[Standards] XEP Authors
Guus der Kinderen
guus.der.kinderen at gmail.com
Fri Jun 9 07:49:43 UTC 2017
You're making sense to me (which appears to be a habit of yours *hattip*).
Dave's original question was if he should propose a policy change to the
Board. Although Dave certainly has a keen perspective of things, I think he
falls in the "engineer" category, more than in the "legal counsel"
category. Apologies to Dave if I sell him short here. Perhaps it'd be good
to take one step back, and propose that the Board finds legal advise on the
subject. We could look at larger standards development organizations, as
Peter suggested. Another option would be to reserve a certain amount of
money and seek legal counsel of our own. Also, some of our larger sponsors
might have inhouse legal departments. Perhaps they could help out.
On 9 June 2017 at 00:52, Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter at stpeter.im> wrote:
> First, the XSF does not currently have legal counsel. Engineers
> typically aren't good at devising solutions to legal problems. It might
> be advisable to see how larger standards development organizations (such
> as the IETF and W3C) deal with this problem before we jump to conclusions.
> Second, this problem applies to authors whose employers are tempting
> targets for litigation. That's certainly the case with the company
> (Cisco) referenced in the WebRTC-PC issue mentioned in the original
> message. Certain XEP authors happen to have been employees of that same
> company (me, Joe Hildebrand, and Matt Miller foremost among them)
> although we're not employed there any longer.
> Third, this gets complicated very quickly because of specification
> versioning. In the IETF, RFCs never change so you could know that (say)
> I was employed at Cisco when RFC 6120 was published but not when 6120bis
> is published (if we decided to work on that spec). When you have a
> "living standard" then those assurances aren't in place.
> Fourth, if you're a spec author and you (or your company) are worried
> about patent litigation, then it's incumbent upon you to pay attention.
> I'm not convinced that it's the SDO's job to protect you from yourself.
> My sense of the WebRTC-PC issue is that the spec author involved is very
> busy and wasn't necessarily paying attention all the time. The solution
> is to pay attention or remove yourself from the authoring team.
> On 6/8/17 4:16 PM, Guus der Kinderen wrote:
> > I am the first to admit that I have next to no legal knowledge, and I'm
> > not familiar with the background other than reading the comment that
> > Dave linked to, but: this feels like an overreaction to me. Because
> > (American - how does this apply to other countries?) juries assume
> > things, we need to consider making these changes? Isn't that to
> > On 8 Jun 2017 23:52, "Peter Saint-Andre" <stpeter at stpeter.im
> > <mailto:stpeter at stpeter.im>> wrote:
> > Sadly, I think this is necessary.
> > On 6/8/17 3:08 PM, Dave Cridland wrote:
> > > Folks,
> > >
> > > I came across an interesting case recently where a listed author
> of an
> > > open standard was presumed to know the contents of the
> > > fully - that is, as if they had written every word. Moreover, by
> > > inference so was their employer. This came up in an IPR court case.
> > >
> > > The (very high) level detail is here:
> > >
> > > https://github.com/w3c/webrtc-pc/issues/942#issuecomment-277034696
> > <https://github.com/w3c/webrtc-pc/issues/942#issuecomment-277034696>
> > >
> > > I'm considering advising Board that we should address this by
> > > instituting a policy whereby changes to XEPs result in all listed
> > > authors being notified (a PR will do, I imagine), and those who do
> > > respond within a reasonable time (hand-wave, hand-wave) must be
> > > de-listed and moved to a "Previous Authors" section of the XEP.
> > >
> > > Note that this is *NOT* intended as a punishment for unresponsive
> > > authors, hence the "Previous Authors" section - it's to protect
> > > authors and their employers from legal action.
> > >
> > > I have to admit I'm surprised that such legal considerations exist,
> > > but the central argument - that if your name is on a document,
> > > presumed to know what it contains - seems sufficiently intuitive
> > > we should take notice.
> > >
> > > Comments?
> > >
> > > Dave.
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