About W3C Community and Business Groups

W3C has created Community and Business Groups to meet the needs of a growing community of Web stakeholders. Community Groups enable anyone to socialize their ideas for the Web at the W3C for possible future standardization. Business Groups provide companies anywhere in the world with access to the expertise and community needed to develop open Web technology. New W3C Working Groups can then build mature Web standards on top of best of the experimental work, and businesses and other organizations can make the most out of W3C’s Open Web Platform in their domain of interest.

W3C welcomes you to get involved in a group or propose your own. If your community is already up and running but you are interested in connecting with the international W3C community, you can start up a Community or Business Group and still maintain your external tools, provided that communications are also archived by W3C for intellectual property reasons.

Questions? Please see the FAQ.

Community Groups

Community Groups are designed to promote innovation and to lower barriers to individual participation. These groups are:

  • open to all: anyone may participate.
  • without fee: no Membership is required.
  • quick to start: no charter is required; just a short scope statement and a minimum number of supporters
  • public: communications are publicly visible.
  • self-determined: group decision-making processes are self-determined, but required to be fair (e.g., to avoid anti-trust issues).
  • without time limit: communities may continue to work as long as they are functioning well; there is no chartered end date.
  • IPR balanced: the IPR policies — intellectual property related to patents and copyrights — are designed to make it easy for IPR holders to join a group, to provide implementers with some IPR protection during development of a specification, to create a final specification that benefits from Royalty-Free licensing commitments, and to license contributions under a permissive copyright.
  • tuned for transition to standards-track: These groups complement the existing standards track and the policies aim to facilitate transition to the standards track. However, there is no requirement that Community Group Specifications advance to the standards track. And Community Groups may choose to develop test suites, white papers, demos, or merely to hold discussions.

Business Groups

Business Groups are a premium forum to work on Web technology within a group of like-minded stakeholders, to provide high-bandwidth input to the standards process, to organize around regional or business interests, and to otherwise meet to address business or other needs. W3C staff help ensure that Business Groups reach other groups of interest, promote group deliverables, and provide expertise needed to deploy high-quality Web technology. These groups are:

  • open to all: anyone may participate.
  • without fee to Members; fee for non-Members: W3C Members participate without fees, but non-Members and individuals pay an annual fee to participate which is determined by the size and nature of their organization. The fee supports the various forms of staff connectivity as well as some additional access to resources (such as teleconference services). W3C Membership is not required to participate in a Business Group.
  • quick to start: no charter is required; just a short scope statement and a minimum number of supporters
  • public or non-public: Participants determine whether they prefer their communications to be publicly visible or non-public. However, groups whose communications are primarily non-public are expected to provide periodic public updates.
  • facilitated through W3C staff: W3C staff ensure that Business Groups have high-bandwidth connectivity with other groups, so that group issues receive attention from Web experts in a timely fashion.
  • self-determined: group decision-making processes are self-determined, but required to be fair (e.g., to avoid anti-trust issues).
  • without time limit: communities may continue to work as long as they are functioning well; there is no chartered end date.
  • IPR balanced: the IPR policies — intellectual property related to patents and copyrights — are designed to make it easy for IPR holders to join a group, to provide implementers with some IPR protection during development of a specification, to create a final specification that benefits from Royalty-Free licensing commitments, and to license contributions under a permissive copyright.
  • tuned for transition to standards-track: These groups complement the existing standards track and the policies aim to facilitate transition to the standards track. However, there is no requirement that Business Group Specifications advance to the standards track. And Business Groups may choose to develop test suites, white papers, demos, or merely to hold discussions.