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- To: cl-steering@SU-AI.ARPA
- Subject: Specification Document
- From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>
- Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1986 00:17 EST
- Sender: FAHLMAN@C.CS.CMU.EDU
We need to keep moving on getting a document together, if indeed that is
going to be the central focus of our effort.
Several people on the technical committee have expressed a desire to get
a copy of the Lucid document so that we can all discuss what mixture of
materials we want to use. Dick, is it possible to send copies to
everyone on the technical committee? Presumably everyone has a copy of
CLtL, which is the other likely source of material.
It would certainly be simplest all around to develop a public-domain
document, but I see several problems with this. First, Bob Mathis says
that ANSI likes to copyright their standards documents. Second, Digital
Press might be more willing to grant ANSI permission to create a
derivitive work incorporating material from CLtL than to drop a lot of
material into the public domain. Third, once the work is in the public
domain, nobody has any control over it at all, and a confusing array of
mutant versions could appear.
Let me propose the following model to see if it sounds good to all of us
and, if so, whether we can sell it to ANSI, Digital Press, and Lucid's
The standards document that we develop for Common Lisp would contain the
following copyright notice (language subject to tuning if we can get
some legal advice):
Copyright (c) 1986, 1987 American National Standards Institute
[[ Is that what ANSI stands for or did I guess wrong? ]]
Permission is hereby granted for any individual or organization to
reproduce the contents of this document without charge, in printed or
computer readable form, provided that the following conditions are
1. Every copy must include this copyright notice.
2. The text of this document must be reproduced in its entirety, without
any deletions or alterations.
3. Material may be added to the text of this document, but all such
material must be clearly marked as not being part of the original text.
Digital Press would grant permission to ANSI, in advance, to produce a
derivitive work incorporating portions of the text of CLtL, with the
understanding that the result would be published with the copyright
notice and permission statement listed above. The letter would make
clear that this permission in no way limits Digital Press's right to use
the original material themselves or to authorize the creation of new
editions or other derivitive works for their own use.
Lucid would agree to the same thing with regard to their manual.
Once these agreements are in place, I suggest that we copy the sources
to these documents to CMU. I am willing to coordinate the task of
producing a new document, given these sources, and to do most of the
necessary rewriting as decisions get made. (I will be looking for help
on specific chapters and issues, however.) The new document would
appear chapter by chapter in a directory that everyone in the Common
Lisp community could access. As I mentioned earlier, there would also
be a file listing all of the known differences between the new document
and CLtL and perhaps some other supporting docuemnts not part of the
If ANSI agrees to the "anyone can copy" provisions described above, I
have no major problem with developing this thing under the ANSI
copyright from the start. However, as of today we have no standing
within ANSI, and I'm not sure that it is appropriate for this document
to be "owned" by ANSI until it has been endorsed by X3J13 and accepted
by ANSI. There's the interesting question of who would own the document
if, for some reason, ANSI rejects it -- we would want to be in a
position to distribute the document and use it as an informal de facto
standard in that case.
Given that, perhaps the right move is to replace ANSI with "us" in the
above copyright notice and agreements, and to assign the copyright to
ANSI when and if they adopt the document as a standard. "Us" in this
case could be a non-profit corporation set up for the purpose -- The
Common Lisp Technical Committee, Inc. -- or it could be, say, the
chairman of the technical committee who would informally agree to hold
the copyright in trust for the whole group. The corporation is the
cleaner solution, but nobody answered my earlier query on what it would
take to form one, so I don't think any of us want to go through the
Please let me know what you think of this plan. Perhaps Bob Mathis
could sound out ANSI on whether they would agree to something like this,
Steele could sound out Digital Press, and Gabriel could talk to Lucid's
lawyers about it. We should find out about the plan in which the thing
is copyrighted by ANSI from the start, and also about the plan in which
one of us holds the copyright until the thing is approved.
It would be very nice if we could get this all settled within a week or
two, so that we can start the real work.