Just an update from our end: I am still working with our General Counsel to get answers to the questions, but it's going to take a bit. So please bear with us but we'll get an update to you in the coming weeks after we get back from LeWeb.
Thanks, Ryan On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 9:12 AM, DeWitt Clinton <dclin...@gmail.com> wrote: > Hi all, > > I recently received a request to implement the "retweet" api calls in the > python-twitter and java-twitter libraries, but before I proceed I was hoping > for a bit of clarification around the licensing terms for the Twitter API. > > My layman's understanding is that without explicit terms there are > relatively few rights offered by default regarding a specification. In > particular, I have a few questions about copyright, trademark, and patents > rights being offered to implementors of the Twitter API. My longstanding > sense is that Twitter has indicated the spirit of offering the API under > generally permissive usage rights, so hopefully this thread can move the > discussion forward a bit and perhaps turn that spirit into something more > formal. > > > *Copyright* > > **Question: Under what terms may third-party library and application > developers use the text and images associated with the Twitter API > specification? > > Example use case: Third-party library developers would like to copy and/or > modify the text of the Twitter API specification in the library's > documentation. This is preferred over inventing new text for the > documentation, the meaning of which could deviate from the canonical version > in the Twitter API specification. > > Potential concern: Without a copyright license, implementors may not be > permitted to use or reuse the Twitter API specification text in third-party > library documentation. > > Current state: While the Twitter API specification itself doesn't mention > copyright, the Twitter Terms of Service (http://twitter.com/tos) state: > "The Services are protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of both > the United States and foreign countries," which could reasonably be > interpreted to apply to the Twitter API service as well. > > Possible desired outcome: The Twitter API specification is made available > under a permissive and derivative works-friendly copyright license, such as > the Creative Commons BY or BY-SA license. > > > *Trademark* > > Question: Under what terms may third-party library and application > developers use the various registered service marks of Twitter, Inc? > > Example use case: Third-party library authors would like to use the words > "twitter", "tweet", "retweet" (all live service marks of Twitter, Inc) in > their libraries. This is preferred over third-party library authors > inventing new terms for API methods such as "retweet". > > Potential concern: Without terms that specify where and how the various > registered marks can be used, third-party library implementors may or may > not be permitted to use terms such as "twitter", "tweet", "retweet", etc., > in their libraries. > > Current state: The Twitter Terms of Service (http://twitter.com/tos) > appear to prohibit such use: "Nothing in the Terms gives you a right to use > the Twitter name or any of the Twitter trademarks, logos, domain names, and > other distinctive brand features." > > Possible desired outcome: Twitter publishes acceptable-use guidelines for > registered marks in third-party libraries and third-party applications. > > > *Patent* > > Question: Under what terms may third-party library and application > developers make use of current or future patent claims made by Twitter, Inc? > > Example use cases: A third-party developer may wish to implement an > independent service that conforms to the Twitter API method signatures, or a > third-party developer may wish to implement a library that implements > portions of the Twitter API on the client. > > Potential concern: Without terms that specify how third-party developers > may use patent claims (if any) made by Twitter, Inc, implementors assume the > risk of potentially infringing on current or future claims made by Twitter. > > Current state: Twitter (to my knowledge) has made no statement regarding > patent claims with respect to implementations of the Twitter API. > > Possible desired outcome: The Twitter API specification is made available > under a patent agreement, such as the Open Web Foundation Agreement ( > http://openwebfoundation.org/legal/), or a similarly permissive agreement, > such as the Microsoft Open Specification Promise ( > http://www.microsoft.com/Interop/osp/) or a Google-style patent license ( > http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/patent-license.html). > > > ... > > I realize that these are meaty (and potentially legally sensitive) > questions of course, and likely ones that are not easily answered in a > public forum. However, any feedback from the team would certainly be > appreciated. > > The fact that people are even thinking about these types of questions is a > good thing, both for open specification development in general, but also > because it shows how successful and important the Twitter API is today. So > again, continued success with the API, and I look forward to hearing more > from the team. > > -DeWitt > > > > >