- Consult <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601b.htm> for the current status and electronic copies of the latest material.
- This version: Analysis 0.81 <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601g.htm> tracks the movement toward making use of emerging materials along with clarified licenses.
- Previous version: Analysis 0.75 <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601f.htm> provides an approach to moving forward and preparing to adopt and support open-format standards as they stabilize.
- see also:
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-12-07 Second-Guessing Microsoft on ECMA: Shape-Shifting the ODF
Professor von Clueless: 2005-12-06 Lining Up Formats for Office Documents
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-11-30 Open Standards are not Open Source
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-10-17 Magical Thinking and the Universal Document Elixir
- Orcmid's Lair: 2005-10-13 The Comfort of Open Development Processes
- Orcmid's Liar: 2005-10-11 Relaxing Patent Licenses for Open Documents
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-07-29 Consigning Software Patents to the Turing Tar Pit
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-06-09 Microsoft OX vs. OASIS OD: Is It Really Open Format vs. Open Standard?
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-06-05 Office XML's IP-Infringement Specter, I: Copyright (long)
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-06-02 Microsoft Cracks Open the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Formats in XML
Professor von Clueless: 2005-03-24 Standards as Arbitrary Solutions to Recurring Problems
Professor von Clueless: 2004-12-26 Eliminating Mutual Incomprehension in Interoperability Arrangements
This stage of my analysis tracks the early opportunities to exercise and adopt the emergent open formats for digital office-document formats. I'm particularly fascinated by the packaging conventions and document organization that are accompanying introduction of Microsoft Office Open XML formats. I am also interested in what OpenDocument already has available in terms of public specification. I'm intrigued by the lessons to be drawn from both efforts about achieving interchange, interoperability and fidelity preservation using open formats and their public specifications.
1. Introduction: Open Formats Arrive
2. Adopting and Supporting the Open Formats
3. Honoring the Licenses and Materials
3.1 The Copyright Licenses
3.2 Schema Usage: License Considerations
3.3 Software Implementations: Patents and Licensing Concerns
3.4 Packaging Licensed Material
3.5 Tracking ODF and OOX Specifications
4. Rights of Copyright Owners
4.1 Copyright Subject Matter
4.2 Exclusive Rights
4.3 Derivative Works, Compilations, and Collective Works
A. Source Materials
A1. Available Materials and Licenses
A2. Proprietary Notices
A3. Other Resources
A5. Standards Organizations
1.1 When the OASIS OpenDocument specification was approved on May 1, 2005, I paid little attention. Although I strongly favor opening of office-document formats, I wasn't certain that ODF was adequate, especially with my investment in the Microsoft Office System personally and for professional reasons. I wasn't about to spend time destabilizing my current work and my own legacy materials at this point. I didn't see much reason to pay attention, especially being in the middle of a master's degree project dissertation.
1.2 When Microsoft announced on June 1, 2005, that Office "12" would use Office Open XML as its Native Format, I stopped to look. The Channel 9 video with Jean Paoli and Brian Jones caught my attention. For me, the hint about the special packaging conventions was captivating. Packaging innovations for documents have been a pet interest and I wanted to know much more. I was also impressed by the fact that the Office 2003 XML Schemas were already available for use under the licensing conditions that were being proposed. I had to deal with an odd reaction to the royalty-free patent license though. Even though the royalty-free license was expanding the rights to use the licensed formats in software applications, I had this odd feeling that I was under a legal threat and constraint. It was that "IP Infringement Specter" that led me to begin this series of analyses.
1.3 I dug deeper as controversy surrounded the Microsoft announcements. I researched the OASIS OpenDocument specification and the intellectual-property conditions that surrounded it. I dug into the available Microsoft materials that are part of the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and their licenses. As new announcements unfolded, I satisfied myself that parity was being reached with regard to licensing conditions and openness. From my perspective, all progress is in the right direction:
- 1.3.1 OpenDocument has an initial version at the level required for having a public standard and its specification. There is enough stability for implementations and adoption to commence, with more to be done to establish successful, full-fidelity interchange among products.
- 1.3.2 Microsoft Office "12" Open XML will satisfy the preservation and perpetual-access requirements for billions of Microsoft Office documents. The stabilization of a public specification will follow. It is not clear what interchange means in this case, and whether or not it would involve eventual translation to and from some enrichment of OpenDocument that allows preservation of fidelity with Microsoft Office.
- 1.3.3 We have the opportunity to begin exploring interoperability, interchange, and translation between public document formats, starting with the Office 2003 XML formats and the OpenDocument Format as implemented in products like OpenOffice.org 2.0.
- 1.3.4 As the remarkable packaging conventions for OOX and allied products like the Microsoft XML Paper Specification (XPS) are finalized, there will be more opportunities to explore the document-processing and document-management applications those will enable.
1.4 I developed a comparison table to line up the relative status of the two approaches, ODF (Open Document) and OOX (Office Open XML). This shows how more-advanced OpenDocument is as a public specification, while the Microsoft OOX effort will have to be more-complete and rigorous to satisfy and maintain legacy-fidelity requirements. At some point, the maturity and coverage of the efforts will converge to a consistent level and we'll have learned what it takes to make inter-translation work and what might be pragmatically-insurmountable barriers.
2.1. I have five levels of interest in these developments: as user, author, system architect, developer, and scholar/teacher/scientist. These might have nothing to do with your interests. They do account for how I allocate my energies to this subject.
2.2 As an User. I have an investment in my own electronic documents and those of my family. Somewhere, on disks that I probably can't read any longer, and on machines in storage, I still have files and records in WordStar, Borland Sprint, and early versions of Microsoft Works. Having a way to preserve recovery and access of those and all current materials is important to me. I don't expect to recover the older files, but I want all materials for which there is current software to be in forms that can outlive the software and the current operating systems. In this regard, I am a pretty staunch Microsoft Office user. It has provided me the longest-lived legacy support of digital documents that I have ever enjoyed.
2.3 As an Author. For authoring, my format of choice is HTML. You're looking at it. My preferred authoring tool is Microsoft FrontPage, not for beautiful HTML but for the production and publishing model that it supports via FrontPage Extensions, local IIS, Visual Source Safe, and FTP. The HTML is a public, open format. Even when I use intermediary services like Blogger and special tools like Blogjet, I arrange to have the published HTML on a site where I can preserve and repair the material as needed. I love the ability to make and arrange hypertexts, and it's satisfying to deliver passive, non-invasive HTML for easy viewing by readers and users.
- 2.3.1 Using HTML does not satisfy requirements for provision of formatted hard copy, and it is not enough for collaborative authoring and publication.
- 2.3.2 I also use text files where I want minimum dependence on software for viewing, and I employ Zip files for packaging of materials for preservation and collaborative use.
- 2.3.3 You can see how these preferences resonate with new packaging approaches and the use of well-defined XML formats.
- 2.3.4 One barrier that I encounter is that the material is not viewable everywhere with equal facility. It is unfortunate that a web server is required to provide the intended viewing experience and I don't know how to overcome that. I want the materials to work as easily on a hard drive and on a CD-ROM.
- 2.3.5 I'm not terribly concerned about the constraints of mobile devices. I am concerned about accessibility and international considerations. I'd like tools that help me address those concerns.
2.4 As a System Architect. Document processing systems have been an area of professional focus for me. The NuovoDoc "design for document systems interoperability" says it all.
- 2.4.1 I also support initiatives for integrating and use of document processing systems (collectively termed DMware), including the niche Open Document Management API (ODMA) and its integration model.
- 2.4.2 My architectural instincts tell me there are new opportunities for the use, interchange, and integration of managed documents and records in the availability of these new formats.
- 2.4.3 I also see the Open Packaging Conventions (OPC) as a much broader opportunity than just packaging of office documents (OOX and even ODF) and print-ready formats (XPS). That alone makes the format definitions worthy of study and tracking as the specifications mature.
