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Subject: RE: [chairs] Reminder: Q&A on new OASIS policies

David and other OASIS colleagues,

First of all I am not an IPR expert and most regulators are not either. But
we are careful with contracts. Most government bodies never sign contract
without careful examination.  So there we are: trying to  develop a sensible
IPR policy to enable the work we do  and making sure everyone can  have the
benefits as is the nature of open standards.
When we had a discussion in or TC the opinion was that we probably could
accept one of the IPR policies. Knowing that most of this stuff has no
effect on most of us anyway because government employees are primary
responsible for national law.
This said the question is simple: does the board recognise that members
could be bound by  national law where they cannot refrain from. Of course
everything  those members bring to the table is open information anyway. So
I do not see big problems here, but perhaps I am simplifying the issue to
I recognise that for the real schema making TC this is an issue that need to
be solved.
Up till now I had the impression that TC's can perform a wide variety of
activities as outlined in my earlier mail. Until we hear otherwise we will
continue to do so. If OASIS wishes coordination tc's as tax-xml and E-gov
outside their premises we will go of course.

I do not know if your position David is to harsh. Our TC felt welcome within
OASIS even with our close links to the OECD. I warn for the effect of having
to actually sign  documents: it could backfire. You could do it otherwise by
just paying your subscription fee you agree with the rules. 

Perhaps a 4th policy is a solution, I do not know. The real question for me
is do we want to be a community as well as a standard setting body and
recognise the various positions we are in. Inside and outside US juridical

Harm Jan van Burg 
Chair Tax-xml TC
Netherlands tax- and customs administration

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: David RR Webber [mailto:david@drrw.info] 
Verzonden: vrijdag 22 oktober 2004 15:16
Aan: Burg, HJM van (DgB/INNOVATI)
CC: karl.best@oasis-open.org; chairs@lists.oasis-open.org; James Bryce
Clark; Scott McGrath
Onderwerp: Re: [chairs] Reminder: Q&A on new OASIS policies


Excellent response - thank you for taking the time to post this.

I am deeply concerned here.  

Some will dismiss this as over-reaction, but the the heart of this
is that we are now being denighed what previously had been
an option in the OASIS process.

The Board brushed aside the request for a 4th IPR mode - one that is
in-line with European patent law and IPR rules more in-line with ISO
and UN/CEFACT - where participants agree to operate in an
IPR-free-zone where they state they do not have
and will not seek any IPR restrictions on work contributed.

The Board composition IMHO  is unrepresentive of the overall interests
and consitutient mix of OASIS here.

When I hear that the Board is being directed by
patent lawyers from major companies and being instructed on
what IPR rules should apply - I seriously question what is transpiring

We are being told that these three IPR modes are the only ones we
can consider.  But who is telling us this?  Big corporate lawyers.

These same lawyers are saying that we can adopt royality-free policies
after the specification is approved.  This IMHO is just a trick.  Once
you have eaten of the fruit you cannot give it back - and they know that.

But there are alternatives clearly.  Each TC can decide to adopt in its
charter that the work is royality and license free and open and public
as part of the deliverables of the TC.  And that a condition for
participating in and contributing to the work to fulfil that charter is to
agree to that pre-conditionally.

We already have many TCs whose work is based on that principle.
Those TCs that need that should take steps to enact those directives
specifically to their Charters immediately IMHO.

Notice that none of those big corporate lawyers work for companies
that are contributing centrally to those TCs work.

This is all about trust, and openess - what we are being offered here by
the OASIS Board is a policy that condons the use of IPR-constrained work
and establishes that as the normal practice.  No surprise that big company
lawyers who get paid to make IPR should want that situation.

Harm, I too am working with governments, seeking to persuade them to
join OASIS and participate.  In fact one such is just making that decision
right now this month.  I have to make a decision this coming week to
call them and tell them to wait until this issue is resolved - since they
may not actually be able to participate come Janaury 1st, 2005 - since
none of their representatives will be able to sign the participation
agreement required.

