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RE: Issue rdfms-assertion

From: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 16:33:42 -0000
To: "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Brian McBride" <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <JAEBJCLMIFLKLOJGMELDEEHHCCAA.jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
I agree with Brian,

> On the contrary: the RDF Core WG is in the W3C Technology
> and Society domain for a reason: to make the connection
> between bits on the wire and social obligations.
> There is some crazy laywer running around trying to encourage
> web site owners to screw up their P3P policy files in such
> a way as to be able to disclaim responsibility for their content.
> [P3P isn't quite written in RDF, but it was supposed to
> be, and should be, in a future revision, I hope].
> I suggest that this WG has an obligation to say that no,
> that's not consistent with the community's agreement
> about how this technology works.

The problem is that this is not about the meaning of the RDF, but about the
meaning of the RDF in a particular context.

There are a lot of non-technical clues about the context, some of which I
think would mean that an RDF offer would be binding from a legal point of
view, and some of which would make it non-binding.

In particular, if, an economic individual (a person or a business)
habitually trades using RDF to describe their goods and offer prices then, I
would expect that a reasonable system of law should require them to be
contractually bound by such offers in a way that is similar to other offers
that they have made.

However, the very same RDF, the very same web site, put up on an .edu server
as a student project is non-binding and has a different (i.e. non-existent)
legal force.

Take another legal issue, slander. If someone writes RDF like:

<rdf:RDF xmlns:animals="...">
  <animals:Pig rdf:about="mailto:Jeremy.Carroll@hp.com"/>

and then says (in English) "the RDF statement in this message is not true".
I think that that's OK. If they say (in English) "the RDF statement in this
message is true", then maybe I have a case on the basis of the English, not
the RDF (except by reference). If they just put up the RDF without any
context allowing its interpretation, I think I stick with Brian; if it means
something in this non-context is not a sufficiently interesting problem that
we should address it.

I recently wrote a complaint to a supermarket about some goods branded as
"italiano" which were in fact not Italian; saying that it was disingenuous
to tell lies in a foreign language. It is however probably legal

Received on Thursday, 15 November 2001 11:34:00 UTC

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