[legal] [OpenID] Draft OpenID Intellectual Property Rights Policy for Review

David Recordon drecordon at sixapart.com
Wed Oct 24 06:28:49 UTC 2007

Hi all,
Just wanted to remind everyone that if you have comments, please make  
sure they are received by the 26th which is only a few days away.  So  
far we still seem to be on track to finalize this IPR policy.

Thanks again,

On Sep 26, 2007, at 8:35 AM, David Recordon wrote:

> Since the early summer we've been working to define an intellectual
> property rights policy and process for technical OpenID specification
> work moving forward.  The goal of this work is to truly allow the
> community to continue to live up to Brad Fitzpatrick's original
> "nobody should own this" statement.  As the community has grown this
> year to include participation of larger companies, the desire to make
> this statement a reality from a legal perspective has been quite
> strong.  To achieve this, a group of representatives from the OpenID
> Foundation, AOL, Microsoft, VeriSign, Sun, Symantec, and Yahoo!
> worked to help draft and review a policy and related documents basing
> the work upon similar policies from the IETF, OASIS, W3C, and Liberty
> Alliance.  Today we're asking for review of this work for thirty days
> so that before the end of the year we as a community can adopt the
> policy and release the OpenID Authentication 2.0 specification final
> version under it.
> As to the question of "What does this mean to me", there are a few
> answers:
>   - If you are using/implementing OpenID there is nothing that you
> need to do to be protected by this policy.  All future work will be
> covered by it and the policy includes provisions to retroactively
> apply the non-assertion covenant to OpenID Authentication 1.1, OpenID
> Simple Registration 1.0, and Yadis 1.0.
>   - If you have actively contributed to one of the OpenID
> specifications (especially if you have written text for 2.0) we will
> be contacting you proactively over the next month for feedback on the
> policy and asking you to agree to it.  This will thus allow us as a
> community to release the 2.0 specification this year under the policy.
>   - Once the policy is adopted, specification work will be broken up
> into "working groups" based upon a topic.  For example Authentication
> and Attribute Exchange will most likely become two working groups
> with each group having its own specs-<foo>@openid.net mailing list.
> This is to allow for IPR promises from the larger companies which may
> not wish to participate in every OpenID community effort.  Before
> posting to one of these working group lists for the first time, you
> will be required to agree to the policy.  This will ensure that all
> formal contributions to the final specifications are covered by the
> policy and the resulting spec does not have any known IPR  
> encumbrances.
> As part of this effort, we've also drafted a rationale document to
> help explain some of the "design decisions" the group made.
> Generally I recommend you read that document (it is free from
> legalese) and it can be found at http://openid.net/ipr/
> OpenID_IPR_Rationale-Circulation_Draft_20070925.pdf.  The policy and
> process documents themselves can be found at http://openid.net/ipr/.
> (I apologize for the PDFs, we'll get these up in HTML format before
> they're final).  If you didn't see your question answered in this
> email, please do look at the rationale document as it hopefully will
> already be answered there.
> We've tried to keep the policy and process as simple as possible
> while still giving the needed legal protections and are looking for
> feedback around the process.  One thing to keep in mind is that the
> process is based on consensus (much like the IETF or ASF) and many of
> the clauses only apply in the case that consensus is impossible to
> reach (which is viewed as being quite rare).  There is also still
> some word-smithing which is needed, so anyplace it seems like we
> meant to say the "OpenID Foundation" instead of "OpenID", we probably
> meant to. :)
> We realize this is a lot to process, but have tried our best to
> represent the views of a wide range of companies with varying IPR
> positions as well as the values of this community.  We're certainly
> interested in feedback and questions, ideally within the next thirty
> days sent to legal at openid.net.  Differing from many discussions, even
> if all you have to say is "+1" that is valuable feedback so that we
> can know if we're on the right track.  Please also feel free to
> contact me off-list if there are any questions or concerns you have
> that you don't wish to discuss publicly though we certainly encourage
> this discussion to happen on the list.
> Thanks again to everyone who has been involved in this work!
> --David
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