On Jan 9, 2009, at 10:16 AM, Thomas Narten wrote:
Martin Duerst <duerst(_at_)it(_dot_)aoyama(_dot_)ac(_dot_)jp> writes:
WHO exactly are we supposed to get permissions from.
The situation of a deceased author is a tought one, but it's an
obvious one. But I haven't seen any clear answer to whether
permission from all the authors/editors (the people listed in
the front of the document) is sufficient, whether we have to
ask everybody above a certain percentage of email contributions
in the WG, everybody who's mentioned in the Acks section, or
what. It's a significant nuissance for everybody to go around
and beg people (maybe including for their former employer)
to confirm something they probably couldn't care less, even if
they otherwise think the IETF does great stuff and everything.
So it would really be good to know who exactly has to be
bothered, and who not.
IANAL, but if you are expecting anyone (like the IETF) to give a clear
final, legally defensible answer to "who do you need permission from",
you won't get it. That is the nature of legal questions and is what
makes this entire discussion so difficult. And why what is an
accptable risk for you may not be an acceptable risk for me or someone
My personal feeling is that is it is reasonable to ask authors to give
permission, and to obtain their company's permission, if need be, but
it is not reasonable to ask _authors_ to obtain permissions from third
To answer the question, you have to look at who bears the risk if they
make an assertion (i.e, by claiming that all contributers have signed
off) that someone later challenges. And what the potential
consequences would be.
How likely is such a challenge? (the answer is almost always "it
What is the likelyhood of a challenge having merit? (answer is "it
What is the cost (time/money/aggrevation) of having to deal with such
a situation? ("it depends" -- see the pattern?)
While you (personally) may think the risk is negligble and silly, does
your employer (who also probably bears some risk) share your opinion
And, it is all made that much worse by having to go through the same
excercise for each document. Having done the analysis on 10 documents,
doesn't help you much when it comes to the next document.
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