[tei-council] TEI Licensing

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Thu Sep 29 05:37:07 EDT 2011

On 29/09/11 05:20, John Unsworth wrote:
> And for what it's
> worth, I think there should be one licensing scheme for all
> the TEI IP.  I'd favor LGPL.  Creative Commons seems more
> oriented to content, and  I think our core product is actually
> software--because it's all ODD-driven--but that's a
> conversation we should have.

Hi John,

I think this is partly where we have some disagreement. As you 
can see by:


I think the Stylesheets, Roma, TEIOO, and Vesta are 'Software'. 
I think the Guidelines, the Sample ODDs, the pre-generated or 
roma-generated schemas, the wiki, the TEI-C Website, and TEI CSS 
are 'Not Software'.

I believe I understand the argument of ODD as both documentation 
and literate programming of meta-schema and certainly have some 
sympathies to that point of view. However, I do not believe that 
the majority of the TEI community would view a schema (or 
meta-schema) by itself is 'Software' in the watered-down sense 
that is most common today.  If faced with a choice between the 
oXygen editor, a generated schema, and an ODD, I would bet that 
most people would say oXygen is the software, and the generated 
schema and ODD are associated data of some sort. At the most base 
level I think the community would view software as something that 
'does something' and schemas and ODDs as additional data that 
helps them do that but is not essential to functioning. (i.e. 
they are even less software than say a required library for a 

I recognise putting the stylesheets (and TEIOO because that is 
just packaged stylesheets) is debatable.  They do not *do* 
anything by themselves, they need an XSLT interpreter in order to 
do anything. However, I think this differentiation would be 
splitting hairs and that the TEI community would class the TEI-C 
Stylesheets as 'Software'.

If these things are 'Not Software' that does not necessarily make 
them 'Content' but I would argue that the Guidelines on the web, 
other website material, and the wiki are things hat the majority 
of the community would count as 'Content'. The Sample ODDs and 
(pre-)generated schemas I admit are debatable, but for the 
reasons outlined above I think I'd consider them associated 
data/content more than Software.

In terms of Licensing, I'm fine with LGPL for things we decide 
are software and would favour CC0 or CC+BY for those things we 
consider something else. In general reducing the number of 
barriers for use and re-use would be my aim because I think it is 
in the best interest of the Consortium and the community.

Just my two pence,

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

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