The first beta of Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 launched yesterday. Doubtless hundreds if not thousands of reviews of just this beta will be posted on the web, many critiquing or celebrating the browser’s implementation of various web standards.
However, one interesting item concerns specifications for standards developed alongside IE8:
For the OpenService Format and WebSlice Format specs, we’re using two separate Creative Commons vehicles to allow developers to freely use and build on our work. We’re licensing our copyright in the OpenService Format Specification under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. This license lets others copy, distribute, modify and build upon the specification, even for commercial uses, as long as they simply give credit to Microsoft and license their own changes under the same terms. This license is also consistent with the license adopted by the OpenSearch community, whose work relates to the OpenService Format spec.
We’re setting a new precedent with the WebSlice Format Specification by dedicating our copyright in it to the public domain using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication, the first time we’ve used a public domain dedication in connection with one of our specs. This allows anyone to freely copy, distribute, modify and build upon the specification for any purpose, without any additional conditions or obligations whatsoever. In this case, our public domain dedication is in keeping with the expectations of the hAtom Microformats community.
It’s cool that Microsoft not only released the specifications under liberal terms, but followed the lead of the relevant communities, ensuring that there are no copyright barriers to collaboration with those communities.