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Subject: Agenda OASIS Legal XML Member Section Electronic Contracts Technical Committee Meeting from Secretary (File id: @@2560)

               Minutes Teleconference August Third
           Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems

Daniel Greenwood
Laurence L. Leff, Ph.D.
Peter Meyer

Since we only had three people on the conference call, we recognized
that this was an informal meeting discussing the selection of a
contract schema.

This discussion focused on the Business Narrative Markup Language (BNML)
from Elkera.  It included, not necessarily in this order:

Mr. Meyer was thanked for offering the XML Schema to OASIS.  There was
a discussion of the legal language to license.  We anticipate that Mr.
Greenwood would get draft language from Mr. Jamie Clark of OASIS for
Mr. Meyer's consideration and possibly sharing this with his attorney.
Mr. Meyer does not anticipate making any of BNML's software open source
at the present time, submitting the Schema to OASIS.  Mr. Meyer wants
to ensure that Elkera could continue to use the schema including using
it for other types of documents.  This may involve us using a different
name than Business Narrative Markup Language.

It was pointed out that the Court Document Subcommittee of the
Electronic Court Filing Committee of OASIS is restarting its efforts.
One would hope that they could share the same markup for its narrative
part as we would be using.  That way, a law firm would have the
advantage of using the same schema for both its litigation documents
and the contracts that it prepared.

In the last meeting, there was discussion of the looseness of the schema.
To concretize this, if we decided to use BNML as our host schema, one
would use item tags for what would be considered a clause
in a contract and a block tag for what would be a paragraph.
Assume one had a "clause" with one paragraph.  In a loose schema,
a human could write this as simply an item tag with text directly
inside it.  Similarly, if one had a "clause" with a list in it, 
one could put that list directly in the clause without an 
intermediate "block" tag.

Sometimes, a contract in XML might be prepared by a tool designed
specifically for this purpose.  In other cases, it might be prepared
in a more general XML tool such as XML Spy or an ascii-editor such as
vi or Notepad.  In the first case, it can be expected that the contract
would be a tighter specification.  In the second case, a looser
form would be accepted.  A tool specifically for dealing with contracts
would output the XML in a tighter or "canonical" form.
However, a tool expecting input prepared by a human would accept the
"looser" form.

However, all realized that this extension or modification of the scheme 
can be considered after choosing a host schema.

There was a discussion of contacting representatives for the other schemas
that are candidates for Host Schema.  One member was anxious to proceed
quickly and not let the "best" be "an enemy of the good."  There was concern
that the selection of a host schema could continue for "year."

However, it was was charged to Laurence Leff, Ph.D.  as our TC's
Secretary to write these letters.  He will indicate that we are about
to make a decision and that there is urgency that they reply to us.
Also, he will ask Microsoft about intellectual property issues and how
they would handle foreign tags. These would be our extensions including
blocks for written signatures and the lists of parties.

Mr. Daniel Greenwood will call a meeting for August Tenth at 18:00
specifically to consider approving the Elkera BNML proposal as our
host schema.

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