Re: [Trustees] Change in IPR policies

Jay Daley <> Wed, 10 June 2020 09:55 UTC

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From: Jay Daley <>
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Subject: Re: [Trustees] Change in IPR policies
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 21:55:50 +1200
In-Reply-To: <EBEE9A1994B9DA65F98FF437@PSB>
Cc: Brad Biddle <>,, Trustees <>, ietf <>
To: John C Klensin <>
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> On 10/06/2020, at 4:19 PM, John C Klensin <> wrote:
> So, Jay and Brad,
> Obviously legal counsel was consulted.   Were the Trustees of
> the IETF Trust, who are supposed to be responsible for any IPR
> that the IETF owns sufficiently to make rules about what can be
> done with it, consulted?

No.  As explained, a mistake was made here.  Thanks for pointing it out so quickly.

> However
> --and I am addressing this much more to the LLC Board than to
> Jay and/or Brad-- it is, at least IMO, your job, whether
> explicit in the many IASA2 documents or not, to ensure that your
> staff and your contractors are sufficiently educated about the
> IETF to understand those boundaries.

I hope you will agree that there is quite a lot to learn in order to become familiar with all the boundaries, roles, principles and expectations of the IETF and that only some of it is documented, with the rest held as institutional memory.  The LLC board, Secretariat and IETF Chair have all made an enormous effort to induct me, but there is still a lot to learn.

However well inducted I am, I am sure the mistake above and the mistake about audio streams will not be the only mistakes I make and if your expectation is that I never make a mistake then you are going to be disappointed.

>  Part of that is that the
> LLC leadership and staff are not "in charge of the IETF".  The
> IESG has a much better claim to that responsibility and
> authority, but the procedures and traditions significantly even
> constrain even them.

That has been repeated often and is very well understood.  I suggest it would be more productive to look deeper and ask where the gaps are in the combination of consensus guidance and circumstance that leaves the LLC in the position where it thinks it has to make a decision and either fill those gaps with new guidance or educate us if existing guidance should have applied.  As I’ve noted before, some people are thinking about it that way with the proposed charter for Stay Home Move Online.

>   Just my opinion but, because of how the
> IETF works and its mission and credibility, while the LLC
> obviously has to be fiscally responsible, if there are choices
> between a possible incremental few dollars

As explained previously the choice was not between a few possible incremental dollars and anything else.  You may disagree with my reasoning, as others have done, but I would ask that you attempt to represent it correctly.

> and openness and
> inclusiveness or between trying to pass rules to prevent people
> from abusing the system and trusting that active IETF
> participants will behave like responsible professionals, the
> decisions should favor openness, inclusiveness, and assumptions
> that people will behave professionally.    If people don't
> behave professionally, we have a different sort of problem but,
> at least in theory, we have ways to deal with that and, fwiw,
> they are not the LLC's problem (or within the LLC's scope)
> either.

This is not meant to be a challenge, but a genuine question - is "assume people will behave professionally at all times" documented anywhere?  I ask because there are multiple examples where clear rules have been put in place that suggest otherwise.  

If you look at it from the LLC perspective, there is a set of written consensus rules we are asked to follow and the prime one is to follow those written consensus rules.  If we then have to regularly rely on individual community members supplementing that with unwritten rules then there are bound to be times when we miss some and there will be some times when we have no choice but to make a judgement on whether or not these are actually unwritten rules.

An important criticism I’ve heard is that we should engage early to flush out these unwritten rules/concerns and avoid, as much as possible, making decisions that have not had any open community discussion. That’s entirely fair and something we will aim to do better on.

> If the LLC cannot take responsibility for keeping those
> boundaries clear, then I think the LLC plan was a mistake and
> the IETF community has a rather serious problem.

This seems to have escalated a long way from an inappropriate checkbox on a form to condemning the entire LLC model or, as in one of your previous emails, for the LLC board to resign.  It would be good if we could pull back from there.


Jay Daley
IETF Executive Director