[cabfpub] Reposting on behalf of others

kirk_hall at trendmicro.com kirk_hall at trendmicro.com
Mon Mar 2 17:56:58 UTC 2015

I have never understood the “IPR issues” or their dangers in the Forum  – I think they are fanciful when it comes to hearing from people not connected with a Forum member.

I guess I can understand concern about letting a Member propose some new requirement for adoption while secretly holding a patent, then springing it on the Members after the requirement is adopted.  Hasn’t happened yet, but I suppose it could.

But where is the threat when a knowledgeable member of the public posts a thoughtful, useful response to the Forum, and the information is reposted to the world because of its usefulness?  Even if the person has secret patents (pretty unlikely), it’s up to all of us to evaluate the information and move forward, or not.  And then if this outside person springs a hidden patent on us, we can just delete any requirement we adopted.

In any case, when you and Gerv argue for more openness (like letting anyone post to some list-serv), what do you have in mind?  Requiring an IPR agreement?  No agreement?  Just an acknowledgment that there is no protection for any ideas posted (I’m good with that one).  If I understand correctly, there is no IPR agreement for posting by the public to any Mozilla list or Google list, correct?

I’d be happy with establishing a separate CABF list-serv where anyone can post (maybe with a one-time click-through that warns people that ideas they post may become public property).  I think it should be kept separate from the Public list-serv just so that postings by members can be found in one place and are not be mixed up with public postings.

In the meantime, I see reposting valuable information to the Public list a very useful thing.

From: Ryan Sleevi [mailto:sleevi at google.com]
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2015 9:36 AM
To: Kirk Hall (RD-US)
Cc: Gervase Markham; CABFPub
Subject: Re: [cabfpub] Reposting on behalf of others

On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 9:10 AM, kirk_hall at trendmicro.com<mailto:kirk_hall at trendmicro.com> <kirk_hall at trendmicro.com<mailto:kirk_hall at trendmicro.com>> wrote:
Ryan and Gerv -- people on this list have reposted helpful messages sent to the Questions list in the past, so this was not different.  Adrien's information was extremely helpful as I'm sure you agree, and it's a shame we didn't have his information during the ballot.  As you know, Julien also signed our IP agreement before his postings.  What exactly is your objection to hearing from him?

And I've raised similar concerns in the past, and declined to repost on behalf of people who could have made significant contributions to discussions, precisely because our bylaws state what the criteria are for participation on the public list.

I'm aware Adrien signed the IPR, which is why I asked you to clarify whether they were now invited as an Interested Party. If not, it seems inappropriate to repost the messages. If so, great, but it would help from a process point to clarify that. Historically, we've not confirmed someone as an Interested Party until a telecon, but that's not spelled out in the bylaws. If this is a change in process, it's just good to be explicit and document it as such.

As you know, we don't have a fully public list for posting comments partly because no one on the Forum wants to moderate such a list, and in part because several of us don't want our list to be like other lists in this area where some use their postings to flame others, some get stuck on pet issues, etc.

I think it's clear that even the membership as it stands can get quite stuck on pet issues. More importantly, however, that's not how this has been presented in the past.

It was precisely because of the IPR protections - ensuring that any contributions that may eventually make their way into a work product of the CA/B Forum are known and documented. Otherwise, it would have been far easier to optimize for openness and public participation, and only if and when it became an issue to look towards moderation.

  Maybe the best way to strike a balance is to have a "wiki" style public list -- if any CABF member wants to repost information sent to the Questions list and effectively be the "moderator" for postings from that person (because they are useful and relevant to a relevant CABF discussion), that member can repost (with permission of the author).  That would make the list more open.  Would you support that policy?

While I would love to see more openness, which we argued for quite passionately in the past, to do so in the way you propose would be to disregard the purpose of our IPR policies and, I fear, undo a significant amount of work.

We've gone around and around this issue in the past - from creating a "lightweight" IPR policy to creating a process similar to IETF Note Well ( https://www.ietf.org/about/note-well.html ), but nothing has come about. Absent taking concrete action to resolve our IPR policy - something few members were keen to do - I'm not sure how reposting doesn't create the same issues that so concerned the members.

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