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

Alissa Cooper <> Tue, 12 April 2016 16:50 UTC

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Subject: Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")
From: Alissa Cooper <>
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Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2016 09:50:38 -0700
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To: John C Klensin <>
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> On Apr 12, 2016, at 2:29 AM, John C Klensin <> wrote:
> --On Monday, April 11, 2016 15:33 -0700 Alissa Cooper
> <> wrote:
>>> Personally, I'd love to see the draft talk about AD
>>> participation just like it talks about other people's
>>> participation. If I really haven't participated in WG X,
>>> well, I haven't, even if my co-AD owns the group :-) And if
>>> I did participate, well, I should declare the IPR that I know
>>> of :-)
>> +1
>> This is what did not make sense to me about the draft. 
> Alissa,
> I'm fine with the above, but I think there is a delicate line
> involved.  Let me try to explain it this way.  As a random
> member of the community, whether I'm participating in a WG, or
> even actively monitoring it, is fairly clear.  If, for example,
> I'm attending its meetings (f2f or remotely) or signed up for
> its mailing list, the community should be able to assume that
> I'm watching the work in that WG and should be required to make
> relevant IPR disclosures even if I don't actually say anything
> or otherwise generate Contributions.    If I do none of those
> things but occasionally check on mailing list archives, read
> Last Call announcements, I think the community needs to take my
> word for it if I claim to be "not participating".
> I think things are a little different (but only a little) if
> there is management involvement.  If you are the AD responsible
> for a WG, then I think the community gets to assume that you
> know what its work items are, have approved document editors,
> and have at least read the abstracts of the various drafts,
> i.e., that you are participating.  If you are some other AD in
> the same area, well, areas differ a lot and over time.  In some
> cases, ADs shadow each other as a mutual backup arrangements and
> I'd expect to be able to treat all ADs in the same area as
> "participating" in all WGs.  In others, WGs get divided up among
> ADs, after which the area might as well be as many separate ones
> as there are ADs.  At IETF evaluation time, any ADs who record a
> position other that "abstain" on a spec, or to engage in any
> IESG discussion about it, has presumably studied that spec
> closely enough to incur disclosure obligations if IPR is known
> to them because making a decision to adopt (or not) is clearly
> "participation".  The same issue might exist with Co-chairs of a
> WG with many tasks.  I'd normally assume that each one is
> familiar with and participating in every work item, but it isn't
> hard to imagine situations in which work might be split up along
> clear boundaries with one co-chair getting involved in the work
> of the other only at around the time of Last Call if then.
> All of that said, I think that trying to create a collection of
> very specific rules or definitions to cover each case and
> variations on it is almost certain to cause more harm than good.
> I think the intent of the rules -- that anyone who has
> contributed to a spec or put themselves in a position in which
> they influence an IETF decision to adopt (or not) or publish (or
> not) has disclosure obligations (whether direct or third-party
> as discussed in the I-D). My expectation is that WG Chairs and,
> to even a greater extent, ADs, will be sensitive to the intent
> of the rules.  To do otherwise would be a breach of the trust
> the community placed in them and that would be at least as
> serious, perhaps more, than breaching the letter of the IPR
> rules.   
> If we need rule changes in that area, they probably lie in
> making recalls more feasible rather than more case analysis in
> the IPR document(s).   If the latter documents need anything
> extra, perhaps it is an explicit statement to the effect of
> "Because of the trust the community places in them and the
> consensus-determination and decision authority associated with
> their positions, IETF Leadership including WG Chairs and Nomcom
> appointees are expected to be especially diligent in observing
> the intent of these rules”.  


> best.
>     john