[Members] XEP-0001: Remove impossible guarantee from XSF Objectives

Winfried Tilanus winfried at tilanus.com
Tue Jan 14 16:10:48 UTC 2020

On 14-01-2020 13:58, Matthew Wild wrote:


I am a bit reluctant to react: I don't want a discussion to polarize the
XSF. At the same time I do have an opinion on this and I want to voice
it, whatever the outcome of the discussion will be.

> I agree with Peter's proposal or similar wording that establishes that
> we will not publish standards with known IP claims. As raised by this
> proposal, I worry that the current wording may indeed misrepresent the
> amount of effort we currently put into researching IP issues when
> publishing XEPs. If anything I'd also like to add a disclaimer if we
> don't have such already. "We tried, but don't blame us if we missed
> something!".

One of great things about an open protocol is that it can create
interoperability between open and closed source software. For me that is
one of the powers of XMPP and I believe it should be a strong objective
of the XSF. So I think we should be a bit more explicit then 'just'
stating that that is our objective, I think we should explicitly state
(as Matthew does here) that we publish only protocols when we are not
aware of any intellectual property issues that are hindering the use of
the protocol in any kind of software. That is a bit stronger then Peters

A part of the world we have to deal with, is the world of big
corporations where the legal department sends guidelines to their
developers about what licenses to stay away from. An other part of our
world are projects that are open out of principle. An explicit statement
on IP would vastly help deployment in both worlds.

The XSF can not and must not shy away from legal issues. If you publish
standards you will have to deal with intellectual property. Declaring
legal issues to hard to deal with doesn't resolve them, you will just
loose control over them.

Put two lawyers in a room and they keep discussing until your budget is
drained, but they won't resolve the issue. To get a definitive legal
answer, you have to take it to the highest court of a jurisdiction.
Until that is done, everybody (including lawyers) will have to estimate
what a judge is going to say about something. We can do our best to make
good and well informed estimates, but we won't get certainty.


privacy strategist & privacy architect

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