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Subject: (Via Attachment - OASIS and IP - Moving Forward (was: Re: [oasis-charter-discuss] RAND for Requirements?))

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Evidently, there were formatting issues.  For your reading pleasure, I've re-sent as a PDF attachment to this e-mail.
Since PDF is not "Bot-Readable" usually, I have also included my direct e-mail address at the top of the document.
If there are any comments on this post, please use that address.
 - Dazza 

----- Original Message ----
From: "civicsdotcom-econtracts@yahoo.com" <civicsdotcom-econtracts@yahoo.com>
To: oasis-charter-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
Cc: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>; Abbie Barbir <abbieb@nortel.com>
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 7:36:33 PM
Subject: [oasis-charter-discuss] OASIS and IP - Moving Forward (was: Re: [oasis-charter-discuss] RAND for Requirements?)

Dear friends and colleagues,

The current dialog regarding IP on
this list is familiar in it contentiousness and the gap in perspective it reveals.  I humbly suggest for the sake of people's attention and in line with the purpose of this list, this dialog be moved to another or a new list, if there is sufficient interest in further discussing the relevant
issues.  I would
support carrying on the dialog and would be interested to hear
(off-list) whom else would also have interest.  I believe the issues are
fundamental to the suitability of OASIS to carry on certain types of
open standards, and generally important to the uneasy current balance
between cultures within OASIS.  My analysis and suggestions are below.

in sync with the sentiments expressed on openness regarding open
standards and open source, but am reluctant to compel companies or
individuals to give more detail on why they choose this or that IP
policy.  It is very important that we all, as professional who work
together voluntarily and in good will, be careful neither to impugn the
motives or truth-telling of others in our community, not be over
intrusive in changing other modes of doing business and cultural
expectations about spin vs. accuracy.  However, in a respectful way, I
wish to take this opportunity to more fully explore the important
issues raised by this topic.  I hope that the rift between advocates of
more fully operating in the public, non-commercial interest for such
applications as open government and open civic architectures can
continue to work with an in OASIS in the future - but the different
cultures jostling within OASIS would be well served by finding better
governance and
business processes to ease joining together with
like minded people who seek to get together to do the people’s work in
an open standards body.  

Please note that the instinct to ask
more and more questions about the motives of commercial organizations
regarding their IP is of limited and instantly diminishing value.  More
information freely given can be helpful, but it seems an odd practice
to force private businesses that exist, inter alia, for
proprietarization of software to speculate about or otherwise limit
their options by describing their inner motives for choosing a given IP
policy.  Compelled speech is usually a bad idea, even when required for
good reasons (and who, after all, is to judge what reasons are "good" -
so let's just say " even for reasons you agree with").  It also seems
to me that the choice of a policy that allows licensing fees and other
restrictions speaks for itself.  It is, in fact, a valid policy that
explicitly and impliedly conveys an array of options.  That is the
reason it was chosen - so the IP holders can gain access to that
horizon of IP licensing possibility.  In latin the phrase would be
"res ipsa loquitur" - the thing speaks for itself.  The choice of a
given IP regime puts everybody on notice of what *can* happen.  In my
experience, sensitively chosen language around choice of IP can serve
to obfuscate rather than clarify the relevant realities at play.  I'd
rather read a smarmy, crisp statement like "because it's a valid IP
choice" than the next most likely alternative - a paragraph of sculpted
PR language around IP that leave the head spinning without sharpening
access to relevant facts.

I support the evident intent behind
the suggestion that better information hence choice be available
regarding IP.  Here is some background on my perspective of the context
of this dialog in OASIS and the types of ways we can constructively
further evolve the culture and practices in OASIS to be more suitable
work environment for open, non-proprietary standards.

When I
helped to negotiate the merger of LegalXML into OASIS as a Member
Section, we found that our IP policies and culture was a clash with
that of OASIS.  This was because we forbade the licensing of our
end-product standards and other works anyway but by copyleft.  OASIS,
by contrast, permitted exclusive, proprietary, license fee copyright
terms.  The way I proposed we bridge the gap and preserve the explicit
and important commitment to a safe place to work on truly open
standards in the public interest was to create a legal bubble around
our Member Section wherein the participation and output of members
could only be contributed under the legal terms of our copyleft culture.

was not against this in principal, since they respected the choice of
members to select their IP environment and all I was doing was
suggesting a way members could self-select and group in a larger group
rather than TC by TC.  However, OASIS was unwilling to amend their
bylaws to reflect this arrangement, and since there was no other
obvious way to effectuate this goal, I proposed to LegalXML and OASIS
that we include a clause in our OASIS approved Member Section rules
that individually required every participant in a Technical Committee
(TC) formed under the LegalXML OASIS Member Section must abide by our
policy and refrain from making contributions that infracted the

Since there was no mechanism for getting individual
OASIS members and participants to agree (like a webform contract as
part of signing up to a TC), we decided to include the requirement in
the enabling charter of each TC, thereby defining and governing the
scope of authority and the valid processes of all work and arrangements
under or through that TC.  So, we inserted a clause in the Member
Section that included a block-quoted statement about IP that was
required to be present in the Charter of every TC created or operating
under the LegalXML Member Section, and that paragraph was vetted,
negotiated, amended and endlessly discussed before finally being

As it was reported to me, there was resistance by
representatives of certain large software companies relying upon closed
methods, proprietary licensing and continuing legal and network
controls over their products.  However, in the end, since it was
difficult to prevent good government people and open source/open
standards advocates from choosing their model of participation, the
plan was accepted.

