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Re: Enforcement of specifications

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 13:40:55 -0400
Message-ID: <453A5BA7.5050602@stickdog.com>
To: ietf-http-wg@w3.org

David Morris wrote:

> I think for a claim to be considered false advertising, the claim 
> would have to be counter to a stronger specification mechanism than 
> the IETF.

I fail to grasp why this is so, but am not a lawyer. A claim of 
conformance to an Internet RFC is a form of advertisement. A false claim 
of conformance is a form of false advertisement. What difference does 
the strength or standing of the RFC bring to bear on the truth of the claim?

> The IETF is an effective way to cooperate an produce working 
> standards, but those standards issued under the auspices of the IETF 
> have minimal legal standing.

I neither suggested nor mentioned enforcing specifications in the 
absence of a claim of conformance, though one might construe my choice 
of subject line, “Enforcement of specifications”, as a mention of such 
enforcement.

> Imagine trying to convince a court that one offender who didn't seem 
> to have a feature required by the standard should be punished [...] 
> for false advertising when there are many other examples of 
> non-conformant implementations.

It would be reasonable that a court survey only misimplementations whose 
vendors make conformance claims. Of course, courts of law are not bound 
by reason. In any event, how many claims of conformance to RFCs are in 
circulation?

> [It would be a] waste of time better spent 
> improving the clarity and correctness of a revised specification.

I agree, especially in the sense that a court case would be a terrific 
waste of my time. Even if winning court cases over false advertising 
were fast and inexpensive, I suspect that the overall effect would not 
be to increase conformance, but to reduce claims of conformance.

> Shame is the only realistic enforcement mechanism.

I agree. However, the set of enforcement mechanisms is a superset of the 
set of realistic enforcement mechanisms.
Received on Saturday, 21 October 2006 17:45:19 GMT

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