As of today, the HTML Working Group can publish some of their Recommendation-track specifications under a Dual License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY) and the W3C Document License. This change comes as part of the new HTML Working Group charter.
The W3C Director proposed this permissive copyright in May as an experiment in response to a request from the HTML Working Group to be able to “fork” a specification (create a derivative work). A permissive license also makes it easier to include the prose of a specification in software and software documentation.
The experiment is expected to make it easier for people to bring work to the HTML Working Group, and for the group to complete HTML 5.0 on time.
The experiment will last through the duration of the HTML Working Group charter, during which time we will be looking for both positive impacts and unintended consequences such as harming interoperability. For example, forking a specification can impose high costs, and is therefore not recommended. We will always encourage individuals to work within the W3C Process and find common grounds with the community at large in order to avoid fragmentation and harming the interoperability of the World Wide Web.
We have created a FAQ to answer other questions about the experiment.
We’re looking forward to this experiment as part of our continued effort to work with the community to build an Open Web Platform and we’re encouraging the community at large to take advantage of the experiment.