The Open Web Foundation is pleased to announce publication of the final version 1.0 of two Contributor License Agreements (CLA) and two Final Specification Agreements (OWFa). The OWFa is a model agreement designed to be used by a wide range of specification communities and organizations. To date, OWF agreements have been used by Esri, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and others.
The OWF Legal Drafting Committee is pleased to announce the publication of the set of OWF v1.0 agreements for public review. The public review period will close October 8th. At that point, the Drafting Committee will consider and respond to all comments, and will refer a final version of the agreements to the OWF Board of Directors for final approval.
This set of agreements includes the following documents:
You can also review the FAQ for additional background.
Please submit any comments you have to firstname.lastname@example.org, add your comments to document, or email the chairs at the addresses listed below.
For background, the CLAs apply only to your specific contributions to a specification while the specification is being developed. The CLAs provides a license to your contributions so that other contributors freely can include your contributions – and elaborate on them – in the community effort to develop the specification. It establishes terms and conditions for receiving and using written contributions to a functional specification. It also prepares the way for participants to sign the OWFa for the “final” specification.
The OWFa applies to functional specifications after they reach a final state and are published, and the grants in the OWFa agreements cover the entire specification, regardless of who made the underlying contributions.
If you wish to learn more about the work of the OWF Legal Drafting group, send email to either of the committee co-chairs listed below.
Lawrence Rosen (email@example.com)
David Rudin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Open Web Foundation Legal Committee Co-Chairs
The Open Web Foundation is pleased to announce its first Contributor License Agreement (CLA). The purpose of this CLA is to establish the rules for how individuals and companies contribute to the development of a specification. This first CLA grants a copyright license to contributions.
The Open Web Foundation encourages and enables specification development communities to work together and concentrate on creating technology – without those communities having to develop custom legal agreements to cover that work. Since the original Open Web Foundation Agreement (“OWFa”) was launched, the OWFa has been applied to a wide range of specifications, ranging from community developed specifications to specifications released from companies including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. We’ve also seen specifications originally released under the OWFa move on to more formal standardization bodies like IETF and W3C.
Where the OWFa was designed to apply to final specifications, the OWF CLA sets the terms that govern contributions to a project during the development phase. To think of it a different way, the OWF CLA sets out the conditions of fair participation before a specification is finished, while the OWFa applies once the specification is ready to be published and implemented. To learn more, you can review the CLA itself, FAQ, and Deed.
The Open Web Foundation continues to work on other CLAs and on updates to the OWFa, including a CLA that also includes patent grants, and we welcome your involvement. The OWF Legal Affairs Committee is open for self-nominations for participating in the drafting and review process itself, and the Open Web Foundation general discussion list is always available for public input, questions, and support.
The Open Web Foundation was founded to help developer communities collaborate and share technical innovation on the web, bringing to the world of formats and protocols the same successful grassroots approaches established by the open source community. Modeled after the Apache Software Foundation and Creative Commons, the Open Web Foundation seeks to facilitate the creation and implementation of specifications with legal agreements that make such work simple, safe, and sustainable.
This reusable agreement is designed to be easily adopted by a wide range of specification communities and organizations as an alternative to the challenging -- and costly -- process of negotiating new licensing agreements every time. Specifications made available under the Open Web Foundation Agreement may include everything from small ad-hoc formats sketched out among friends to large multi-corporation collaborations that ultimately grow into international recognized standards with the help of formal standards setting organizations.
We are further pleased to announce that the following companies have committed to apply the OWFa to the following community and proprietary specifications:
The Open Web Foundation Agreement is just the first step among many toward a comprehensive, straightforward approach to an open specification development process. In upcoming months, the Open Web Foundation will be developing reusable Contributor License Agreements, which can be adopted by specification communities during the development phase itself, even before a usable specification is completed, and will offer Best Practices guidelines for open development processes.
The Open Web Foundation is open to everyone without charge and we actively solicit feedback and participation from the community at large, whether or not they are Open Web Foundation members. The Legal Affairs Committee is open for self-nominations for participation in the drafting and review process itself, and interested individuals are encouraged to join the Open Web Foundation general discussion list to offer input and support.
The Open Web Foundation was conceived last year to create a framework which helps communities behind open web specifications navigate the non-technical organizational and legal challenges that successful specifications are bound to encounter. Many community-driven standards efforts falter when it comes to the heavy investment of time figuring out how to work within our existing intellectual property laws and are often forced to create their own non-profit organization just to support a ten page specification.
Unlike open source software, there isn't yet the equivalent of the GPL, BSD or Apache licenses which can be applied to specifications and standards. The Foundation itself isn't creating the specifications, getting involved in the technical details or blessing standards. Instead, our goal is to "open source" the creation process itself. Just as open source software developers shouldn't have to learn the exact legal details of the GPL or Apache licenses, communities developing specifications and standards for the open web shouldn't have to become experts in copyright, trademark and patent law.
Towards this goal, we've made real progress on a new license which can be easily applied by the authors and editors of a specification; enforcing the core philosophy that open web specifications must be freely implementable by anyone anywhere. The best part, we're working with the people who went through this exact painful process for Microformats, OpenID, OAuth and OpenSocial to learn both from where they succeeded and failed. And we're doing this so that the same thing doesn't have to be done again and again for future specifications. You can find an early draft of this license within our legal discussion group.
Today, the Open Web Foundation is beginning to focus on growing our membership so that the creation of a legitimately elected board and a fair and transparent process may fully ensue. Embedded in this post is our membership application, which will stay active until the end of May. Our goal is to have an initial thirty-person membership within a week of closing the nominations and all new membership election done by the end of June.
While there are many different membership structures in use by organizations all over the web, we've decided to model our membership structure after that of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). The ASF has done an amazing job bringing together a diverse and dedicated community around open source software and we continue applying what has worked for them to the Open Web Foundation.
So, here's the scoop if you're interested and we certainly want to hear from you if you've participated in the creation of Atom, Activity Streams, HTML 5, Microformats, Open Microblogging, OAuth, OpenSocial, OpenID, XMPP and other communities like these:
Interested individuals need to complete the short self-nomination questionnaire embedded below. The form includes basic information such as past community work you've done, any memberships in related organizations, your main area of interest and contribution, the top two goals you'd have for the organization and names of other community members who they have worked with. It should take less than ten minutes to fill the form. Submissions will remain private.
Ready? Go! (And please let us know if you have any questions.)
Update: Our initial membership drive is over, but stay tuned as we'll be adding new members over time.
(Thanks Nate DiNiro in helping write this post!)
By Eran on July 24, 2008 9:19 AM |
This morning at OSCON, David Recordon announced the creation of the Open Web Foundation. The Open Web Foundation is an attempt to create a home for community-driven specifications. Following the open source model similar to the Apache Software Foundation, the foundation is aimed at building a lightweight framework to help communities deal with the legal requirements necessary to create successful and widely adopted specification.
For those who couldn't be there, here is the presentation:Supporting The Open Web - OSCON 2008