- 2.4.4 I am in the process of producing a reference implementation for an ODMA repository that is simple enough to illustrate important integration principles. ODMA is a handy laboratory as well as a niche opportunity for document-management products. The reference implementation is also a way to illustrate ideas for production of trustworthy open-system components. I can see using OPC and OOX as ways to augment the reference implementation with illustrative management of compound documents, organization of annotated materials, integration of content search, and coordination of metadata, for starters.
- 2.4.5 After noticing where ODF is underspecified, I also threw my hat into the OpenFormula project for coming up with a public specification of formulas for use in ODF tables (spreadsheets) and possibly other places in ODF. This also gives me a focused way to teeth on the ODF specification and learn to experiment with the Excel 2003 XML format and the XML formats of other spreadsheet implementations. My ODMA commitments come first. I can see a way that OpenFormula can fit with my developer interests so long as I watch my priorities.
2.5 As a Developer. I like the opportunity to develop code that is instructive and usable for public purposes. I think I've always had that in mind, even when I was developing closed-source products. But mostly I never developed software that couldn't be usefully given away, whether it was or not. I think that began with my first "official" programming job (as a "Clerk Typist A") in a department of the University of Washington in 1959, and I can credit that to the inspiration of Theodore L. Lomax (at Boeing Renton in 1958) and Calvin E. Wright (my boss at the U of W Division of Counseling and Testing Services). I also enjoy developing examples, how to's and samples/demonstrations of the use of tools and methodologies. Somehow, authoring, development, architecture, science and scholarship all blend together for me.
- 2.5.1 All of the ActiveODMA work, including the ODMA reference implementation and the ODMdev ODMA Development Toolkit, is an outlet for my writing software and programming with an eye to having instructive results for others to use.
- 2.5.2 I have an itch to develop further tools that support document and text processing via composite operations. There are plenty of pieces around, and some older efforts that seem to have disappeared (including near-ancient ones of my own, now that I think of it). It strikes me that there is a new opportunity to bring these kinds of tools to life once again for the edification of a much broader community of prospective users and learners.
- 2.5.3 The nfoWare projects are for conveying an understanding of what computers make possible through expression and manipulation of data, with illustrative tools for mastery of data and having data manipulations deliver information. Understanding of XML, XML documents, and XML processing is an important element of nfoWare, and the public document formats will be valuable vehicles for illustration and understanding.
- 2.5.4 Along with providing a home for analyses of different open-format products, the underlying data representations, and the manipulation of that data, nfoWare is a place for collecting and creating generic utilities that support data manipulation. Anything done with the open formats will find a home here. Initially, these must be spin-offs and companions of my ODMA commitments.
2.6 As a Scholar/Teacher/Scientist. I have a scientific interest in our understanding of the relationship that we have with computers and how we reconcile the closed-world of computation with the lived experience and physical reality in which computers are instruments for us. The use of data to carry language is an appealing way to pick at and demonstrate topics of that inquiry. I will say no more about that here beyond observing that I am fascinated by Michael Kaplan's blog, Sorting It All Out. The curious will find more at Numbering Peano and sometimes via Professor von Clueless.
I am satisfied, at this point, that the licenses and permissions around the OpenDocument format, the Office 2003 XML Schemas, and the previews of the Office "12" Open XML formats (with Open Packaging Conventions) are permissive enough for me to undertake work that I can give away without problems. Although I choose to provide notices and warnings concerning derivatives of the work of others, I don't find that a limitation for my own purposes (e.g., for ODMA contributions). Here's my breakdown of what the various licenses and other declarations involve.
3.1.1 The Copyright Holders Reserve All Rights in the Specifications. Microsoft reserves all copyright in the specifications of the Office XML formats and of the XML Schema Definitions for those formats. The OpenDocument 1.0 specification is similarly copyright by OASIS Open with all rights reserved (OASIS 2005c).
3.1.2 Specifications May be Freely Distributed. Along with Microsoft’s copyright notice, there is the grant of a perpetual, non-exclusive, limited copyright license that begins:
Permission to copy, display and distribute the contents of this document (the “Specification”), in any medium for any purpose without fee or royalty is hereby granted, provided that you include the following notice on ALL copies of the Specification, or portions thereof, that you make.
3.1.3 The OpenDocument 1.0 specification may also be freely reproduced and distributed, according to the Notices (OASIS 2005c, Appendix F):
This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others ... provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies ... . However, this document itself does [sic] not be modified in any way ... .
3.1.4 Microsoft Does Not Permit Derivative Works. The required-notice exhibit is followed by this additional stipulation, making it clear what is not being granted::
No right to create modifications or derivatives of this Specification is granted herein.
The simplest well-known license with comparable limitations (based on copyright alone) is the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives license.
3.1.5 OpenDocument 1.0 Provides for Specific Derivative Works. The same notification paragraph in the OpenDocument specification has the following language with regard to derivative works of the specification (cf. 3.1.3):
... Derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such ... derivative works.
3.1.6 I am not clear on suitable ways to preface the requisite copyright notice. I can determine that later. The most interesting case for me has to do with making an HTML hyper-document version of the OpenDocument Specification. This would provide a version that can be linked to, tied to annotations and errata, and more-conveniently referenced and navigated, including on a reader's desktop, than the PDF-format official copy of the specification. There's a non-OpenDocument OpenOffice.org version of the document that might provide a good start after translation to OpenDocument and transformation of the resulting XML.
3.1.7 I have no problem with honoring these conditions exactly. Mostly I do not have to distribute copies of the specifications, whether OpenDocument 1.0 or the Microsoft specifications. I will refer to them, and people can obtain their own copies as desired. The possibility of a browser-navigable version of OpenDocument 1.0 is a nice nfoWare exercise at some point and it makes an easier way to refer to passages of the specification in discussions and related contributions.
There are digital versions of the individual schemas that apply to the respective open-format definitions. These raise interesting cases.
3.2.1 The Microsoft Schemas carry notices and licenses in the same form as the specifications (Microsoft 2003c). Notice is carried in the schemas and there is the same exclusion of derivative works as for the specification documents (cf. Appendix A2). However, reproduction is permitted.
3.2.2 The OpenDocument schemas carry copyright notices only (OASIS 2005d; 2005e; 2005f). There is no other explanation or link to information in the downloadable copies of the Relax-NG schemas.
3.2.3 I had been concerned about appeal to the schemas when repurposing material of the standardize formats. Beside redistributing these schemas as separate files (permitted for the Microsoft ones), I had wondered about the prospects for derivative use of the schemas when what are intended to be the same elements are used in separate contexts, such as search results, document-management metadata, and so on. I think it is easier than that:
- 18.104.22.168 For OOX, XML Schema is used, with the schemas expressed in XML. The individual schemas can potentially be referenced wholesale using imports into other XML Schemas that rely on OOX elements and attributes. Elements defined under the OOX schemas can simply appear in any XML document in places where any element is allowed, provided that the appropriate namespaces are declared. There are many technicalities that I have not explored, but the ability to fuse elements defined in the OOX schema set into other formats and their schemas seems available for special purposes, while always relying on the unaltered reference XML Schemas in so doing.
- 22.214.171.124 For ODF, Relax-NG is used, with the schemas expressed in XML. In contrast with the XML Schema multi-tiered approach (W3C 2004a), Relax-NG has no convention for associating XML document elements with Relax-NG patterns to which they conform. OpenDocument elements can be used in documents defined with different Relax-NG schemas simply via anyElement provisions of Relax-NG. There are similar ways to allow use of attributes defined for OpenDocument. More precise incorporation of OpenDocument patterns can be obtained by including the OpenDocument Relax-NG grammar as a sub-grammar of another grammar, preserving the namespaces and over-riding the start element as appropriate. Those OpenDocument patterns reachable in accordance with the global grammar are made patterns of the resulting (conceptual) schema (Clark & Murata 2001b). The strict schema for OpenDocument is defined over the normative schema using exactly such provisions of Relax-NG.
