[tei-council] IPR inherent in TEI markup

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jul 15 06:40:04 EDT 2011

I recently had a discussion with one of our licensing and IPR 
experts (who will be discussing digital copyright at our Summer 
School) who had some questions about TEI licensing because of an 
issue being looked at by our legal services.

Far apart from the interesting discussion on whether adding TEI 
markup to a text is considered significantly interpretative to 
count as developing IPR, he had a question about whether use of 
the TEI in specific had any vested rights adhering to the 
Consortium.  i.e. if someone uses the TEI to mark something up 
does the TEI Consortium have rights in the document based on the 
fact that we have designed the structures that are in use. 
Clearly given a) that we describe the TEI as a 
recommendation/standard and b) that we license the Guideline as 
GNU GPLv2 would indicate that we don't want to express any such 

Although I think the TEI-C claiming IPR in any TEI marked up text 
is ludicrous, commercial companies have certainly attempt similar 
claims in the past (viz MS). I'd propose that on our current page 
about licensing we simply include a statement to the effect that: 
"The TEI Consortium will not express any claim of IPR in a text 
solely because it is marked up in TEI."  or similar.

Silly I know,


Dr James Cummings, InfoDev,
Computing Services, University of Oxford

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