RE: Things that I think obvious....

Harald Tveit Alvestrand <> Wed, 22 September 2004 12:43 UTC

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Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 05:46:03 +0200
From: Harald Tveit Alvestrand <>
To: Tony Hain <>,
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Subject: RE: Things that I think obvious....
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--On 21. september 2004 08:32 -0700 Tony Hain <> wrote:

>> 1 - The IETF exists, and it is the IETF community.
>> Even though we have carefully avoided defining its boundaries, I believe
>> that we all believe that the IETF exists.
> Well at the functional level I agree, but at the legal/political level it
> is clear that the IETF doesn't exist. Historically this has been
> intentional, but it creates the side effect in these discussions that
> 'The IETF' is not in any position to enter into a recognized business
> relationship or contract. The entire discussion about incorporating the
> IETF vs. an entity to manage the administration functions is wrapped
> tightly around this reality.

I would claim that at the political level it definitely exists, but agree 
at the legal level (although there are people who claim that by virtue of 
consistent behaviour over many years, the IETF is an unincorporated 
association that just hasn't filed any papers).

> Well the document blames the external relationships for the ambiguity,
> when in fact it is the explicit lack of formality in the IETF definition
> that is the root of those problems. In particular 3.1.3 is not
> technically possible as written because there is no entity for the
> supporting organization to enter into a contract with. To be clear, I am
> not arguing for incorporating the IETF because I think there is
> substantial value in the ambiguity that MUST NOT be lost. I am simply
> pointing out that the language being used in the discussion is biased
> around the false assumption in (1) above, and should be tempered
> appropriately.

I believe both the consultant report and the scenarios documents went 
fairly clearly into the ways in which an organization with no legal 
existence can still excert a fair amount of control (as I believe it 
should). So I think this is a solvable problem.


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