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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Level of detail needed in a TC Charter

Hi Paul,

Here is what I am thinking, in regards to your responses.

That is precisely correct. There are some political issues that have
to be settled before this group can be moved forward. If no one is in
charge as Rob says, then we've got to decide how we are going to make
decisions before we can make any decisions.

One of the important things in all TC's is to take all politics out of the discussion and make sure things are unbiased and free of influence. Yes, it can't always be done, but isn't that rather imperative to seek at all times? Saying that there are political issues, introducing them, etc is like protesting production of something before the product is even designed,  at least to me it would seem that way, no? I believe plenty of chairspersons have stepped down on account of bias, although a few we can think of have obvious bias but refuse to admit it (Rick Jelliffe can be a perfect example of extreme bias but continual denial of impartial viewpoints and decisions) 

The battle is not over the format to use for the charter. That is a
straw man argument. The battle is over what words go into the the
format. And the threshold requirement is that what goes in the format
must be lawful. Standards formations groups are not an appropriate
forum for big vendors to have their way. Under the Sherman Act, the
guiding light is whether the language is pro-competitive. If the
language serves to limit anti-competitive abuse, then it ougjt to go

How is this a straw man argument? The point of the TC right now is to define the goals of the TC! That is what we have been discussing. They said (off my memory, not verbatim)  "we'll go over a question a day to define the parts of the charter".  We haven't even gotten beyond that yet. Note the items crossed off on http://sites.google.com/a/odfiic.org/tc/ . These are things we have now addressed. Also, as far as lawful, we aren't lawyers, and no matter how close to legalese we write something, we cannot endorse it as lawful if there are no lawyers. I have a question in that regard.:

1: Do you have law experience? I try to follow law as much as I can, I enjoy it, but I am not a lawyer. I mentioned previously that things should be made as clear and concise as possible, but that doesn't mean we can define our own definition of lawful and then later in your own post you suggest something that doesn't have a law basis behind it after having said we need to follow something on the basis of law. Which is it, Paul?

Under antitrust law, the "audience" is the range of consumers whose
needs will be fulfilled by the market created by the standard to be
developed. Everything else is irrelevant to this category. Focus first
on market requirements that will be fulfilled and we can get to
consensus on who the audience is pretty fast. This drafting of the
charter before assessing what market requirements will be fulfilled is
a lousy way to write a charter. We haven't even achieved consensus yet
on whether there will be a deliverable that will actually achieve ODF
interorperability. If we don't have that as an agreed goal, the
criminal penalty exposure is up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a
$1 million fine per participant. The civil liability exposure is
treble the damages of all co-conspirators' acts, with each
co-conspirator liable for the entire amount individually. Voluntary
standards organizations and their participants who get out of line are
regulated as Sherman Act section 1 conspiracies in restraint of trade
by U.S. courts.

 Where do you come up with the fact that whether or not we have a goal for the TC we can found liable? Include more information on where you come up with such a legal basis here. Oasis is International, not US, right? Correct me if I am wrong on that please.

Wrong. The fact that other people have violated the law and got away
with it is no defense. Very few of the OASIS TC's I've looked at have
legally defensible charters. They were drafted by non-lawyers who
guessed about what all the big words meant and looked to what other
people had done rather than to the law for definitions.

I don't believe we have lawyers at this stage in the TC. So now what, hmm? Can you really expect lawyers to be able to review and write every single document? If we did that at UL we wouldn't write standards. We wouldn't even have standards. They'd take so long to be reviewed and we'd require such an excessive volume of legal teams that by the time a standard would be legally sound it would already be irrelevant/out of date.  It's only the last 10-20 years that legal liability has gone off the deep end and now people are fraught with unnecessary legal issues. Lets deal with this after the TC is even created?

Wrong again. So far we're building off what Rob Weir wants. But he has
a big company that will pay any damages awarded against him. The rest
of us need to be more cautious, expressly because we have 800-pound
gorillas who created the interop mess to begin with walking amongst

Where are we doing what Rob wants? He's helping direct us, not saying "my word is god".Someone has to manage, after all.   don't agree with your paragraph here. About your 800 pound gorilla,I will do what I will do and support the TC the best I can irregardless of any and all legal liability. I don't care if you have a shotgun to my head or an 800 pound gorilla in your corner. I'm going to support things how I do, because that is my choice. This isn't an ignorance thing, or a having brass balls thing. It is a refusal to follow legalease when it is not there. To expect the world to just "stop" because ODF's TC charter isn't formally sponsored by a lawyer, well,  won't work would it?  

We'd  be better concerned with whether we have a wheel at all than
whether our wheel looks like all those square wheels Rob wants us to
draw guidance from.

Are you saying that you should decide what we're doing, or we all should?   What are you saying with this part?

If you want a compact overview of the law governing interoperability,
I have a draft synthesis of it in the form of a candidate successor to
the various definitions of an "open format" floating around that were
not drafted by lawyers.
<http://www.universal-interop-council.org/specification>. I caution
that this is the first public draft of a project with a long way to
go. I cannot say with confidence yet that there are no substantive
errors, particularly in the area of accessibility. But most of it is
quite solid.

So as I said above, you're promoting your own idea? It's detailed, but I can't say whether or not I agree. It's too long and complicated to just say "it looks good" or not, and way beyond something that the average person will understand. This is like throwing a EULA at someone, but you added your own usage for common knowledge phrases, such as "Vintage", and platform neutral. While you and I understand what these mean, are they legally recognized in the same definition you use them? I can say that the answer is likely no. Dont get me wrong, its clearly written, but it would warrant more review for me to hold an opinion. Maybe you and I can bounce some non-list emails back and forth with questions I have about this, I don't want to spam the mailing list with the questions.

Wrong again. You should not be trying to define it. You should instead
be concerned about what the legal definition is. And Michael Brauer is
a decidedly poor source of information about interoperability. I
worked closely with him (actually in spite of him) on the ODF TC, and
Michael Brauer's more than obvious mission is to make sure that no one
else can interoperate with his company's apps. Michael Brauer is the
guy who made ODF the interop mess that it is. From long experience,
anything Michael Brauer says about interoperability should be presumed
to be an obfuscation designed to thwart interoperability. I have not
seen the man do anything but make the interoperability mess worse. It
is a fundamental error to look to the big vendors for a solution to
the interop problem in the office productivity software sector. They
*are* the problem and Microsoft is not the only 800-pound gorilla that
plays vendor lock-in games.

I agree MS isn't the only company that has caused numerous problems with any form of interop. I agree that Michael Brauer seems to hold similar principles to MS, but any thoughts derived from xyz person in OIIC is good or bad are a waste of process. We're here to make things happen, not take into account whether someone doing the work is a good person in our perceptions or not.

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