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      Guidelines and Netiquette   03/28/2017

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piotrek

License of w3.css and w3codecolor.js - more details

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I would appreciate clarification of allowed use of w3.css and w3codecolor.js. As explained on page

http://www.w3schools.com/w3css/w3css_downloads.asp

w3.css is "free to use. No license is necessary."

Later we read "Or download w3.css and run it from your own web site" and "You can customize W3.CSS by changing ...".

These quotes suggest that everybody can:
- use w3.css file,
- download it,
- provide it from one's page (so, distribute),
- customize.

However, it is not clear if one can put customized w3.css on one's page.

If W3Schools agrees with this, it should be stated and probably some conditions should apply. Just one example: I suppose that authors, Jan Egil and Borge Refsnes, would not be happy if somebody distributed modified file with their names without any information about changes.

Even more uncertain one may feel using w3codecolor.js. On page

http://www.w3schools.com/w3css/w3css_code.asp

we read "You can download" it and "use". One can of course use it from the link provided by W3School. However, it is unclear if one can put this file together with one's web page (so, distribute it). Even without any changes, and without real intent of distributing it (one just puts it on other server to highlight some code, and does not want to depend on internet connection with the W3Schools server).

Both files include only very short information about authors and version. It would be nice to read there more details about what users are allowed to do. I am very thankful for all the goodies W3Schools provides. These two files are very, very helpful. Probably the intent is that everyone can "free of charge, use, copy, modify, distribute this file if above copyright notice, this permission notice and a list of changes are included" (I am writing only about w3.css and w3codecolor.js).

I, and probably all your fans, would be very grateful to clarify this "modification & distribution" issue.

Edited by piotrek

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When they say you can use it, that means you can do whatever you want with it. Something like CSS would be very difficult to copyright in the first place, but when they specifically say there is no license for it then that means there are no restrictions.

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It does not work this way. "No license" means exactly something opposite - "full copyright restrictions". I gave an example of use of w3.css which probably would not please original authors.

 

Nothing must be done to copyright these pieces of code. As they meet the basic copyright requirements, they are copyrighted from the moment they were created (in fact, even substantial parts were copyrighted already during creation).

 

I understand the intent of authors to give it free. However, as I point out, the present information in the files and on the web is incomplete.

 

Let's imagine we find somewhere these files - they contain no information about allowed use. We go to the web page. We read what I summarized. Still it is not clear if one can distribute changed w3.css and if one can distribute (even unchanged) w3codecolor.js.

 

The whole thing with GPL, MIT etc. licenses is about this issue.

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I gave an example of use of w3.css which probably would not please original authors.

I don't think they would care, actually. If you make some changes to the code and use it on your site and keep the comment with their names, I don't think that's a problem for them. If you make a bunch of changes and then post it on your site and tell people to download and use it, I would think that you would want to change the comment to reflect your role but, if you don't, I don't think they're going to have a personal problem with that either.

 

I understand the intent of authors to give it free.

I think that a court would see that intent also, if you're worried about breaking any law. Make screenshots of the page showing their language describing their intent and there you go. If they want to attach an explicitly permissive license then they can do that, but the way I read that page is that they are saying that it is in the public domain. You don't need a license to use things that are in the public domain.

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