOM Level 2 and DOM Level 3 specifications all have a section for copyright notices and licenses:

The bindings within this document are published under the W3C® Software Copyright Notice and License. The software license requires "Notice of any changes or modifications to the W3C files, including the date changes were made." Consequently, modified versions of the DOM bindings must document that they do not conform to the W3C standard; in the case of the IDL definitions, the pragma prefix can no longer be 'w3c.org'; in the case of the Java language binding, the package names can no longer be in the 'org.w3c' package.


Philippe Le Hégaret
Created 2010-02-12
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