- 126.96.36.199 Interchange and Repurposing Material. Although somewhat cumbersome, these usages of elements and attributes in other (XML) formats are part of the specified usage of Relax-NG and XML Schema definitions. The schema systems allow formats under one schema to have defined usage in XML documents other than ones (if any) conforming to the single schema alone. The other-format instances might be arrived at by transformation operations or other means. It is also the case that the creation of interchange arrangements could involve creating XML Schemas for OpenDocument 1.0 formats and Relax-NG Schemas for OOX formats. It would be surprising for there to be much objection. Each schema mechanism can allow elements defined for the other format under wide "anyElement" provisions, at a minimum.
- 188.8.131.52 Being Careful. Although one can imagine objections based on derivative-work prohibitions, it is difficult to imagine freely distributing the electronic form required for computer processing and simultaneously forbidding that processing, something that is not part of the copyrightable subject matter in any case (4.1.4). The originators of both OOX and ODF promote the repurposing and transformational prospects for those formats. It would be strange to not allow re-use of specific elements when honoring the specification for that element is intended. At the same time, the practices discussed here are certainly not covered by typical statements of conformance requirements for the formats and their processing, and one can't automatically expect protection under the royalty-free patent licenses and related covenants (section 3.3.3). A recent clarification of the Microsoft licensing approach suggests to me that subsetting and supersetting the format, while preserving the Open Office XML specifications and schemas, will be tolerated under the covenant (Microsoft 2005j). This would appear to make OOX and ODF equally adaptable as far as format application is concerned.
3.3.1 The format specifications do not specify implementations. The OpenDocument 1.0 specification specifies conformance of XML documents to the format. There are also conditions on conforming applications that read, process, and write the format. But there is no condition on implementations, and the requirements for conformance are quite liberal (even loose, in some respects: cf. Table 3-1). A public specification of OOX suitable as a public standard for an open format is not yet available for review, and these observations are not meant to imply any comparison of OpenDocument provisions with as-yet undocumented conformance conditions for OOX. The common feature is that interpretation of the elements of the formats will need to be defined, but how those are implemented/preserved in the behavior of computer software won't be specified.
3.3.2 There are Patent Policy Statements applicable to both formats. Each format has a blanket royalty-free patent-license declaration. Sun Microsystems provides one for OpenDocument along with a covenant not to sue (OASIS 2005b). Microsoft provides a royalty-free license for implementations of the Office 2003 Reference Schemas and their successors (Microsoft 2003b; 2005d). Microsoft recently added a covenant not to sue to its current and proposed licenses (2005f). Neither party has identified any of its patents that might apply. If anyone else holds patents that might apply to implementations of these formats, they have been silent on the matter.
3.3.3 These licenses apply only to software that implements the formats (184.108.40.206). This leads to the interesting topic of providing notice that software implementing the formats might work in ways that infringe on someone else's patents, and that adapting the software for some other purpose might make the royalty-free licenses (or protective covenants) unavailable.
3.3.4 Unfortunately, any software might violate patents. It is not customary to remind software developers of that fact. The closest we usually come is with disclaimers and requests for notification, as in the OpenDocument specification (OASIS 2005c, Appendix E):
"OASIS takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in this document or the extent to which any license under such rights might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such rights. Information on OASIS's procedures with respect to rights in OASIS specifications can be found at the OASIS website. ...
"OASIS invites any interested party to bring to its attention any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary rights which may cover technology that may be required to implement this specification. ... "
3.3.5 However, when there is a royalty-free license or other covenant that protects implementers of the formats with regard to a specific (potential) patent holder, it seems polite to say so, whether a statement is required or not. Unfortunately, the situation is not quite that simple:
- 220.127.116.11 Microsoft requires that a specific notice be included in software for which the conditions of the license are invoked (2003b). Sun Microsystems makes no such requirement.
- 18.104.22.168 None of the licenses (and the covenants, to stretch a point) are sublicensable. If they were, it would not broaden the licenses according to Rosen (2005, p. 88). Either way, the royalty-free licenses do not license the software, and that is different than sublicensing as usually meant with regard to derivative works of open-source software.
- 22.214.171.124 Although none of these licenses are directly for software under any form of open-source or closed-source licensing, there are claims (Galli 2005) that the Microsoft royalty-free license conditions will make any software for which the royalty-free license is claimed incompatible with the GPL (FSF 2002; Rosen 2005, pp. 243-251). It is not clear what legal principle is being put forward as the basis for that conclusion unless it is the requirement to carry notice into derivative works (Microsoft 2003b). With the covenant not to sue, this arrangement is considered good enough by some legal experts (Berlind 2005).
- 126.96.36.199 Neither Microsoft's nor Sun's royalty-free licenses and covenants involve a promise to sue, so it would appear that there is no difficulty with producing and distributing open-source software under a suitable license that satisfies the Open Source Definition, whether or not a GPL-compatible one (OSI 2005a).
This section presents my personal approach to packaging, distribution, and licensing of materials subject to terms and conditions placed on the OOX and ODF specifications, schemas, and any related software. I offer it as an example of one consistent approach. It may be incompatible with requirements that you have.
3.4.1 Everything in Plain Site, Known in Advance. I have simple principles that apply to my packaging and distribution of works. I apply the same principles with regard to the open-format specifications, schemas, and software that implements the specifications to any extent:
- 188.8.131.52 Works are packaged so that the provenance of all elements is preserved and all licenses are honored.
- 184.108.40.206 Recipients of works from me are always informed of the provenance of the work, conditions on the work, and how that impacts them as a recipient of the work (e.g., with regard to their assent to terms of a contract).
- 220.127.116.11 All conditions that might impact or limit an intended use by a recipient are made known without requiring the recipient to have first acquired a copy of the work.
- 18.104.22.168 In general, I want people to be able to make straightforward use of works provided by me. By applying very simple practices, recipients can be unconcerned whether or not their use constitutes creation of a derivative work. The licensing that I will use for ODMA contributions illustrates this approach.
3.4.2 Distribution of Specifications. The specifications are redistributable under already-available licenses. This makes distribution easy:
- 22.214.171.124 Standalone availability and redistribution of the specifications can occur as allowed. All of the notice requirements can be satisfied by providing the specifications intact.
- 126.96.36.199 So long as the specifications are readily available as on-line resources, it is preferable to link to such authoritative sources. In addition, there may be a cached copy so that the precise version of the specification that is referenced in some way can be retrieved as needed.
- 188.8.131.52 For secondary sources, including cached versions, there will be notification (1) that there are permissions on the distribution of the work, (2) there are limitation on the work, (3) there are preferable authoritative sources and (4) there may be more-recent versions. There may be an attestation concerning how the work was obtained and how its provenance is preserved.
- 184.108.40.206 If specifications are included in compilations having more-generous license terms, they will be further-isolated from other material in a way that makes the existence and applicability of the separate conditions clear and unambiguous. I will also ensure that the manifest and license statements for the overall package clearly identify the pre-existing elements that carry different licenses, especially more-restrictive ones. Finally, if the compilation is available for on-line download, it should be straightforward to avoid downloading the specification when it is unwanted.
3.4.3 Derivative Works of Specifications. The OpenDocument 1.0 specification permits derivative works for a limited purpose (section 3.1.5). To ensure honoring of the license conditions and to avoid inappropriate secondary derivatives, the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license is appropriate for the derivative work. The distribution of such derivatives would be safe-guarded in the same manner as the original specifications, with identification of the location of the authoritative version (section 3.4.2).
3.4.4 Distribution of Schemas. There are two different cases:
- 220.127.116.11 The Microsoft Schemas may be reproduced and also incorporated in compilations in exactly the same way as the specifications (3.4.2).
