W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > November 2011

Re: Fwd: Contributor License Agreement

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Sat, 05 Nov 2011 10:42:25 -0700
Message-ID: <4EB57581.4030607@sunshine.net>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org

Manu, I'm not going to respond to each of the points you made (see 
below) about how and why I "should...join the group and agree to the 
CLA" because I've gotten some new information about his situation, 
yesterday, which I'll explain here.

My initial reaction to your statement was that it's based on a 
fundamental confusion about public space and private space; not a good 
thing. I wasn't certain how to express this.

Then, fortuitously, I received yesterday the announcement from the 
ODRL list, which is setting up a parallel Community Working Group 
analogous to this one. They do not set up their private and public 
lists in the same way as you do; they set it up in a way that I had 
assumed you would do, and have not. I'll quote from that announcement:

"If you have not already done so, please join the W3C ODRL Community 
Group as per the instructions [1]. Please note that the joining terms 
is a requirement from W3C so that we can manage the IP correctly. It 
is consistent with the goals of the ODRL group.

"Once joined, we will be using the public-odrl-contrib email list [2] 
for discussions related to our documents, and there is also the 
public-odrl list for non-members to post [3]. Both lists are publicly 

Now, the key different I see from the way the public-webpayments list 
is being described is that the ODRL one has a public list for people 
who do not sign the CLA. They are people in the general public who are 
commenting on the proceedings. They are not defining themselves as 
part of the working group, and they are not limited by any special 
contract. They are the public space. They are necessary for the work 
of the W3C to stay balanced and not get hijacked by special interests 
or skewed into the beliefs of a few. As the W3C says on 
http://www.w3.org/Mail/ about their mailing lists, there are hundreds 
of such lists, and "Anyone with a valid email address can participate 
on a W3C public mailing list following the steps below."

The ODRL model for the Community Group is consistent with this. I can 
join the group and sign the CLA and make specific verbatim 
contributions on 
"http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-odrl-contrib/"; or, 
importantly, I can make comments via the public list without joining 
the group; these are not deemed contributions in the limited IP sense 
pursued in the CLA. They are merely the ages-old honorable method of 
discourse and contribution of ideas towards a common end. If I as a 
member of the public wish to follow the second course, I should have 
the right to do this. Both lists are publicly archived (in the ODRL 
model) and so I can read the contributions and comment on them.

This is what I was assuming was happening in the web-payments lists. 
You tell me below that this is not true, and your so-called public 
list isn't public, really, it's only for those who sign the CLA, and, 
more to the point, there is no list that's public in the sense that 
the ODRL one is.

I feel your public-private list setup is fundamentally flawed and 
needs to be re-formulated like the ODRL one.

Steven Rowat

On 11/3/11 8:53 PM, Manu Sporny wrote:
> On 11/02/2011 08:00 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
>> On 11/2/11 4:03 PM, Renato Iannella wrote:
>>> (Response from IanJ below…)
>> > The CLA only applies to intentional contributions to the Community
>>> Group. The contributions themselves don't have to reside on w3.org
>>> <http://w3.org>; they can reside on other servers.
>>> People who have not signed the CLA should not make contributions to
>>> the Community Group. And the Group should avoid including material
>>> from people that have not signed the legal agreements.
>> This does not yet clarify the issue for me; what is the relationship
>> between posts on a W3C public list-serve, like this one,
>> public-webpayments@w3.org, and a 'contribution to the Community Group'?
> Everyone that is on this mailing list that plans to take part in the
> discussion really should become a Community Group Member. It escaped
> my attention that you aren't a member of the group yet. Steven, you
> should remedy that as soon as possible. Could you please join the
> group and agree to the CLA?
> Posts to the public mailing list are just that - posts where the
> submitter controls the copyright for the post, but agrees to have
> their e-mail archived indefinitely (for the benefit of future
> generations using/improving the Web). So, if you were to suggest text
> changes to any of the specifications and I were to incorporate them
> without your express release of such changes - we'd be in hot water.
> This is why getting you into the group as a CG member is important -
> we don't have to worry about that sort of stuff if you become a member.
> So, posts to the mailing list as a non-member of the CG retains your
> copyright completely.
> A "contribution to the Community Group" is basically verbatim text
> that ends up in a specification. You haven't made any such
> contributions yet, so we're in the clear as far as that is concerned.
>> There is also a private list for the group. Perhaps Ian means that
>> contributions, formally speaking, are only those things sent to the
>> private one?
> No, we're going to avoid using the private list as much as possible.
> All spec development happens out in the open. The only time that we
> would use the private list is to document something that could become
> a legal issue in the future (patent notifications, companies behaving
> badly, anti-competitive behavior, received lawsuit threats, etc.).
>> Otherwise he'd be saying that 'people who have not signed the CLA'
>> should not take part in the public list-serve; which can't be
>> right...can it?
> Ian means: People who have not signed the CLA should not make direct
> contributions to the specifications because those same people could
> come back and assert a copyright infringement if we put their text
> into the specification without their express consent.
> You can take part in the public list - you can give feedback, but if
> you want your text to go into the spec, you MUST join the group and
> agree to the CLA. Alternatively, you can ask the editors of the spec
> to come up with their own wording for what you want accomplished
> (which is typically what happens).
>> Also, about the "intentional contributions" that "don't have to reside
>> on w3.org" servers, -- how does one in fact decide, then, that they are
>> "intentional" contributions, formally speaking?
> If you ask for a spec change and you provide exact wording, that can
> be construed as an "intentional contribution". If you edit the
> specification directly, that is an "intentional contribution". If you
> come up with a fully-formed feature and want that integrated into the
> specification, that is an "intentional contribution". Generally
> speaking, it's text or an idea that you create, that you propose as an
> addition to one of the editors, that ends up in a specification.
>> Specifically, is the Draft 25 of use-cases PaySwarm:
>> http://payswarm.com/specs/ED/use-cases/2011-10-25/
>> such a 'contribution'?
> Yes, it is.
>> How does one decide this?
> It's an ongoing decision, but in general - documents that we create in
> this group are intended to be standards-track documents, published by
> the W3C as official standards (eventually).
>> Who designates it as
>> being such contribution, and is there a public statement of this
>> designation?
> Any contribution that ends up in a standards-track document in the W3C
> process is such a contribution. There is generally no public
> statement. Good faith is assumed when people ask that the spec is
> changed, and there are multiple legal checkpoints in the W3C process
> to ensure that this good faith is put to the test during the W3C
> publication process. For example, there is a call for patents and
> patent review stage, there is public review, etc. that is designed to
> tease out potential copyright and patent violations.
> So, no public statement is necessary (other than signing up to the
> CLA). This model is basically what W3C has been using since 2004,
> which has seen a significant amount of success, even among companies
> with massive patent portfolios - IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.
> -- manu
Received on Saturday, 5 November 2011 17:42:51 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:03:29 UTC