[License-discuss] Derivative Works of a standard

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Sun Jul 8 16:28:14 UTC 2012

Grahame Grieve wrote:
> I am trying to pick an appropriate open license for a new standard in the
healthcare space.

Hi Grahame,

Please take a look at


Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)
3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482
Office: 707-485-1242

-----Original Message-----
From: Grahame Grieve [mailto:grahame at healthintersections.com.au] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 7:09 AM
To: license-discuss at opensource.org
Subject: [License-discuss] Derivative Works of a standard

I am trying to pick an appropriate open license for a new standard in the
healthcare space. The prospective standard and it's working license are

The working license is adapted from OMG. but I'm struggling to understand
the concept of derivative works when I consider the issue of standards.
What's a derivative work? As far as I can tell, it's any implementation that
complies with the standard, and that was written based on reading it. And
therefore, since the standards are - almost always - copyright, therefore,
any product that implements any standard needs to include the copyright
notice associated with the standard, per the recent emails on this list.

Clearly not, however, in practice. Why not? what's the difference?

Is it only a derivative work if it quotes at length from the source? more
than fair use? where do the html tutorials stand, then, that "derive" from
the html specification in violation of the w3c license?

I'm finding the concept of derivative works very difficult to define for a
And given the plain english intent of the standard at the link referenced
above (see below), does the osr have any suitable approved license? I can't
find one.
In particular, we cannot have a requirement to reproduce the
license/copyright statement in implementations of the standard...


    FHIR is C HL7. The right to maintain FHIR remains vested in HL7
    You can redistribute FHIR
    You can create derivative specifications or implementation related
products and services
    Derivative Specifications cannot redefine what conformance to FHIR means
    You can't claim that HL7 or any of it's members endorses your derived
[thing] because it uses content from this specification
    Neither HL7 nor any of the contributers to this specification accept any
liability for your use of FHIR
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