- 18.104.22.168 There is no licensing of copyright rights for the OpenDocument schemas, although digital versions are provided for down-load (OASIS 2005d; 2005e; 2005f). My approach will be to rely on the schemas incorporated in the OpenDocument 1.0 specification and to refer to the schemas otherwise. If some procedure or software requires presence of one of the schemas, I will provide instructions on how to obtain the material and have it be accessible to the procedure or software.
3.4.5 Derivative Works of Schemas. There is no provision for derivative works of schemas for OOX or ODF. This means to me that application of validation procedures using the schemas must not result in creation of reproductions (for the ODF schemas) or of modified works for any of the schemas (3.2.3).
3.4.6 Software Implementations of the Formats. The specifications and their licenses place no conditions on software that implements (accepts or produces) the formats. No one who is identified as possibly having patents that might be infringed by implementations has indicated any intention to assert their patent rights. However,
- 22.214.171.124 The royalty-free patent license offered by Microsoft requires inclusion of explicit notice. The covenant not to sue does not require any notice. I would include the applicable notice and also provide notification of the covenant. I would do that to provide notice that the protections of the license and the covenant are not extended to other applications of the software. I would isolate those elements of OOX-implementing software for which the license and covenant are being relied upon, treating that portion as a separate constituent of a combined work.
- 126.96.36.199 The royalty-free patent license and covenant offered by Sun Microsystems have no notice requirement. Nevertheless, I would include an appropriate notice, for the same reasons as for the Microsoft license (188.8.131.52). I would also isolate those elements of ODF-implementing software for which the license and covenant are being relied upon, treating that portion as a separate constituent of a combined work. (It is conceivable that there are conditions where the same software would be involved in implementing both OOX and ODF and other formats as well.)
- 184.108.40.206 Appropriate notice will be provided by the executing software concerning the applicability of the royalty-free licenses and the conditions under which they apply to use of the software. This will be part of a blanket notice concerning any knowledge of patents and other conditions that may be of concern with regard to operation of the software.
3.4.7 Derivative Works of the Software Implementations. For any implementations that I make of software that implements the formats, I intent to provide open-source licenses. Typically, that means using the BSD template, as done for ODMA. If chain of title and grant of patent license can be asserted, I will sometimes use the Academic Free License (Rosen 2005). In any case, appropriate warnings about the licenses and covenants and claiming their applicability will be given for the isolated components. There will be instructions that must be followed for notifying users, as in 220.127.116.11. In many respects, these are natural outgrowths of patterns for TROSTing software.
3.5.1 There is a great deal of chatter about these open-format specifications, what they (will) make available, and the degree to which they are open or not. I have made side-by-side comparisons based on the specifications themselves and the official license statements that are available at this point in time (2005-12-19):
Table 3-1. Comparison of Specifications and Licenses: ODF and OOX Table 3-1:
ODF & OOX Approaches Compared
with 2005-11-22 covenant not to sue and 2005-12-16 ECMA Submission
with Microsoft Schema Reference licenses (copyright and patent)
18.104.22.168 Type of specification for an electronic-document format (706 pages, June 2005) for an electronic-document format (1901-page technical draft Ecma submission as well as white papers, preview, and Office 2003 materials as of 2005-12-19) 22.214.171.124 progenitors OpenOffice.org (OOo) XML Microsoft Office 97 through Microsoft Office 2003 default format and details 126.96.36.199 derivative work of specification solely for discussion and explanation excluded [future: ECMA standards typically have no notices, are public and freely available and are automatically copyrighted; ISO/IEC specifications have all rights reserved and sometimes are available electronically without fee] Schema Approach 188.8.131.52 schema methodology Relax-NG schema definition (504k) XSD: XML Schema Definitions (following guide and preview approach) 184.108.40.206 schema approach One normative (relaxed), one (non-normative) strict, including one Zip packaging specification and schema for manifests. Optionally, single or multiple XML documents serve as parts in the ODF representation of a complete OpenDocument document. family of XSDs cover the package, common elements, and product-specific structures for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Multiple XML documents serve as parts and relationships of parts in the OOX representation of a complete Microsoft Office document. The container approach is part of an abstract protocol (OPC) in which using a Zip package is one underlying implementation. 220.127.116.11 licensing of schemas none stated (Sun Microsystems and OASIS Open copyright notices in the files) not determined [current licenses applicable for now] same notice and copyright license as on documentation Compatibility & Conformance 18.104.22.168 specified compatibility some (forks earlier OpenOffice.org format); format support now claimed for some recent software releases; interchange and degree of conforming feature implementations remains to be assessed; no conformance-assessment mechanism has been announced (2005-10-09) round-trip fidelity with Microsoft Office binary-format documents, Office 2000-2003 and Office "12"; assumption: down-level behavior appears to be based on current default-formats approach (e.g., via "Word 97-2003 Document" format). 22.214.171.124 defined conformance yes beyond the hint at (Microsoft 2005j) pertaining to forgivable uses of the schemas, the ECMA base-document submission has a rigorous definition of conformance and behavior of consumers and producers that is strongly directed to document-interchange fidelity (Ecma 2005). 126.96.36.199 minimal conformance some preservation requirements (MUSTs) and allowances (MAYs and SHOULDs). No minimum floor or "core" of elements and attributes is required of all implementations although this seems to have been required in the OASIS TC charter. The Ecma TC45 base-document submission defines strictly conforming consumers and producers as using only required features, always producing valid documents, and only consuming valid strictly-conforming documents. The XML documents are required to be in Unicode using UTF8 and UTF16 encodings. 188.8.131.52 foreign-element tolerance specific provisions for allowance and preservation of foreign elements, under non-duplication of ODF provisions (with it unclear what happens when ODF is extended) The Ecma TC45 base-document submission defines (non-strictly) conforming producers and consumers and their required and permitted behaviors on encounter of recognized and unrecognized extensions. 184.108.40.206 custom content not determined specific allowance for custom XML incorporation started with Office 2003. The Ecma TC45 base-document submission addresses custom content in the XML parts and the presence of additional content in the packages that carry Office Open XML format. 220.127.116.11 underspecified features Cursory 2005-12-02 re-review identifies these: "2.2 Document Metadata" with arbitrary (as opposed to specifically-formed user-defined) elements; "2.4.6 Cursor Position Setting" and any other introductions of markup-embedded processing instructions; "6.3.10 Expression Fields" and other areas appealing to unidentified namespaces for formulae in the content of attributes (6.7.6 for text, 8.1.3 for table cells); "15 Formatting Properties" permitting any attributes and elements under all <style:*-properties> elements, along with application-determined defaults; "2.5.1 Scripts" again for appealing to unidentified namespaces, absence of script-language representation in the content of an attribute, and no identification of the document-model by which the script interacts with the document and anything else (also 6.6.6). The impact of this on conformance verification and contractual-specification of OpenDocument compliance is unclear. The coining of styles and formats may be more problematic, as may be reliance on macros and DDE. More systematic analysis is required. Section 2, Conformance, of the Ecma TC45 base-document submission asserts that there is no undefined or unspecified behavior for strictly-conformant producers and consumers. Patent Freedom Approach with 2005-11-22 covenant not to sue and future ECMA/ISO Submission
with Microsoft Schema Reference licenses (copyright and patent)
18.104.22.168 royalty-free patent licensing Sun Microsystems "essential claims" royalty-free license Sun Microsystems will not enforce any of its patents, present or future covenant not to sue applies, with or without following license conditions Microsoft "necessary claims" royalty-free license 22.214.171.124 patent-license scope limitation only where unavoidable in order to implement the specification, and only to implement the specification any implementation of ODF 1.0 and subsequent versions in which Sun participates to an extent that OASIS rules apply in regard to IPR under the covenant, those portions of a software product that read and write the format only where unavoidable in those portions of a software product that read and write files that are fully compliant with the specification of the schemas 126.96.36.199 patent reciprocity required Yes. No. License is terminated for any party that attempts to assert patent rights against any ODF implementation. No. Suing Microsoft or affiliates for infringement of a related patent claim will terminate the license for the complaining party. The covenant not to sue will also be voided with regard to the suing party. 188.8.131.52 patent-license notice none required license usable but not required under the covenant specific statement required
3.5.2 The end-games may arrive at interchange, interoperability, inter-convertibility, and independent document processor implementations, but the journeys are different.
