What legal issues should this project address? The needs of the project, not entry content. [PhilWolff]
Would it be helpful to incorporate? If so, where and in what form?
Is for profit or non-profit organization anticipated.
Would it helpful to file defensive patents, putting them into public domain? Or taking other defensive measures against another patentholder?
[Skware] IANAL, but I believe that you cannot patent anything for which there exists prior published art. This wiki is a a public publication, and hence nothing arising directly from it would be Patentable (by anyone, not just the people on this wiki). Yes I realise that this is an extreme simplification of the issues, please correct me if I'm wrong here btw.
[PhilWolff] I believe you may be right, to a degree. Patents build on prior art, patented or public. The patent is often for the unique combination of methods, novel uses of old things, and for incremental innovation over prior art. If I invent a new avionics method for controlling a wing surface, I can't patent the airplane; just my improvement. But I don't know if someone else writing publicly about the idea is sufficient to place it firmly in the public domain.
What terms should we trademark? Where? In what forms?
What is the domain name requirement, if any, for the project. Is .com or .org necessary. Is a unique fusion, empty vessel name wanted, or something which may be used for purposes far afield from this technology? Many words are shared as brands by a variety of products and services, such as Maverick - or Apple. Other are unique and usually invented, and generally either protected from other uses, such as Kodak, or lost through generic adoption, like aspirin or formica.
How should we copyright this wiki?
How should we copyright formal documentation?
[KenMacLeod] Formal documentation should follow the IETF/Oasis (preferred) or W3C licences. The IETF and Oasis licences, for example, are comparible to the CreativeCommons Attribution-NoDerivs license with the additional right to create derivative works that use portions (unaltered) of the original. The W3C license specifically disallows that. We could also use the CC Attribution-NoDerivs license with that added right to use portions, which would possibly be the best way to go.
[KenMacLeod] The copyright of normative documents should belong to an organization whose charter is clearly "open" in nature and in event of succession. IETF, Oasis, W3C, and ISO are all such organizations. For various reasons, including vendor awareness and perceived authority, a major organization should likely be chosen over forming a project-specific organization.