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Subject: ACXO minutes on the XML Cover Pages

Hi Jon.

It's unclear whether I have any natural relationship to
XML.org and to the ACXO deliberations on the new XML.org web
site, but since my work on "The XML Cover Pages"
is referenced in the minutes of the recent ACXO meeting
[2001.04.30], I thought I might justifiably send this word
of inquiry.  Would you kindly forward this note to the
ACXO list if the mailing list software does not send it
through to the list subscribers?

I submit this request for clarification in a spirit of
willingness to cooperate creatively toward the support of
XML.org as best I can, while upholding the interests of
OASIS Sponsors, and personal concerns for the quality,
longevity, cohesiveness, and commercial value of my work.

Re the item in the ACXO meeting minutes: 

    "2. We recommend that XML.org provide the primary
    interface to the Cover Pages."

This recommendation of ACXO to the OASIS Board is puzzling
to me; to the extent that I can guess at a meaning, it's
also disappointing.  Perhaps if my puzzlement is relieved,
the disappointment will be banished as well.  I therefore ask
for clarification that you might be willing to offer.

I am puzzled for two reasons:

1. XML.org and The XML Cover Pages have been characterized to me
as two independent OASIS portal "business units", each with its
own cost center, revenue center, sponsors, and other accounting.
If this is accurate [placing here no judgment on whether this is
a good business strategy for OASIS], then I cannot understand
how it makes sense for the XML Cover Pages content to be
purveyed via/through an XML.org "interface", whether "primary"
or secondary.

A. Why should the financial sponsors of the XML Cover Pages be
   pleased to see the content they "pay for" be given to XML.org,
   where the brand/content benefit goes in significant measure to
   the financial sponsors of XML.org?

B. Why should the financial sponsors of the XML Cover Pages
   think this arrangement is fair, given that the sponsors of
   XML.org may have ZERO (!) commitment to the goals of OASIS, while
   they (the sponsors of the XML Cover Pages) are required to
   be an OASIS 'Sponsor' Member in order to quality for
   sponsorship of the XML Cover Pages? [My understanding is that
   XML.org sponsors need not be OASIS members at all.]

Could one not reasonably claim, under this arrangement,
that XML.org's commercial goals and the interests of its
sponsors are being subsidized by the OASIS sponsors of the
XML Cover Pages?

Such a strategy can have only one predictable effect: to make
the job of raising sponsorships for the XML Cover Pages more
difficult, if not impossible.  This proposed move simply adds
to the existing problem of a deck stacked very much AGAINST
the survival of the XML Cover Pages (brand), as hosted by OASIS.
I can only assume that the OASIS Board and ACXO are aware
of the several elements in this "stacked deck;" I suspect that
most impartial business people, OASIS sponsors or otherwise,
might consider the strategy hostile to the long-term welfare
of the XML Cover Pages database.

2. I am puzzled by the ACXO language which recommends making
XML.org the provider of the primary interface to the
XML Cover Pages.  This recommendation could possibly
make sense if the ACXO members are under the impression that
my work is a "work for hire" on behalf of OASIS -- which may
therefore authorize decisions about the constitution,
distribution, and use of my work as appropriate to any
typical work for hire.

Perhaps now is a good time to clarify to you that my services
to OASIS are *not* a work for hire, but are governed broadly by
principles of agreement that assume cooperation in strategic
decisions, including the two especially relevant notions:

a) that my work is to be understood as belonging to a
cohesive, coherent body of information having its own
distinct (brand) identity

b) that OASIS' use of the content I create, under various
alternative models (possible print format, etc.), is agreed
not to constitute creation of a derivative work that
is competitive to the XML Cover Pages

My puzzlement is simply this: I cannot envision a
meaning of:

  XML.org = "the primary interface to" "the XML Cover Pages"

which honors the principles of the OASIS agreement.  I am
sure the ACXO does not intend to recommend a decision
by the OASIS Board which would be inconsistent with its
commitments.  Can someone on the ACXO help me understand
the ACXO proposal in further detail: how it makes sense for
OASIS Sponsors, how it makes sense for me?

I feel that a range of excellent opportunities are available
for maximizing the (possibly under-realized) value of the
XML Cover Pages as an asset in the OASIS framework.  I see no
reason, theoretically, why XML.org could not also be part of
a creative arrangement, if the business model makes sense for
all the stakeholders. I pledge my willingness to creatively
cooperate toward the realization of those new possibilities. 
I hope that OASIS and XML.org management will be able to think
of me as one key "stakeholder" in the discussion.

Many thanks,

Robin Cover

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