In discussing copyright and licensing of copyright, it is important to understand the way that copyright is defined, what the exclusive (assignable and licensable) rights are, and what important terms such as collective work, compilation, and derivative work are in the language of copyright codes themselves. All of the following material is taken directly from the United States Copyright Code (LoC 2000). The selections are chosen to be informative about the copyright treatment of software, specifications, and documentation. The source material should be consulted for additional considerations, including special exceptions. Citation forms beginning "17 U.S.C" are to sections of Title 17 of the United States Code and are covered in the Copyright Code document. The web page for access to that material should be consulted for recent changes.
4.1.1 The Basic Condition. There is a minimum, general qualification for being subject matter in which copyright can subsist (17 U.S.C. § 102(a)):
Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title [17 U.S.C.], in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
4.1.2 Fixing in a Tangible Medium. There is a specific definition of what it takes for a work to be "fixed" (17 U.S.C. § 101):
A work is “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. A work consisting of sounds, images, or both, that are being transmitted, is “fixed” for purposes of this title if a fixation of the work is being made simultaneously with its transmission.
4.1.3 Computer Software is a Literary Work. As subject matter of copyright, computer software is treated as a literary work (17 U.S.C. § 101, 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)):
“Literary works” are works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.
4.1.4 Not All Aspects of Copyrighted Works Are Subject Matter of Copyright. It is important to understand that not everything about the work (or that the work is about) is subject matter of copyright (17 U.S.C. § 102(b)):
In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
4.1.5 Only Your Authorship is Original for Your Copyright. With regard to the copyrightable subject matter, the copyright is only for that part that is original to you and there is a clear line between that and preexisting material (17 U.S.C. § 103):
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations [4.3.2] and derivative works [4.3.1], but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.
4.2.1 The List of Six. The copyright owner (the author's employer in the case of a work made for hire) has six exclusive rights with regard to the subject matter (17 U.S.C. § 106):
Subject to sections 107 through 121 [creating a variety of exceptions], the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works [4.3.1] based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
4.2.2 Public Display and Performance. Public display and performance has specific meaning for subject matter of copyright (17 U.S.C. § 101):
To perform or display a work “publicly” means—
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.
4.2.3 Exceptions and Fair Use. Non-public display and performance is an exception to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. There are other exceptions granted to libraries (for archiving and preservation), to owners of software (for backup), and for certain special classroom performances. Perhaps of greatest importance in the case of specifications, documentation, software, and perhaps schemas is the fair use. There is no automatic determination of fair use. This portion of the code limits the applicability of fair use but leaves actual determination of the bounds within that to be resolved in the courts on a case-by-case basis. (17 U.S.C. § 101):
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A [for exclusive rights, see 4.2.1], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
These terms are used heavily in discussion of open-source licenses. They have specific meaning under copyright law and it is important to use the terms consistently. The use of a preexisting copyrighted work in any of these ways is one of the exclusive rights of the preexisting work's copyright owner (section 4.2.1).
4.3.1 Derivative Works (17 U.S.C. § 101):
A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
4.3.2 Compilations. Publication of compilations involves reproducing of works. A compilation is different than a derivative work, though it might contain derivative works and it might have derivative works (but see 4.1.5). Specifically (17 U.S.C. § 101):
A “compilation” is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term “compilation” includes collective works.
4.3.3 Collective Works. Collective works are treated as compilations (4.3.2). (17 U.S.C. § 101):
A “collective work” is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.
Microsoft proposes to make the OOX formats available under the same terms as existing (pre-OOX) Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Current materials, license information, and previews are available for on-line access and download:
- A1.1 Office 2003: XML Reference Schemas. The package installs on Windows 2000 SP3 and later. There is no registration requirement. No EULA is presented. Click-through acceptance of a license is not required. Installation on my Windows XP configuration adds a folder at “Start | All Programs | Microsoft Office 2003 Developer Resources | Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas” which organizes 24 XML Schema Definitions (in folders of .xsd files) along with one documentation file in Microsoft HTML Help (.chm) format.
- A1.2 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas License Overview This resource page provides a link to the legal-notice instructions for use of the schemas and their related specifications, to the patent license agreement, and to additional provisions that are introduced from time to time. So far, all changes have been additive and had the net effect of relaxing the conditions under which licenses are available.
- A1.3 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas Product Information page (undated version updated periodically). In addition to other elements, this “portal” onto the reference schemas provides links to an overview of the reference schemas, to a Frequently-Asked Question (FAQ) page on the reference schemas, and to a Jean Paoli memorandum celebrating the announcement of the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats (what I have been calling OOX here). In November, 2005, coverage of the proposed submission for ECMA standardization was added.
- A1.4 Office XML Development Center. This equivalent of a portal for developers on the MSDN on-line site, provides access to all current developer materials and other guidance.
- A1.5 Office "12" Open XML Materials. Preview materials are available. When Office "12" moves to public beta 2, in 2006, there may be more information. For now there are these:
- Microsoft Office Open XML Formats Guide: 13 page overview in Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office Open XML Architectural Guide, 19 page Microsoft Word document with more detail on the technical structure of documents in the new format
- Office "12" XML Schema Reference PDC 2005 Preview, a set of XSD schemas and a document (or web pages) that provide extremely-preliminary versions of the schema with sketchy documentation
- Open Packaging Conventions: Specifications and Reference Guide, a draft that covers the important approach to packaging of the Office Open XML Formats in a generalized multi-purpose container. The current version, 0.75, is provided as a working document under a Technical Document Agreement for review and feedback and must be considered provisional and subject to change. For ways to participate along with the movement of OPC to public usability, follow the related Microsoft blog and the newsgroup on the topic.
- Office Open XML Document Interchange Specification: Base Document. Submitted to Ecma TC45 by Microsoft, December 2005. The draft technical document submitted to ECMA as the base for completion as a full-up standards-quality specification.
A2.1 At the bottom of the Office XML Software Development Kit web pages and the HTML Help pages, there is a consistent notice (Microsoft 2003a):
- A2.1.1 A Microsoft Corporation copyright notice.
- A2.1.2 Accompanying text:
“Permission to copy, display and distribute this document is available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp”
A2.2 In the XML Schema files themselves, there is also license text. The text is the same as that in the reference HTML version in the on-line MSDN Library linked just above. the following declaration is typical (from visio.xsd dated 2004-03-04-10:39):<xsd:annotation><xsd:documentation></xsd:annotation>Permission to copy, display and distribute the contents of this document (the “Specification”), in any medium for any purpose without fee or royalty is hereby granted, provided that you include the following notice on ALL copies of the Specification, or portions thereof, that you make:</xsd:documentation>
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Permission to copy, display and distribute this document is available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp?frame=true.
No right to create modifications or derivatives of this Specification is granted herein.
There is a separate patent license available to parties interested in implementing software programs that can read and write files that conform to the Specification. This patent license is available at this location: http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp.
THE SPECIFICATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND MICROSOFT MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, OR TITLE; THAT THE CONTENTS OF THE SPECIFICATION ARE SUITABLE FOR ANY PURPOSE; NOR THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUCH CONTENTS WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS, TRADEMARKS OR OTHER RIGHTS.
MICROSOFT WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO ANY USE OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE SPECIFICATION.
The name and trademarks of Microsoft may NOT be used in any manner, including advertising or publicity pertaining to the Specification or its contents without specific, written prior permission. Title to copyright in the Specification will at all times remain with Microsoft. No other rights are granted by implication, estoppel or otherwise.
