Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")

John C Klensin <> Fri, 25 March 2016 21:55 UTC

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Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 17:55:07 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Sam Hartman <>
Subject: Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")
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--On Friday, March 25, 2016 16:41 -0400 Sam Hartman
<> wrote:

>     >> It's clear that any design team *output* is a
> contribution.  But     >> if a group of friends have a chat
> over lunch, not as a design     >> team mandated by WG chairs,
> and one of them mentions a silly idea     >> that is rejected
> in favour of a good idea that the group later     >> proposes
> to the WG, is that silly idea a contribution? I don't     >>
> think so.
> If it's a design team that thinks of itself as a design team,
> I really want the silly idea to count as an IETF contribution.
> If I get together with you to do IETF work, part of why I'm
> willing to do so is because we've agreed that you'll disclose
> any IP.  If I'm doing IETF work with you, I want you to be
> obligated to disclose by the time you're advocating for a
> specific position.
> As an individual who may some day again contribute to the
> IETF, that's really important to me.
> Now, there's ambiguity.  I realize a group of friends involved
> in the IETF can get together for purposes other than IETF work.
> However, speaking for myself, I'd be less willing  to do work
> in an IETF where a lunchtime discussion for IETF work didn't
> count as contributions than one where it did.
> I think waiting for an idea to be presented in an ID, at the
> microphone, or on a list is too late.
> A lot of advocacy for positions happens before then, and you
> can get in bad IPR situations if you are not required to
> disclose by the time that advocacy starts.

Ok, Sam,

How do you feel about documents created in a group with some
other name, even if all the participants are active in the IETF,
creating an implementation or two, and then bringing the spec to
the IETF and saying "standardize this, but the spec is
fully-baked and deployed so you can't change it much without a
lot of justification"?   We've seen that happen multiple times.
IMO, most of them were for other reasons but, if someone has bad
intentions toward the IETF disclosure rules, that is the obvious
mechanism for them to use and it results in much later
disclosure than you would like, with no IETF ability to claim
that people were obligated to disclose earlier.

I think that is worse, but unavoidable.   However, for the
people with better intentions, I'd like to encourage voluntary
disclosure as early as possible, reserving the specific rules
and hair-splitting for the point at which the need to disclosure
is clear and absolutely mandatory.

YMMD... it is, IMO, really a question of whether we are willing
to make technical tradeoffs or push work out entirely in order
to be in a slightly better position relative to mandatory