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Subject: OASIS and IP - Moving Forward ... RAND for Requirements

Dazza Greenwood made some comments about the historic use of royalty
free and copyleft methods in OASIS. While we appreciate his input, I
wanted to correct a few statements. It's good to have a clear
picture of where we have been, in order to see where we are now and
may be going in the future.

*  In 2002 (when Dan and I both were LegalXML and OASIS members), OASIS
was operating under its 1999 IPR Policy, which permitted members to
disclose claims and offer licenses, but made no specific provision
to assure royalty free standards. The LegalXML group mostly was
driven by government agencies who were donating their work for free,
and wanted the specification outputs to be free also.

*  As Richard Stallman and others have pointed out, it’s important not
to confuse concepts. "Free", "open source", "copyleft" and "GPLed"
software are four distinct approaches. Those licensing methods apply
mostly to software; there's no such thing, for example, as a
copyleft *specification*, which is the most common type of output at

*  What the original LegalXML group wanted for its specs was "royalty
free and nondiscriminatory" licensing of any necessary contributed
technologies. This can be seen in the original charters, e.g.: 
http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200207/msg00007.html .
They got that, by adding that clause to their TC charters.

*  In 2005 we revised the OASIS IPR Policy, to require that every TC
designate a licensing mode. We asked the LegalXML MS Steering
Committee to review the draft policy and the two Royalty Free modes
we'd drafted.  They did, and reported that they met LegalXML's needs
just fine.  Our Board approved that Policy, it’s in use today, and
each of the continuing LegalXML TCs happily elected the 'RF on
Limited Terms' mode.  The 2005 Policy has better, clearer protection
for parties who want royalty-free standards than did the 1999 rules.
Dan's eContracts TC issued its spec under the old rules, because
they closed before the transition to the new policy; those licensing
terms simply were a weaker subset of the current 'RF on Limited
Terms' mode.

*  The fit between OASIS TC IPR modes and FOSS implementers seems to be
working fine. We have had many, many open-source licensed, and free,
implementations created for our RF specifications. For example, see
the posted opinion rendered by Eben Moglen for the Apache 

*  Of course the FSF's requirements may not be everyone's, so we always
continue to evaluate, and talk with implementer groups, about how
our TC and IPR disclosure and licensing rules work for them. For
example, we are actively in chats with the big open source
communities in the OpenDocument and identity management domains, to
make sure our work process and work outputs are freely accessible.
We'll always be interested to hear if there are concrete additional
ways that we can serve those communities, and all groups who
implement open standards.

Regards JBC

~ James Bryce Clark, Director of Standards Dev.
~ OASIS:  advancing open standards for the information society
~ http://www.oasis-open.org/who/staff.php#clark

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