There are a variety of on-line resources with coverage of the Microsoft Open Office XML Format (OOX for short).
- A3.1 Brian Jones: Office XML Formats. Discussions about XML in Office and the Microsoft Office Open XML File Formats. An MSDN Blog.
- A3.2 Microsoft Makes XML the File Format for the Next Version of Microsoft Office. Q&A: Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky explains how making XML the default file format is likely to help customers cut costs for data storage and bandwidth, improve security and boost data recovery. Microsoft Press Pass, June 1, 2005. The sidebar provides useful links to available white papers and the initial press release.
- A3.3 Brian Jones – New Office file formats announced. MSDN Channel 9 video interview by Robert Scoble. 2005 June 1, 21:18 pdt. This video conveys much of the excitement of the developers for what is being accomplished in this work.
- A3.4 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas Frequently Asked Questions. Microsoft Office System Product Information, Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing. 2003 November 17, updated 2005 January 27.
- A3.5 The Future of Microsoft Office: Be the First to Know. Microsoft Office Online. Set up in time for the 2005 June 6 kick-off of the Microsoft Tech-Ed 2005 Conference, this site accumulates more material over time. It and other locations were updated in conjunction with the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference in September 2005, for example. The available white papers and an extensive FAQ on the new format are already available. There is also an RSS feed for receiving notices of new material as it is made available.
- A3.6 Steve Sinovsky open letter Announcing Submission of Office 12 XML Formats to ECMA International for Standardization. Microsoft Office Online. Accessed 2005-12-22T18:17Z. This memo proposes submission to ECMA International with eventual submission to ISO, a step already taken with the C# programming language and the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) from .NET. The irrevocable covenant not to sue is introduced as a way of reducing any lingering uncertainty in the availability of the formats for broad usage.
- A3.7 XPS Team Blog: XML Paper Specification and the Open Packaging Conventions. An important component of the Office Open XML format is the abstracted Open Packaging Conventions that are employed for OOX and as a generic, publicly-usable container model. Although the specifications are under tight review-and-feedback only licenses at this point, they are promised to become available under the same licensing as OOX and, presumably, will be submitted to ECMA along with OOX. This blog is an useful place to learn about the march toward public usability, sometime around when either Windows Vista or Office "12" ship. This blog and that of individual team members tend to focus on XPS. There is a nice compilation of resources by team member Feng Yuan.
- A3.8 XML Paper Specification (XPS) Developer Forum. This MSDN Forum is part of the on-line discussions of Windows Vista Development. Here there are specific discussions about features of XPS and, presumably, OPC although most of the attention is on the impact of XPS on digital-document flows and interchange considerations. It appears that XPS is tied to the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) which is provisionally usable as part of WinFX (in pre-beta Community Technology Preview -- CTP -- release) for Windows XP SP2 and onward at this point. Microsoft Passport is required for participation on these forums.
- Berlind, David (2005).
- Top Open Source Lawyer Blesses New Terms on Microsoft's XML File Format. Between the Lines: The Blog for Discriminating Tech Buyers, Blogs section, ZDNet, 2005 November 28, 8:02am. Available at <http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=2192>.
- Bradner, Scott O. (1996).
- The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3. IETF Best Current Practice 9, RFC 2026, Network Working Group, Internet Engineering Task Force. October. Available at <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2026.txt>
- Clark, James., Murata, Makato, eds. (2001a)
- RELAX NG Specification. Committee Specification, 2001 December 3, RELAX NG TC, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://oasis-open.org/committees/relax-ng/spec-20011203.html> (accessed 2005-10-10).
There is a tutorial that is very useful in understanding RELAX NG schemas (Clark & Murata 2001b). Although the OASIS OpenDocument 1.0 specification cites this on-line document, the ISO standard is freely available (ISO/IEC 2003).
- Clark, James., Murata Makato, eds. (2001b)
- RELAX NG Tutorial. Committee Specification, 2001 December 3, RELAX NG TC, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://oasis-open.org/committees/relax-ng/tutorial-20011203.html> (accessed 2005-11-23).
- Ecma (2005).
- Office Open XML Document Interchange Specification: Base Document. Submitted to Ecma TC45 by Microsoft December 2005. Document Ecma/TC45/2005/008. Available at <http://www.ecma-international.org/activities/Office%20Open%20XML%20Formats/> (accessed 2005-12-19)
The base document is available in Zip format (9.7 MB containing the 14MB PDF). The PDF is available directly, for those who prefer that, and the slides of the General Assembly presentation (2.3MB PowerPoint with notes or 2.0 MB PDF) are also available. The 1901-page document has an active (click-the-links) table of contents and is relatively easy to navigate and to search.
Section ("clause") 2 contains rigorous conformance definition and describes its important purposes.
- FSF (2002).
- Various Licenses and Comments About Them. GNU Project, Free Software Foundation (Boston, MA: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002). Available at <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html> (accessed 2005-12-04)
- Galli, Peter (2005).
- MS Office XML Formats Not OK with GNU. Linux & Open Source News, eWeek.com (2005 June 17). Available at <http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1829355,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594>.
The statement on which the fuss is based is one attributed to an interview with Richard Stallman: «The conditions imposed by the current license governing the use of the formats are "designed to prohibit all free software. It covers only code that implements, precisely, the Microsoft formats, which means that a program under this license does not permit modification," Stallman told eWEEK in an interview.» Notice the leap from a license with a limited applicability to the presumption that it prohibits anything else, yet the same logic applies to anyone's offering of a similarly-contingent royalty-free license (or a covenant) whether there is a requirement for notice or not. It's the license that's contingent, not the modifiability of the software.
- ISO/IEC (2003).
- Information Technology — Document Schema Definition Language (DSDL) — Part 2: Regular-grammar-based validation - RELAX NG, First edition 2003-12-01, International Standard ISO/IEC 19757-2:2003(E). Freely available as Zipped Adobe PDF file at <http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/c037605_ISO_IEC_19757-2_2003(E).zip> (accessed 2005-11-22).
- LoC (2000).
- Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. Circular 92, U. S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress (Washington, DC: April 2000). Adobe PDF file available via <http://www.copyright.gov/title17/> (accessed 2005-12-05).
- Microsoft (2003a).
- Legal Notice: Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. MSDN On-Line, Microsoft Software Developer Network, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Available at <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp?frame=true>.
- Microsoft (2003b).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schema Patent License. File Formats and Schema Licensing, Intellectual Property, About Microsoft, Microsoft.com, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA (2003-12-03; updated 2005-01-27). Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp>.
This license requires explicit notice in source code, documentation, and licenses. The license and notices must require that all copies and derivative works preserve the notice. This last appears to require preservation of the notice whether or not the conditions of the license apply. This is not, however, a narrowing of the license in the sense prohibited by the GPL, although it certainly suggests that the original work cannot be a derivative work under the GPL. The remedy that I propose (and would employ in any case) is to minimize and segregate the (original) software that implements the format such that non-derivative substitutes can be made when the terms and conditions of the license are unacceptable or have simply become inapplicable. This says nothing about whether or not Microsoft might have patents that apply to the derivative work (let alone the original work), merely that the license is not being accepted.
- Microsoft (2003c).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. 5.56 MB Microsoft Installer file xsdref.msi, Microsoft Download Center, Microsoft.com, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA (version 4, 2005-01-14). Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=fe118952-3547-420a-a412-00a2662442d9&displaylang=en>.
- Microsoft (2005a).
- Microsoft Office Open XML Format Architecture Guide. Preview for Developers, White Paper, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA. 249kb Microsft Word 97-2003 Document, 2005-06-03. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/developers/devpaper.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08).
- Microsoft (2005b).
- Microsoft Office Open XML Formats Guide. New File Formats for "Office 12," White Paper, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA. 114kb Microsoft Word 97-2003 Document, 2005-05-31. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/developers/fileguide.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08)
- Microsoft (2005c).
