[antitrust-policy] Easy to quibble, so my strawman

Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> Sat, 21 January 2012 00:05 UTC

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Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 00:05:15 +0000
From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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Subject: [antitrust-policy] Easy to quibble, so my strawman
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I've no idea if this is very useful but in the spirit of not
just quibbling, here's a quick not very thoughtful strawman
for what I think we might usefully say on this topic.

S.

There's a thing called anti-trust in the US and competition law in
the EU and probably other things elsewhere.  Basically, the idea
is to prevent some companies ganging up on others and being bold.
In theory, the IETF could get dragged into some dispute related to
that, or to some government or regulatory investigation of that
kind of thing. We'd rather not.

So, please check that out and don't be bold.

If you don't know what this means then go looking and ask your
boss. If you don't have a boss, there's probably no damage you can
do here if you're not a WG chair or something. If you are a WG
chair or something then ask on the wgchairs list if you don't know
what to do.

For most IETF participants, someone in your organisation should
understand what it means to be good about this. So start by asking
locally.

But remember, for the IETF its the technical content that matters
most, not all this policy stuff.

Need examples?

- A bunch of companies having a secret meeting where they agree to
promote or try kill some Internet-draft for non-technical reason
would be a bad thing here.

- Saying that a WG should only work on an I-D if an IPR
declaration's terms are changed to 1% of net revenue would not be
appropriate.

- It is ok to say "I don't understand your IPR declaration - what
does <that bit> mean?" But its not ok to haggle with the IPR
holder.

A mixture of common sense, reading about the topic and checking
with any local bosses should get you to where you know what's
appropriate and what's not.

If not, then ask. Send a mail to antitrust-policy@ietf.org and you
may get an answer. (It won't be legal advice or anything but it
might help.)