Re: Acknowledgements section in a RFC (Was: Last Call: 'Matching of Language Tags' to BCP (draft-ietf-ltru-matching)
Jeffrey Hutzelman wrote:
Disclaimer: IANAL, and this message is not intended as legal advice.
Please, read RFC3979 for yourself, and if you have concerns as to what
your obligations are or what you can get away with, consult a lawyer.
On Wednesday, June 07, 2006 02:22:06 PM -0400 "Gray, Eric"
The Note Well is not clear because it makes sweeping
statements about the way in which BCP 78 and 79 may apply
Eric, there is no "may" about it. It states very clearly
that *all* contributions are covered. The definition of "contribution"
is spelled out in BCP 79 as Definition 1.c. I see no ambiguity
The "Note Well" is a notification that if you contribute, you have
certain obligations. It is not a normative description of those
obligations; for that, you need to refer to BCP 78 and 79. Those
documents make it quite clear that you are obligated to disclose certain
IPR if you make a contribution in _any_ form, including comments made in
a meeting or on a mailing list, or to an IESG or IAB member, or to a
"portion" of any working group, which is intended to cover a variety of
ways in which people provide input outside the context of a formal meeting.
BCP79 requires you to make disclosures of your or your employers IPR in
a contribution you make, and normally in contributions you don't make
but are aware of, even if you become aware of the IPR after the
contribution is made. Not becoming aware of the IPR until after the
document is published does not relieve you of the obligation to disclose
it. Nor does having the contribution be made by someone else, even if
they don't work for your company and/or are unaware of the IPR.
participating in the work, I may not be held accountable
for IPR I may know of but which did not enter into the text
until sometime after I stopped looking at it.
You're only obligated to make an IPR disclosure if the IPR is owned by
you or your company and either (1) you made the contribution, or (2) the
contribution was made in a discussion in which you are participating.
If you stop participating in a discussion, you no longer have the
responsibility to make IPR disclosures related to contributions made
after you stop participating.
Also, BCP 79 does not require a patent search - it applies
explicitly to IPR of which the contributor is reasonably and
personally aware. So it isn't an onerous obligation; you don't
have to worry about unknowns.
Similarly, if I object to work that has been done, you
may not attach my name to it against my objections - unless
either the Note Well, and the BCPs, both explicitly include
a provision for implied consent. If that is the case, now,
then it is most certainly not "clear" that it is.
Certainly, no one should be represented as supporting work which they do
not support. It is entirely reasonable to request that your name be
removed from the list of authors, if you no longer wish to perform the
duties of an author, or from the list of contributors, if you did not
make a contribution or don't want your contribution noted.
Acknowledgements are more of a "thanks for your input", and it's not
really reasonable to tell authors that he can't acknowledge people whose
input they found helpful - as long as an acknowledgement does not imply
endorsement on the part of the person who is acknowledged. On the other
hand, IMHO it would be even _more_ unreasonable for an author to refuse
to remove the name of a person who did not want to be acknowledged.
This is the negative side of the discussion going on.
People are focusing on reasons why someone might want to be
included in acknowledgements. I am merely pointing out that
it is also possible that someone might not want this.
And John's point is this: There may be legitimate reasons for not
wanting to be acknowledged or listed as an author or contributor.
However, having your name removed from the document does not change the
fact of your contribution, or relieve you of your obligations with
respect to that contribution.
Now, you made specific reference to the IPR disclosure acknowledgement
which is required by RFC3978 section 5.1 to be present in all I-D's.
Your argument seems to be that this statement imposes an additional
burden upon anyone listed as an author, and that one might want to be
removed from the author list in order to be relieved of this burden.
But if you read the acknowledgement carefully, the representation being
made by the authors is that they are in compliance with BCP 79 section
6(*). Since compliance with that section is required for _anyone_
making a contribution to the IETF, being removed from the author list
does _not_ relieve you of that burden - it simply allows you to avoid
preiodically representing that you are meeting it.
I completely agree that anyone who no longer wishes to be listed as an
author of an I-D should be able to have their name removed. However,
doing so does not remove your obligations relating to IPR disclosures.
(*) The exact text quoted in RFC3978 is "... in accordance with Section
6 of BCP 79." Ordinarily, a reference is made to a BCP or STD number
rather than to an RFC number when the goal is to produce a "live"
reference that always refers to the latest approved version of the
document. We usually avoid doing this in protocol specifications,
preferring instead to use the stable reference that an RFC number
represents, but it seems appropriate to use a live reference in this
case. I'm sure the IPR working group has had discussions about the
interactions between live references, static documents, and legal
language, and found the results acceptable.
HOWEVER... _This_ language refers to a particular _section_ of BCP79 by
number. The structure of documents changes as they are revised and
updated, so a reference by section number tends to counteract the
advantages of using a live reference. For the _next_ version of BCP78,
I'd suggest finding a way to reword this so that a specific section
number reference is not required.
Ietf mailing list
Ietf mailing list