BTM BOK Licensing – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Licenses Frequently Used for Methods Developed with Eclipse Process Framework (EPF)
- Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)
- Eclipse Public License (EPL)
- European Union Public Licence (EUPL)
- Comparison with Several Other Licenses
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Why is the BTM BOK licensed as Free/Libre/Open Specification (FLOS)?
- Who benefits from a FLOS strategy?
- Why should any organization (non-profit or commercial) release its specifications as CC-BY?
- What happens if organizations continue to favor proprietary copyrights?
- What are an organization’s advantages to release their assets immediately?
- How can our organization get involved in the BTM BOK initiative?
1. Why is the BTM BOK licensed as Free/Libre/Open Specification (FLOS)?
We follow a FLOS strategy as we want to encourage reuse everywhere, ensuring the widest uptake and strongest critical mass of users. A rapid growth will generate interest also to attract the most motivated contributors as reuse becomes common practice. We also adopt licenses that provide freedom, without obligations to share-alike or copyleft, ensuring other groups that reuse our specs develop innovative ways that will help us promote our framework.
2. Who benefits from a FLOS strategy?
First, adopters that implement the framework will be free to customize it, and then share it outside in their ecosystem, without any concern whether it is used in commercial or non-commercial settings.
Second, organizations with proprietary specifications will find value in reusing a free generic core language, helping to map their assets to those of others, keeping mappings stable even if others change.
Third, academia will be free to build courseware derived directly from the text/contents of open specs, without having to negotiate with license owners, and relying on free open textbooks to benefit students.
Fourth, governments will find value in open specs that can effectively be reused and republished as policy documentation, without owing any royalty nor be concerned about costs of maintaining specs.
Fifth, vendors will want to reuse our assets commercially, refocusing their budgets on R&D instead of costly methods and specs, leaving our assets without commercial alternatives and less competition.
3. Why should any organization (non-profit or commercial) release its specifications as CC-BY?
There are more advantages than disadvantages in releasing your assets as CC-BY, EPL, EUPL, or other open source licences with the same features (i.e., ensure attribution, allow derivatives, allow reuse in commercial context, and not requiring any share-alike or other restrictive release conditions).
Obviously, if your assets are sold and generate revenue, this approach is an immediate loss. This is however a concern for very few organizations, and primarily those that are oriented toward commercial service. Most organizations nowaday donate specs/methods to end-users to promote learning and help them sample the relevance of other products and services (e.g., certifications, training, software).
Yet most non-profit associations have kept their specs, methods, and standards as proprietary copyright. Many are competing aggressively without much benefit, as the differences between specs are becoming less and less perceptible. The cost of maintaining, expanding, and diversifying these assets is also increasing as specs are becoming more complex and require more quality assurance processes. These initiatives dilute the efforts of their membership, and any delays in releasing new versions also creates concerns about the vitality of the organization and its ability to create a viable strategy for its profession.
Releasing assets as open source ensures that you avoid the costs of proprietary specs, broaden and diversify the reach of your brand, and gain access to new channels to recruit users and contributors.
4. What happens if organizations continue to favor proprietary copyrights?
From a public interest perspective, the enduring competition creates a vacuum in the availability of specs that allow and encourage integration among standards. Hence CIOs and other digital executives are left without a proper mapping as to how to manage the digital transformation. A “do-it-yourself” approach may work for a while, but in-house specs are not cost-effective nor benefiting from outside contributions. This is also affecting organizations concerned with regulatory compliance, where relying on external standards is a requirement, one that cannot be fulfilled given the absence of such assets.
The BTM BOK attempts to fill this vacuum by encouraging non-profit and commercial organizations to take a pioneering step in releasing assets, methods, and specs as CC-BY, EPL, EUPL, or similar licences. By putting an end to costly competition, these organizations will be recognized as those that unlocked the present situation, creating loyalty on part of adopters and contributors. As well, end-users will no longer be forced to “choose who’s the best”, as no organization will make such claims, relying on the BTM BOK instead as a neutral ground to resolve what elements and contents of specs shall be promoted.
5. What are an organization’s advantages to release their assets immediately?
Copyright owners are encouraged to benefit from the first-mover advantage, as “empty placeholders” throughout the BTM BOK will rapidly be filled by various organizations and contributors. Being a follower in this case leaves only the choice of “mapping” proprietary assets to the BTM BOK. A few years later, the odds are the cost of maintaining assets internally will become too large, and the choice of “reusing/integrating” some BTM BOK asset will be become inevitable. The outcome will therefore be the same as joining the BTM BOK initiative early on, without any first-mover, nor any copyright mention.
To ensure a first-mover advantage, the BTM Forum will sign an alliance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). It will first commit the BTM BOK development team in respecting the terms of the CC-BY or other open licenses, hence ensuring the way in which an organization’s brand is named in BTM BOK assets. It will also ensure that the organization remains in control of its brand and assets, as reuse does not in any way imply transfer of brand use, nor require any commitment on part of the organization.
However, for organization willing to make contribution, and benefit from the BTM BOK development team infrastructure and processes, the MOU can provide clauses for formal collaboration. It can ensure leadership roles of a certain portion of the BTM BOK assets development process, naming representatives to one or many of the 4 teams:
T1 - Contributors: delegate existing BOK task force members to take leadership of some parts of the BTM BOK.
T2 - Integration: engage directly with the BTM BOK staff/interns who will edit and map the various assets to one another.
T3 - Review: delegate senior leaders and co-authors of existing BOKs for quality assurance of BTM BOK assets and conformity to original meaning/intent of reused BOKs.
T4 - Oversight: elect representatives of your specific profession or specialization to guide the BTM BOK development team in releasing assets that serve your community’s interest.
6. How can our organization get involved in the BTM BOK initiative?
A list of committed organizations will soon be released, allowing others to decide whether it is worthwhile to benefit from the first-mover advantage. As very few are yet confirmed, making this move in 2019 shall prove most beneficial to all.