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Re: Co-authorship of charsets BCP

From: <ned.freed@innosoft.com>
Date: Fri, 05 May 2000 18:23:51 -0800 (PST)
To: Dan Kohn <dan@dankohn.com>
Cc: "'ned.freed@innosoft.com'" <ned.freed@innosoft.com>, "'iesg@ietf.org'" <iesg@ietf.org>, "'ietf-charsets@iana.org'" <ietf-charsets@iana.org>
Message-id: <01JP1U6WF4MM000058@MAUVE.INNOSOFT.COM>
> Ned, I have no doubt whatsoever that Jon would fully approve of this
> (relatively minor) update.  I also think he would be touched by the
> statement of leaving him as a co-author.

> However, I think you should still remove him as a co-author because of the
> negative precedent it sets.  Even if one is certain that one's co-authors
> would approve of a change to a draft, it should still be obligatory to get
> their approval before submitting a draft with them named as co-author.
> Unless Jon had approved of the final draft before he passed away and you had
> not made any edits since then, I think it would be inappropriate.

I'm sorry, but I completely disagree. Jon wrote a significant percentage of the
current draft. That hasn't changed. Not crediting him as a coauthor would be,
in effect, plagarism.

Consider the analogous case of publication of, say, The Moonstone, by Wilke
Collins. (The first mystery novel ever published according to some.) The text
of this book is old enough that there's no copyright issue. But how would
you feel if I were to take that book, change a couple of words here and
there, and republish it listing me as the author?

And if you don't think the literary world is a valid comparison, how about,
say, Ordinary Differential Equations by Boyce and DePrima. Boyce has, I
believe, long since passed on, but the book continues to be updated and
republished with him as the primary author.

> I see this as a more basic ethical issue involving any publication or
> attribution of authorship, in that an author should either be given the
> chance to approve the *final* version or it should be clear that the work,
> though based on theirs, is not fully attributable to them.  (However, I by
> no means would imply any intentional ethical failing here; just a difference
> in opinion on the importance of the precedent set.)

See the second example above -- it seems directly on point. As long as the
document makes it clear that one of the authors is no longer around I don't see
a problem.

> Instead, I would suggest a more detailed than normal homage to Jon in the
> Acknowledgements.

The author section contains a pointer to the "I Remember IANA" RFC. That,
it seems to me, establishes that Jon is no longer responsible for changes
I make.

				Ned
Received on Friday, 5 May 2000 21:33:59 GMT

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