I'm pleased to share, as Chair of this TC,
that our hard fought IP language appeared in the Charter and was
carried forward into the text of the OASIS eContracts TC final,
formally approved and released eContracts 1.0 Specification.  Sadly,
with the passage of years, eventually those who favor proprietary IP in
the standards context found an acceptable new plan, and the then new
now current OASIS IP Policy effectively repealed the deal between
LegalXML and OASIS that was so key to our merger.  On a personal note,
it felt like the old fire of openness fueling the early Internet was
being extinguished over years with a velvet hammer.  A “transition”
period was permitted by OASIS to the new policy, and our copyleft
commitment faded into the night of a long, cold winter. 

now the spark is blinking into existence again, as part of the new
exciting times we are living into.  The incoming Administration, for
example, is committed to a new brand of online public infrastructure
for civic engagement - they call it "Open Government".  Check out
change.gov if you want a taste of the bright, shiny future.  Many
individual and small team developers are again innovating through web
2.0 methods, community creation and relationship tools all freely
available as - in effect - public civic infrastructure.  My own efforts
lately have been in creating identity and community dialog civic public
open infrastructure through the eCitizen Foundation.  Open government
requires open standards and open architectures that are of, by and for
the people - not private infrastructures of standards with tolls and
checkpoints littering access and usability.  And eventually, those
infrastructures benefit from the formal, mature processes of standards
making by organizations like OASIS.  Will OASIS be able to evolve to
create a safe place within it’s mosaic of cultures for like spirited
people to work together in the public, open, free interests of the

While there will always be an important place in the
ecology of America's and the world's economy for proprietary solutions,
a new day is dawning and the original point of the Internet as a tool
to liberate individuals, connect communities and transform society is
returning.  Better ways to define public, free infrastructure for civic
engagement vs toll roads and gated communities will be needed for our
new online lives - a kind of re-zoning of cyberspace.  And some of the
online space and time must be reserved as "public", "open" and "free". 
That's where we will interact as civic participants, enjoying the
rights of free speech, free association, free assembly and helping our
public servants in government to better support our participation in
American self-governance.

The online infrastructures at all
levels of the stack, horizontally, vertically, diagonally and across
the business, legal, social and technical dimensions should be free,
public and open.  How, after all, can a private company be ceded
ownership of the means for self-governance in a free society without
that company, itself, being an organ of government and fully
transparently accountable and responsive to the people who use the
tools for their own self-governance.  Otherwise, an improper alignment
between self-interested private purposes can emerge in conflict with
the public purposes of civic engagement.  

Private software
companies would do well to buy their influence in Congress, the White
House and the Judiciary by paying lobbyists, lawyers and pressure
groups like everybody else - and eventually those process should be
reformed to prevent breakdowns in the system like the current economic
crisis.  But to extend the broken, closed and self-serving systems of
power to also control the matrix of standards, code and infrastructures
that comprise government of the immediate digital future is tantamount
to outsourcing the methods of sovereignty, and therefore ceding undue
influence over the possible options and results.  It’s a bad idea,
because it’s both anti-democratic and anti-market, preventing the broad
participation, competition and capacity to adapt that is a hallmark of
openness in the markets of ideas and solutions.  

It is better
for civic infrastructures that enable and contain public participation
in self-governance in a free society to be subject to open transparent
accountable systems and come from places like academia, non-profits and
civic groups than from large private companies because ownership and
control should be aligned in the public interest and not behind the
profit motive or a narrow special interest.

Eventually, I
imagine a cluster of standards, technologies and processes will emerge
as a suite of standards in an open architecture for online civic
engagement.  At that time the stewardship of oversight and steering for
that cluster will be transferred to a quasi-public agency of some kind
- perhaps like ICANN but with broader scope and hence different and
better participation in decision making and governance.  In the
meantime, as things get started at the next stage of adoption of a
networked society, use of existing open standards groups like OASIS
would be an optimal way to bridge from the past to the future.  Can
OASIS adapt to meet the challenges of standards making for open, public
civic infrastructure in the information age?

