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Funding Disclosure and Corporations (was Re: Unofficial Draft 25 October - comments)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 00:34:16 -0400
Message-ID: <4EB36B48.4070506@digitalbazaar.com>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org
On 10/31/2011 08:54 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
> On 10/31/11 7:51 AM, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> Hmm... good point. It had been something that we were just
>> publishing as a company before, but since there is a CG now, the
>> copyright might need to be W3C? Alternatively, we could probably
>> place it under CC-BY-SA (I think that would be my preference).
>
> I think I'd be happy with either one; just not solely Digital Bazaar
> being mentioned, which I think is not appropriate now. Perhaps a
> relevant quote is "justice not only needs to be done, but needs to
> be seen to be done". If the system being created is a true level
> playing field, then that must be reflected in the copyright of the
> documents creating the system.

Well, there will still be a copyright... it'll just be the W3Cs (as with
all W3C specifications). W3C represents its member organizations
(corporations and public/private universities) as well as the general
public. We will, of course, also place the document under CC-BY-SA so
that others may build and share on the work without requiring permission
from the copyright owners.

> SUGGESTION: Adopt the support disclosure format commonly used for
> peer-reviewed academic work, in which the authors, editors, or other
> contributors (anyone willing to allow their name to be used in
> support of the published form of the document) state: a) Direct
> Support: Any support or remuneration they have received to do work
> on the document; and from whom. b) Indirect Connections: Any income,
> support, fees, stocks, or other remuneration or holdings they have
> in businesses directly impacted by the standard or format being
> developed.

It's an interesting suggestion. It's not done for W3C specifications...
I'd be willing to try it if others on the list supported this direction.
We could make this a purely voluntary disclosure and put social pressure
on those that don't disclose their funding sources (although, indirect
connections may be a bit difficult to enforce). That is, we have no
legal framework to make sure people are being honest. The people that
are okay with this (such as myself) will be honest, and people that
don't agree with this will lie.

For the record - I'm fully funded by Digital Bazaar, Inc. to help
facilitate the standardization of the PaySwarm work, which was the basis
for the creation of this group, as well as any other good idea (like the
Payment Links spec) that gains consensus support in this group. We have
a commercial interest in creating software and selling support services
to help individuals and businesses capitalize on the specifications
created by this CG. Other than Digital Bazaar, I do not own stock in any
bank, financial firm, technology company or services company that is
involved in the financial or banking sector.

>> That's an good summary of some of the things that we're attempting
>> to achieve here, Steven. I'm concerned that it's a bit heavy
>> handed... that is - it might scare some people away. Or it might
>> make corporations believe that this standard isn't for them. I
>> think it would be a mistake to take, what comes across as, an
>> anti-corporation stance in the introduction.
>
> Fair enough. But given what has happened in the past (including the
> HTML5 spec becoming controlled by employees of corporations) and
> what is happening now worldwide on many levels -- the disastrous
> ecological results of corporate globalization and control of
> governments -- I believe it's necessary to be very forward about
> this in order to prevent the individual from being shut out. If you
> think corporations might fear they are in danger of being shut out,
> I'll take that as a positive sign. I believe we can reach some
> compromise in which the two can coexist. :-) .

I'm sure that we'll reach a compromise and gain consensus around the
final text, but before we do that, let me try and clarify my personal
position on this "corporate vs. public" point. The corporate control
pendulum has clearly swung too far in one direction, but I also do not
feel that the pendulum should be at the other extreme here. If we do
this correctly, we will find a good public/private balance. We want
corporations to do the right thing and in order for them to do so, we
have to architect a system that ensures fairness - both to the
corporation and to the public.

We must be fair to the corporation because they are going to be the ones
that implement, market and build out the technology. We must also be
fair to the public because the technology should ultimately make their
lives better. It is a symbiotic relationship and thus any fear of being
"shut out" is bad for the corporation and the public because it will
result in an undesirable outcome - the failure of Web Payments.

So, I'm certain we'll be able to find the language... but it may take
some time as we find our philosophical center. :)

-- manu

-- 
Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Standardizing Payment Links - Why Online Tipping has Failed
http://manu.sporny.org/2011/payment-links/
Received on Friday, 4 November 2011 04:34:57 GMT

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