We need a 4th non-IPR policy and mode, and support for that in the
policy and procedures.  Notice that people working to that mode can
join any TC freely and contribute anywhere.  Such people will be
welcomed into TCs since there is no question as to their integrity
and motives.  With other people who have chosen one of the 3 IPR modes
you constantly have to be asking yourself - hmmmm - is this XML schema
change they are suggesting something they have IPR on / pending / thinking
of / and I am going to have to license as part of the specifications?

This is fundamentally changing the entire character and nature of OASIS
and how governments will perceive it and respond to OASIS specifications
in future as you rightly point out. 

Thanks, DW

Burg, HJM van (DgB/INNOVATI) wrote:

>David, Karl and others
>I am glad you brought up the question on TC's like Tax-xml who are not
>directly creating specifications. This issue bothers me some time already.
>must admit that at first I had the impression that we have to find a new
>"home" for our work. I agree with David that signing new IPR policies could
>give implications especially with the regulators who are member. This
>question also arose when I am having talks with more regulators who are
>to join our efforts. Regulators begin to see the point that it can be
>effective to join up standards activities and not just wait for standards a
>appear from somewhere  they can adopt. In the past years many regulators
>chose to develop proprietary "standards" just because open standards work
>seems to be a process beyond their control and mostly far to slow. Because
>most regulators have the political power to impose proprietary solutions on
>the market, the are very tempted to do so as well. It is not without worth
>that the recent policy paper of my TC asking tax regulators to
>adopt open standards has passed the first stages of OECD adoption. But it
>fair to say this not about creating specifications.
>In the past to years OASIS supplied the platform to work on standards and
>standards adoption. We proved that this is worthwhile and some influential
>tax regulators recognised that.
>In a recent set of questions from the OASIS bureau I was demanded to reply
>why we had not produced standards yet and when we planned to do so. Of
>course I answered these questions but on the same time I am wondering is we
>as a TC are working within an organisation which recognises that the
>processes around standards not just mean developing schema's.
>During a recent face to face we had not much problems with the IPR
>Actually we made a decision on a IPR scheme. On the other end if the
>actually have to sign a paper most regulators might have to step back
>because lawyers could spend months to find out if the OASIS IPR policies
>conflict with IPR owned by individual country's. 
>So what I am saying; this area is unknown for many governments which are
>mostly open by nature to a large degree. But only within country limits. So
>although it is not a big problem in my mind, it could have serious
>implications for government members who already having difficulty in their
>organisations to explain why it is worthwhile to become member of bodies
>like OASIS.
>Harm Jan van Burg
>Chair Tax-xml TC
>Observer/liaison E-gov TC
>Ps sorry for my English, it is worse than my Dutch
>-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>Van: David RR Webber [mailto:david@drrw.info] 
>Verzonden: vrijdag 22 oktober 2004 4:16
>Aan: karl.best@oasis-open.org; chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
>CC: James Bryce Clark; Scott McGrath
>Onderwerp: Re: [chairs] Reminder: Q&A on new OASIS policies
>Thank you for organizing todays' session.
>I have one supplemental question.
>What about TC's that are not creating specifications? - eg
>e-Government TC, IHC TC, and then others like the docbook TC, TAX TC (which
>government regulations direct), XSLT and IIC test suites.  
>It seems odd - since you cannot patent these things - that they 
>should have to operate with rules that assume patents are in effect?
>For example how could say the IT Director for the Government of Ireland
>the e-Gov TC and sign an agreement stating that he or she will be abiding
>the IPR policies and assigning licenses to the TC?  I have a suspicion that
>such people would not be able to get their internal legal folks to sign-off
>on that, and / or it would take months to get an answer.
>Similarly how could the IRS have personnel sign agreements that OASIS has
>licensing rights over components, and that members IPR claims may have to
>licensed before the IRS could use those technologies, which the government
>is regulating and is 
>covered by Acts of Congress in the first place?
>We clearly do not want to be adopting policies that mean that certain TC's
>will cease to be able to function.
>In fact - is there a provision here that can state that where 
>conflicts occur for existing TC's that would cause them to 
>be unable to carry out the terms of their existing charters that such TC's
>can maintain that status-quo (eg backward compatibility will not be broken)
>and continue to operate until such time as their work in complete and their
>chartered tasks finished.
>Thanks, DW
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