I hope that one day
soon OASIS will work with members who prize openness to create more
safe bubbles or other more workable and acceptable approaches for
like-spirited people to work together in the public interest within
OASIS.  Whether contained by the structure of a "Member Section", as I
legally and politically archtiected in prior years, or perhaps in some
new cross-boundary council or SIG - it's time for a change.  And better
commitment openness is change we need.  A broader community is needed
to work, not just isolated groups one TC at a time.  Based on prior
work along, OASIS deserves the chance to evolve and adapt to the new,
better times.  I encourage people who feel disgruntled by the current
IP postures to take some time to communicate, including with OASIS, to
explore potential better ways to work in the future.

Please take
heed of the underlying energy animating this thread - it is not so much
about gaining better clarity over the choice of IP in a rigid,
industrial after-the-fact comment process - I perceive it is really
about a call for change, a call for more and better methods to clearly
enable and promote openness that is not closed by proprietary ownership
and control, it's a call for OASIS to improve the culture by creating
work environments of people who share a commitment to  reform that in
some way allowed easier access to a broader culture of like-minded
volunteers who want to work on standards that are open inside OASIS
and/or in alliance combination with other groups.

- Dazza Greenwood

Dazza (Daniel) Greenwood, JD
Internet: http://CIVICS.com
Email: [i don't post my e-mail to OASIS lists to avoid spam]
Mobile: +1-650-504-5474

----- Original Message ----
From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>
To: Abbie Barbir <abbieb@nortel.com>
Cc: oasis-charter-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 6:28:05 PM
Subject: Re: [oasis-charter-discuss] RAND for Requirements?


Abbie Barbir wrote:
> Patrick
> RAND is a common mode of operation for Telecom industry.
> This has nothing to do with marketing, it only has to do with allowing
> Telecom providers to operate in SDO using the same environment that they
> are used to.
RAND is an *uncommon* mode at OASIS, although clearly permitted.

Perhaps we have different definitions of *marketing* if "allowing Telecom providers to operate in SDO using the same environments that they are used to" isn't marketing.

Quite frankly I would not deceive even a Telecom provider in order to get them to participate in OASIS.

The work product of the TC appears to not be subject to RAND in any meaningful way.

If it were, that would have been your first response.

So, let's simply tell the Telecom providers the truth, that RAND is meaningless for requirements and by extension for this TC.

Unless there is some problem with truth telling as a strategy?

Hope you are having a great day!


> Have a nice day
> Regards
> Abbie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patrick Durusau [mailto:patrick@durusau.net] Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 7:25 PM
> To: oasis-charter-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: [oasis-charter-discuss] RAND for Requirements?
> Greetings!
> The reasons given for RAND for this TC:
> Orit Levin:
>> 1. This TC is NOT going to produce any technical specifications.
>> 2. This TC is about gathering requirements backed up by use cases and scenarios and their applicability to existing technologies.
>> 3. This TC is about bringing as many as possible telecoms and vendors working in the Telecom area who feel most comfortable with RAND to contribute to the discussion.
> and, Abbie Barbir:
>> Plus I would add that we will be dealing with other SDO such as TM Forum, ITU-T etc.. and  working closely with them to get requirements from their documents. These SDO operate under RAND and as such this make the flow of information between the OASIS SOA TC and the other SDO more fluid.
> Seem very unpersuasive to me.
> First, I can't say that I am familiar with the practice of treating
> requirements as IPR. Can someone point me to known legal authority for
> the notion that a requirement is subject to some vendor's IPR? (Granting
> that if I publish a book with a list of requirements, my statement of
> the requirement may be copyrighted, i.e., "Text must be presented in a
> *bold* font." (copyright Patrick Durusau 2008) but the substance of the
> requirement itself, that is that users want to use *bold* text, I don't
> think is subject to any IPR claim.)
> Second, from what has been said the TC doesn't intend to produce
> anything that is subject to any known IPR claim, thereby rendering RAND
> rather meaningless.
> Third, following up on Abbie's comment, is making this TC operate under
> RAND a marketing strategy to make it more attractive to vendors who
> aren't advised well enough to realize that requirements are not subject
> to IPR? Or who take false comfort from committees that operate under
> While I am all for marketing OASIS as much as the next person I think
> offering meaningless RAND on material that cannot be the subject of IPR
> is a very bad marketing strategy. What do we say to those vendors who
> falsely took our word that the requirements produced by this TC were
> subject to RAND? Some dreaded FOSS group implements technology to meet
> those requirements more cheaply and efficiently than commercial vendors.
> Then what do we say? No, let's be honest up front with all our members,
> even commercial vendors.
> BTW, I think anyone who charters a TC under RAND should have to specify
> what IP is being contributed under what conditions so that OASIS members
> can make a determination as to whether they wish to participate or not. As far as I can tell at this point, neither Microsoft nor Nortel have
> any IP as traditionally understood to contribute to this TC. So, why the
> RAND? (Other than for false advertising purposes.)
> Hope everyone is having a great day!
> Patrick
> --
> Patrick Durusau
> patrick@durusau.net
> Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
> Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
> Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
> Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from this mail list, you must leave the OASIS TC that
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-- Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

To unsubscribe from this mail list, you must leave the OASIS TC that
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