- Office "12" XML Schema Reference - PDC 2005 Preview, version 092205, Download Details, Microsoft Download Center, Web Page, Microsoft, Redmond, WA: 2005-09-22. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=15805380-F2C0-4B80-9AD1-2CB0C300AEF9&displaylang=en> (accessed 2005-10-08).
There is a 1252 kB Zip File as well as links to other resources on Office XML. There is also a self-installing version. The HTML documentation in the Zip file requires that the contents be unpacked into a file-system directory for access and viewing. The current licensing approach is covered.
- Microsoft (2005d).
- Open Packaging Conventions Licensing Overview. Working Document, Specifications and License Downloads, XML Paper Specification (XPS), WHDC, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA. Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/pkglicense.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08).
The Office XML Reference Schema license is being used as the basis for other licensings. This page provides a convenient description for the form being considered for the important new packaging technique that is used for the OX formats in Office "12" and for the Microsoft XML Paper Specification (XPS), first known as "Metro." -- dh:2005-10-09
The "covenant not to sue" in this proposal is not the one that has been introduced for the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. -- dh:2005-11-22
- Microsoft (2005e).
- Open Packaging Conventions: Specification and Reference Guide, version 0.75 pre-release draft. Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, 2005-09-13. Available for download in a Microsoft-signed self-extracting Zip file under cover of a Technical Document Agreement at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/xpspkg.mspx>. Also see XPS 0.75 (Microsoft 2005i).
- Microsoft (2005f).
- Microsoft Covenant Regarding Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22). Referenced in the open letter from Steve Sinofsky, this covenant is in effect as part of Office 2003 XML Reference Schema licensing.
- Microsoft (2005g).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas License Overview. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/licenseoverview.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22).
The November 2005 additional covenant and an explanation of how it applies to the previous licensing is included, along with links to elements of the previous licensing requirements. The licenses remain in effect and usable. Briefly, the covenant is not a license but a commitment on the part of Microsoft not to assert any claims against implementations of the formats except for an user of the formats that asserts their own patent claims against implementation of the formats and sues Microsoft or one of its affiliates. The previous license terms remain available and exercisable by implementers.
- These licenses are concrete in that they apply to existing, specific licensed works. In addition, these license are proposed as the models for future licenses of the Office "12" Open XML Schemas and related initiatives, such as the Open Packaging Conventions that are used as part of the Office "12" Open XML formats.
- Microsoft (2005h).
- New Covenant vs. Old License for Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/newvsold.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22).
This page under the License Overview describes what the covenant provides. The covenant can be relied upon immediately in applications of the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. The royalty-free license arrangement continues to be usable and available for those who prefer it. The covenant applies whether or not the royalty-free license is employed.
- Microsoft (2005i).
- XML Paper Specification, version 0.75 pre-release draft. 2005 September 13 update, 2.25MB Zip self-extracting file, Available for download under read-review-feedback Technical Document Agreement at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/xpsspec.mspx> (accessed 2005-09-24).
This application of the Open Packaging Conventions is important as an illustrative use of OPC and for its relationship to Office "12" and other technologies being developed along the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) parade to Windows Vista. In document-management, record-management and document-processing regimes, OPC is important, as are both XPS and the OOX formats.
- Microsoft (2005j).
- Ecma International Standardization of Open XML File Formats Frequently Asked Questions. Tech Central, The Future of Microsoft Office: Get Information About the Next Release, Microsoft Office Online. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/developers/ecmafaq.mspx> (accessed 2005-12-18).
The benefit of the covenant not to sue is clarified: "Anyone is free to work with a subset of the specifications, and anyone is free to create extensions to the specifications. A 'conformant' use is simply one that does not modify the specification."
- Milton, Vicki (2005).
- Re: Public Level of the XPS and OPC Specifications. Fifth Post on the thread, "I hope this format starts to leak before the next OS," XML Paper Specification (XPS) discussion forum, Windows Vista Development Forum Group, MSDN Communities on-line forums, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA: 2005-11-29T01:44. Available at <http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=149951&SiteID=1>.
Vicki Milton of the Microsoft development team clarifies that the Technical Document Agreements (TDAs) are not non-disclosure agreements and public discussion is not prohibited. I re-examined the OPC specification and I still find the legal notice inside the document frightening enough to dissuade me from much public discussion until a new edition of those specifications is issued with friendlier TDA.
- OASIS (2005a).
- OASIS Open Document Format for Office Documents (OpenDocument) TC. Technical Committee web page. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=office> (accessed 2005-10-09).
- OASIS (2005b).
- OASIS Open Document TC IPR Policy Statement. Technical Committee IPR Web Page. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php> (accessed 2005-10-09). The IPR statements are provided in reverse-chronological sequence.
- OASIS (2005c).
- Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0: OASIS Standard 1 May 2005. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Adobe PDF file, 706pp. Available at <http://docs.oasis-open.org/office/v1.0/OpenDocument-v1.0-os.pdf> (accessed 2005-10-09).
- OASIS (2005d).
- OpenDocument v1.0 Relax-NG Schema. Normative schema extracted from the specification (OASIS 2005c). Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Relax-NG file, 2005 May 1. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12571/OpenDocument-schema-v1.0-os.rng> (accessed 2005-06-08).
- OASIS (2005e).
- OpenDocument v1.0 Manifest Relax-NG Schema. Normative schema extracted from the specification (OASIS 2005c, Chapter 17). Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Relax-NG file, 2005 May 1. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12570/OpenDocument-manifest-schema-v1.0-os.rng> (accessed 2005-12-02)
- OASIS (2005f).
- OpenDocument v1.0 Strict Relax-NG Schema. Strict schema extracted from the specification (OASIS 2005c, Appendix A). Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Relax-NG file, 2005 May 1. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12569/OpenDocument-strict-schema-v1.0-os.rng> (accessed 2005-12-02)
The schema definition in this file derives the strict schema by including the normative grammar (OASIS 2005d) from a local file and over-riding the fifteen definitions of patterns that might have strict and non-strict components.
- OSI (2005a).
- Open Source Definition 1.9. Open Source Initiative (undated). Available at <
http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php>. (accessed 2005-12-04)
There is a new item (10) that did not appear in the original OSD 1.9 document. This obscurely-worded clause is directed at specific forms for obtaining assent to a license as a contractual agreement. The AFL and OSL licenses apparently satisfy the intent of that clause well-enough to retain their OSI-approved status (Rosen 2005, pp.206-207).
- OSI (2005b).
- Open Source Initiative (OSI). Web site home page, <http://www.opensource.org> (accessed on 2005-12-04)
- Rosen, Lawrence (2005).
- Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law. Prentice-Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ. ISBN 0-13-148787-6 pbk.
There is extensive discussion of GPL compatibility, sublicensing, patent defenses, and the crafting of an academic (AFL) and a reciprocal (OSL) license that can be applied to any copyrightable work. There are also wise words that apply to difficulties that arise when amateurs (including me) write licenses. Notices on the OSI site asserts that Rosen now endorses only the later AFL 2.1 and OSL 2.1 licenses (OSI 2005b). Those or later versions should be relied upon instead of the versions in the book. Rosen disagrees that the AFL is incompatible with the GPL.
- W3C (2004a).
- XML Schema Part 1: Structures, Second edition, W3C Recommendation 28 October 2004. World Wide Web Consortium. Available at <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-1-20041028/>.
- W3C (2004b).
- XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes, Second edition, W3C Recommendation 28 October 2004. World Wide Web Consortium. Available at <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-2-20041028/>.
The use of recognized standards organizations for establishing formal document-format specifications of formats is a prominent concern. The following organizations are mentioned in this regard. Each organization has a site where you can find out more about their operation, how specifications are developed, who is allowed to vote on the approval of charters and specifications, and who is allowed to participate in various other ways.
