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Re: help wanted: RDF issue rdfms-assertion

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 14:46:41 -0400
Message-ID: <054c01c20741$2c950eb0$0301a8c0@w3.org>
To: <las@olin.edu>
Cc: "Brian McBride" <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, "RDF Core" <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>
Lynn asks,

"If I use (say) Jan's predicate foo, am I legally responsible for a statement that takes its meaning from something that Jan may later change?  Since the owner of a URI can change its content, what assurance do I have that the vocabulary I use won't change out from under me?"

Ah you ask about law.  So I reply as a non-expert.  I understood from Danny W at one point that, when you are arguing about a contract, an essential question was whether there is was a meeting of minds between the parties.  In other words, in practice, it will be enough to point out that when you agreed to the contract you and the other party were clearly in basic agreement about what it meant (or not, as the case may be).  So a lawyer could argue that even though some hacker had sneaked a "not" into the schema, neither party operated under the assumption that it was there. Or in another case one could argue that the it was quite clear to all parties that the definition was a changing one, and usefully so, and that the agreement was clearly with respect to the version is from time to time updated.  And then one could perhaps appeal that while that was indeed the case, certain kinds of change in not reasonable and unfair whatever had been agreed to. For example, you can change some parts of a credit card agreement by sending someone a bunch of small print, but there is a limit. 

In the future we will have vocabulary for building in specific notion of time into semantic web systems, so that expiry of offers and so on can be written into the agreed rules.  Then, there will be fewer places around which one can wriggle.

But, notwithstanding arguing over the imperfections in the system, we must define the core algorithms for determining meaning without hesitation or ambiguity.

Tim

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lynn Andrea Stein 
  To: Tim Berners-Lee 
  Cc: Brian McBride ; RDF Core ; Dan Connolly ; www-rdf-logic@w3.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 1:48 PM
  Subject: Re: help wanted: RDF issue rdfms-assertion


  Apologies for the long excerpt (below), but this message doesn't make sense without the context.  Cutting directly to the chase, 
  is there a problem with what Tim Berners-Lee says in http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-logic/2002May/0086.html 

  [[ 

    I think that it [rdfms-assertion] should say that the predicate determines the meaning of any 
    statement. 
    It should specify in the specific case of predicate rdf:type that the 
    definition of rdf:type is that the object determines the meaning of the 
    statement. 

    It should then hand off to the URI spec to say that "determines" above means 
    that those publishing issuing or owning terms are the ones who definitively 
    define (through specs etc) what they mean.  Issues of 
    ownership, and dereference are covered not in the RDF spec but 
    directly or indirectly in the URI spec.

  ]] 
  Leaving aside the question of whether rdf can be used to say something unasserted, I think there's another issue here. 

  If I use (say) Jan's predicate foo, am I legally responsible for a statement that takes its meaning from something that Jan may later change?  Since the owner of a uri can cange its content, what assurance do I have that the vocabulary I use won't change out from under me? 







  Lynn 

  Tim Berners-Lee wrote: 

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: "Brian McBride" <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com> 
    To: <timbl@w3.org> 
    Cc: "RDF Core" <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org> 
    Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 1:38 PM 
    Subject: help wanted: RDF issue rdfms-assertion 
    > Tim, 
    > 
    > The RDFCore WG seeks your help with an RDF issue, rdfms-assertion: 
    > 
    >    http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking/#rdfms-assertion 
    > 
    > [[ 
    > Summary: RDF is not just a data model. The RDF specs should define a 
    > semantics so that an RDF statement on the web is interpreted as an 
    > assertion of that statement such that its author would be responsible in 
    > law as if it had been published in, say, a newspaper. 
    > ]] 
    > 
    > The WG believes that this issue originates with you. 
    > 
    > I would like to clearly establish what it is that you would like from us. 
    > 
    > A number of concerns have been raised about this issue: 
    > 
    >    o RDF is just one of several specifications that are 'in play' when an 
    > RDF statement is retrieved from the web.  What is the minimum the RDF 
    specs 
    > must say to achieve the effect that you want. 

    I think that it should say that the predicate determines the meaning of any 
    statement. 

    It should specify in the specific case of predicate rdf:type that the 
    definition of rdf:type is that the object determines the meaning of the 
    statement. 

    It should then hand off to the URI spec to say that "determines" above means 
    that those publishing issuing or owning terms are the ones who definitively 
    define (through specs etc) what they mean.  Issues of 
    ownership, and dereference are covered not in the RDF spec but 
    directly or indirectly in the URI spec. 
     

  (discussion then turns to other aspects of this issue) 
Received on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 14:44:46 EDT

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