Members of the International Digital Publishing Forum have voted to approve the proposed plan to combine the IDPF, a standards organization for electronic publishing, with the World Wide Web Consortium.
The vote was 72 in favor and 10 opposed (88% in favor and 12% opposed) with 4 abstentions. The vote total represents 66% of the IDPF’s 130 members in good standing (which means members who have paid all dues).
The proposal is still subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements between the two organizations. According to a statement from the IDPF, the proposal will move forward and the intent will be to complete the merger by January 2017.
Although the merger has been approved, the battle to get it passed has been contentious. OverDrive CEO Steven Potash, who founded the Open E-Book Forum, the predecessor to the IDPF, has been a vocal critic of the merger since it was put before the IDPF membership in Chicago at BEA.
Potash is critical of the benefits of the merger, which will end IDPF as a standalone organization and transfer all of its intellectual property—specifically the ePUB e-book file format standard—to the W3C. He has said that the merger will remove the publishing industry’s influence over the continued development of the ePUB e-book format, which was developed by the IDPF.
Potash even went so far as to create a website that addresses issues with the merger proposal.
Asked for a response to the IDPF vote, Potash said he was “disappointed that I didn’t get to organize and share information about significant and better options than this merger.”
He again described the vote as “rushed” and said he was reaching out to “other stakeholders” and would continue to evaluate other options.