There's more than one way to ensure that your name is associated with
1. Use an approach like Linus Torvalds and mix your own name into the
project name (e.g. Linux, or like ReiserFS creator Hans Reiser)
2. Choose an appropriate virulent licensing scheme. A list of licenses
that would accomplish what you want can be found at The OSI Open
Source Initiative's site (
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/index.php ). The most prominent of
the licenses there is the GPL (GNU General Public License) - I have
used this license and similar ones in projects of my own and they are
usually pretty well fitted to insure that your copyright notices stay
in the files. My only warning about the licenses listed there is that
they partly inhibit the usability of your project in commercial
The MPL (Mozilla Public License) is also a license worth looking at if
you want to hard-wire your name into the license itself (search for
the term netscape in the license.
You might also need a special license for your normative documents
(best published with them) or at least list a copyright notice with
them. You can find a good example at W3C's Intellectual Property FAQ (
Make sure to have a close look at one of the normative specification
documents of the W3C, too. An example would be The Document Object
Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification (
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-DOM-Level-1/ ). Take a close look at the
copyright notice. I think that is something you could work with, too.
3. Provide online documentation for your project. Documentation is -
in my experience - something people are very happy to have but very
lazy do create. As long as your documentation is useful for the
project it will be linked to whenever the project is talked about...
which will also help you with search engines like google.
This way people who start inquiring about a project that is based on
your work will first be exposed to your documentation and will
associate your name with the project, probably long before they
actually get to do real work in this field.
I also recommend to actively supply links to your project documents to
search engines and to add meta-information (like author info).
4. Provide a central place for project development. If you manage to
lure developers to your project development site, you'll have direct
contact with them and also a lot of influence on future developments
and the creation of a core distribution. At the very least you will be
one of the administrators listed.
A good place to start would be opening a project at a site like
Sourceforge ( www.sourceforge.net ). This would also give you the
benefits of being able to use central source repository systems like
5. Post release notes to appropriate newsgroups (I won't suggest a
group here, as that is largely dependant on your idea of a target
audience) and supply links to software collection sites like Freshmeat
( http://freshmeat.net/add-project/ ). This will also act as
documentation later as to who a project originated with.
I hope this helps. In general I can assure you that Open Source people
are all aware of the work that other people put into creating
something new and appreciate the effort for the community. In my
personal experience Open Source people give credit where credit is
due, so I don't think you'll have to worry about being forgotten.
BTW: Your assumption that HTML is not owned by anybody is wrong as you
can read in the latest (and last) normative specification for HTML4.0
http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/about.html#h-1.4 ). In
most countries works by an author are automatically copyrighted to him
(also it helps to add an appropriate notice). More information on this
can be found for example at Dictionary.com (