- A5.1 IETF: The Internet Engineering Task Force. <http://www.ietf.org>
The IETF is an activity of the Internet Society (ISOC). The IETF fosters standards related to the protocols, procedures, and conventions that are used on the Internet. The process for developing standards is community-based and must undergo progressive maturation through defined stages (Bradner 1996). All standards-track progression is dependent on the existence of implementations and demonstrated interoperability.
Working groups conduct operations on e-mail distribution lists, are generally open, and all communications and documents related to the development of IETF specifications are publicly archived. Membership in working groups is by voluntarily-participating individuals who are willing to contribute under the IETF's intellectual-property conditions.
IETF Specifications (known as Requests for Comment, RFCs), are copyright by the Internet Society. All rights are reserved and there are restrictions under which derivative works are permitted. The IETF requires that patents having essential claims be available under fully-disclosed Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) license terms.
Because of the community participation, open conduct, and progressive maturation of implementation-confirmed specifications, the IETF process is respected and considered quite successful. All RFCs are available on-line and the official version of a standards-track RFC is always in an ASCII text-file format. Document formats are not the normal purview of the IETF, although the IETF processes are an useful benchmark for "open standards." The IETF process defines "open standards" of others to include ones by international standards bodies (e.g., ANSI and ISO) and various national and international groups (e.g., W3C, OASIS, and ECMA).
- A5.2 ISO: The International Organization for Standardization. <http://www.iso.org>
ISO is, speaking informally, a federating organization that provides development and ratification of standards proposed by recognized national standardization authorities (ANSI in the USA, SCC in Canada, BSI in the United Kingdom, etc.). OASIS and ECMA International are international organizations that have liaison status with ISO. Document-format standards are most likely produced in ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1). The likely subcommittee is ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 for Document Description and Processing Languages, where 46 standards are supported, starting with ISO 8879:1986 for SGML. It is conceivable that specific formats will be assigned to other subcommittees. There are substantial liaison activities among ISO Technical Committees and external organizations as well.
There are no individual memberships in ISO, and participation in technical work is via representatives of participating standards and liaison organizations. In many cases, proposals and completed work are brought to ISO after development in another organization (including OASIS and ECMA). There are minutes and other records of process but for the most part the technical discussions are not public and there is no direct public comment provision in the usual sense (since ratification is by member bodies, not individuals).
Although ISO standards exist for well-known elements of information technology (C++, SQL, MPEG, RELAX NG, C# and the CLI, etc.), most of the standards are relatively inaccessible and expensive, especially for individuals. All specifications of ISO Standards carry an ISO copyright with all rights reserved. ISO/IEC requires worldwide reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) licensing availability for any patented technology that is essential in the implementation of an ISO/IEC standard.
Recently, a body of ISO/IEC JTC1 standards have been made freely available for anyone to download in electronic form, and some of these will be of interest to software developers: <http://isotc.iso.org/livelink/livelink/fetch/2000/2489/Ittf_Home/PubliclyAvailableStandards.htm>.
- A5.3 ECMA International. <http://www.ecma-international.org/>
The members of ECMA International are companies and organizations (including non-profits such as the U.S. NIST, OMG, Mozilla, and Monash University),. ECMA is not a trade association in the usual sense (in contrast with AIIM International, for example). The primary purpose of ECMA is the development and publication of standards and technical reports in the fields of information technology, communication technology, and consumer electronics. Annual membership for the smallest for-profit business category is almost $3,000 US and permits participation on a single technical committee, with voting rights at that technical committee. There is no fee for non-profit organizations.
One appeal of ECMA is its success in creating fast-track processes that culminate in rapid adoption at the ISO level. Over 80% of the 250 fast-tracked ISO/IEC standards were proposed by ECMA, and 2/3 of the 450 specifications developed by ECMA since 1961 have been promulgated as ISO specifications (standards and technical reports). ECMA promotes the fact that its process minimizes the risk of changes to a submitted specification and that it tolerates Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) availability of patented technology (although any contributor could make royalty-free provisions and other reassuring covenants, as Microsoft proposes to do).
The working processes of ECMA technical committees are not public. Completed standards and technical reports are public and freely available as on-line electronic documents. Downloaded ECMA specifications (in Adobe PDF format) do not appear to carry any intellectual-property notices which, by international rules, means that they are copyrighted and no rights are transferred.
My only direct experience with ECMA was on a January 1969 visit to an ECMA meeting in Amsterdam where I represented the ANSI X3.4.3 (then X3J3 and now INCITS J3) Fortran committee. We discussed the direction being taken as part of clarifying the 1966 ANSI Fortran specifications and possible alignment with with European versions such as the French AFNOR intermediate level between the Fortran-66 Basic standard that was rarely used and the Fortran-66 Full standard. I overheard other participants running down the Italian attendee for not being fluent in other European languages. Right then I chose Italian as the next European language that I might ever learn. Thirty years later, I was fulfilling that promise.
Speaking of Fortran and ANSI specifications, we did not make our working documents and discussions public, although there were minutes and a record of documents maintained by CBEMA, the supporting organization for ANSI specifications in Information Technology. When opening up the records was discussed, the greatest concern expressed by the members was worry that this would provoke second-guessing and dispute based on working discussions and this should be avoided. I recall that government representatives were particularly sensitive on this matter.
- A5.4 OASIS: Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. <http://www.oasis-open.org>
The members of OASIS are companies and organizations (including individuals and non-profits such as the Arizona Supreme Court, OMG, Bruce Garner, and MIT),. The primary purpose of OASIS is development and adoption of e-business standards. There is a substantial and diverse membership. Annual membership for the smallest for-profit business category is almost $3,000 US. Non-profit organizations are charged a $1,000 membership fee. There are also reduced fees of $250 US for certain unaffiliated individuals and also for small businesses that qualify at a special associate level.
OASIS is known for its work in SGML and in XML, including OpenDocument and other document-centric specifications.
The working processes of OASIS technical committees (TCs) are public. All committee e-mail archives, minutes, and other materials are stored on OASIS-approved web sites and are available to the public. There are provisions for E-mail submission of public comments on approved materials and materials under public review. Technical committees may also provide public-discussion forums at earlier stages of standard development. There are attendance/participation requirements for voting membership at the technical committee level, and individual members of OASIS are eligible to participate as technical-committee voting members along with employer-approved participants from OASIS member organizations.
OASIS Specifications are copyright OASIS Open with all rights reserved and with possible notices of other copyright holders (the case for the OASIS OpenDocument Standard). Participants and contributors make non-exclusive, perpetual transfers to OASIS. Newly chartered OASIS Technical Committees may elect to operate under RAND patent licensing requirements or requirements for royalty-free (RF) licensing with or without additional RAND conditions applicable. Current TCs must transition to one of those forms, and Technical Committees currently operating under royalty-free (RF) requirements, such as the OpenDocument TC, must transition to one of the new RF forms by 2007-04-15.
- A5.5 W3C: The Worldwide Web Consortium. <http://www.w3.org>
The W3C is a consortium with full-time staff and offices around the world. W3C is administered by MIT, ERCIM, and Keio University. Members, staff, and the public collaborate to provide standards for the web. There are over 400 member organizations. The lowest annual membership is currently over $6,000 per year. There are conditions under which unaffiliated individuals and academics may participate as invited experts.
W3C is known for its work in Web technologies, including HTML, XML, and a portfolio of specifications designed to lead to the Semantic Web.
The working processes of W3C technical committees (TCs) involves operation under a public charter. Communications within the group may be restricted to members-only (depending on the charter) although public forms of key materials are provided at some point.
W3C Specifications are copyright by W3C with all rights reserved. There are specific disclaimers and a license statement. Derivative works of specifications are generally not allowed without prior written permission of W3C. The W3C requires that patents having essential claims applicable to a W3C specification be available on a royalty-free (RF) basis. Software components and utilities provided by W3C are free and, when open-source, released under GPL-compatible licenses.
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