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Subject: [rights-requirements] Royalty Free Requirement


I think we made substantial progress yesterday on a more nuanced 
understanding of the SBL requirement that XrML be royalty free.

Royalty free does not mean that all implementations of XrML be royalty 
free but that the language should be designed to avoid known IP such 
that royalty free implementations are possible. Implementers are 
responsible for determining if their implementations are in fact free of 
any IP claims, something that the TC would be ill suited to determine. 
What the TC can do is design the language with regard to known IP, such 
that royalty free implementations are in fact possible (with regard to 
known IP, not possible to design with regard to unknown IP). Ultimately, 
however, the responsibility for making a determination for any 
particular implementation falls upon the implementor.

Since implementation is likely to be a term we may understand 
differently, I have crafted a series of senarios that I don't think fall 
under any understanding of implementation to see if we are getting close 
to agreement.

Senario 1: I am teaching a course on markup languages and use either 
examples from the XrML standard or construct examples from XrML for 
display in a classroom for instructional purposes.

Conclusion: Not an implementation. (probably also allowed under a number 
of other statutory exceptions but I am focusing on the idea of 

Reasoning: The display and analysis of the markup that composes an XrML 
statement cannot be considered an implementation. There is no processing 
of the statement as part of a system that regulates access.

Senario 2: I assign the students in the course to prepare XrML 
statements that exhibit certain "rights" and request that they submit 
those statements electronically.

Conclusion: Not an implementation.

Reasoning: Like in senario 1, the XrML statements are not part of a 
system that regulates access.

Senario 3: I check the student submissions using the XrML schema 
definition using a Xerces XML parser.

Conclusion: Not an implementation.

Reasoning: The XrML statements are being processed but only to determine 
compliance with the XrML schema. Since they are not being used as part 
of a system to regulate access, not an implementation.

Senario 4: Assume that the students have XrML enabled web browsers and 
near the end of the term, I wish to post my course notes as an HTML page 
for their review for the final. I open my HTML editor (Emacs) and insert 
in the header of my HTML document, an XrML statement that limits usage 
in some way of the HTML page.

Conclusion: Not an implementation.

Reasoning: The students may be processing the XrML statement as part of 
a system but then one presumes the browser implementer has either 
produced a non-infringing implementation or has duly licensed the right 
to a particular implementation. Where I am concerned is with my rights 
to insert an XrML statement into a document, which I produced, that 
consists solely of my IP, plus statements from a language that I think 
we have all agreed will be the work product of an OASIS TC.

My activity is solely limited to insertion of the XrML statement such 
that I have produced a document that could be processed by an 
implementation but is not in fact an implementation itself.

I see implementation as the actual processing of an XrML statement for 
the purpose of regulating access or usage of a digital resource. Some 
implementations may be covered by ContentGuard IP, others may not be. 
What I am attempting to do here is delimit the range of what we are 
calling an implementation so we can focus on what parts of the language 
may or may not be tied to a particular bit of known IP.

Comments, suggestions?


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Co-Editor, ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps

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