I'm writing a book largely based on a OASIS open standard. I assume this would constitute derivative work. I wondering about the following phrasing in the copyright.

The document(s) and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works...

If I do a derivative work it says the copy right notice and paragraph needs to be included. Does that mean that I just add this as a attribution att the end, or will this copyright then cover the entirety of the book and allow others to copy it freely?

Copyright notice in full https://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ciq/copyright.shtml

  • 1
    Don't assume that merely because you are writing about an OASIS standard that your book is necessarily a derivative work of that standard. You own the copyright on your own words, even if you are describing what someone else has written. If you quote bits of the standard then that is Fair Use. Jun 29, 2019 at 9:23
  • Right, but the tricky part is of course, where is the line between describing a work and derivative work? For example, if only the sentence structure qnd worsing change, i guess this would count as derived work? Jun 30, 2019 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


Whoever wrote this standard didn't write your book and therefore has no copyright on it, except for the parts derived from the standard. So it doesn't make sense that a copyright notice would claim copyright on your book. Just including the copyright notice would only cause confusion, because a copyright needs to be formally transferred. (Even with the notice, you would still be copyright holder. But if anyone creates a derived work assuming the notice - which you put there - refers to the whole book, you'd have a very hard time claiming damages. So it's a bad idea to include it).

I would write "This book is based on the so-and-so standard" followed by the copyright notice and license, which makes it clear that the copyright notice and license refer to the standard, not your book. Do the wording a bit more careful then I did, perhaps consult a lawyer who is better than me and you at finding the exact right words.


You must include the notice and it allows others to copy your work and distribute it freely.

Alternatively, you can contact the copyright holder and attempt to negotiate a different licence or ensure your work stays firmly within the fair use/dealing exemptions to copyright law.

  • 1
    Not to criticize your answer, but just to answer the other part of the question, no it does not me that it covers the entire book.
    – Putvi
    May 29, 2019 at 21:35
  • @Putvi I disagree, the notice requires verbatim duplication so it would extend to the derivative work.
    – Dale M
    May 29, 2019 at 21:41
  • I guess it depends on what is in the book exactly, but a book on the standard could have other things that would not be derivative throughout in all cases.
    – Putvi
    May 29, 2019 at 21:45
  • "the notice requires verbatim duplication so it would extend to the derivative work": it's not as simple as that. Any use of the original work that would be allowed without express permission does not require the copyright notice to be reproduced. This answer acknowledges that in its last sentence, but it's not clear from the question whether the contemplated use in fact requires permission, and the answer should mention that.
    – phoog
    Sep 19, 2020 at 18:13

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