[Top] [All Lists]

[ontolog-forum] Ontolog IPR issues

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Peter P. Yim" <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 05 May 2008 15:24:09 -0700
Message-id: <481F8909.1010508@xxxxxxxx>
All,    (01)

There's been recent discussions relating to Intellectual Property 
Rights (IPR) and work posted to the Ontolog collaborative 
environment after a member of the community felt that her IPR has 
been infringed upon. While that member's concerns were mainly 
directed towards a particular initiative (and therefore, I will 
try respond separately), others have suggested we take the 
opportunity to clarify Ontolog's position in relation to IPR 
issues. This is my attempt to make such clarification, and hope 
that we all emerge with better alignment in our understanding of 
the subject.    (02)

I am not a lawyer ("IANAL" ... I just learned that through 
ChrisMenzel's recent post), therefore, anyone who has issues with 
what is said here is advised to consult an IP professional on the 
matter.    (03)

I will try to address the matter from what I envisage, both from 
the *spirit* and from the *letter* of Ontolog's IPR Policy, 
which, by the way, has hardly changed since Ontolog was started 
in 2002.    (04)

1. *The Spirit of the Ontolog IPR Policy*    (05)

Ontolog is constituted as an "open, international, virtual 
community of practice" (ref. 
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nidB ). 
Therefore, one can almost take "open" as our firstname, and 
"community of practice" as our lastname. What we are trying here, 
in a nutshell, is to foster sharing and collaboration, and to 
facilitate the building of a collective body of knowledge that 
can stay "free" and "open."    (06)

By "open," as our very simple IPR policy states: (ref.
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid32 )    (07)

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy    (32)    (08)

    * the [ontolog-forum] is chartered to be an OPEN forum. As 
such, all contribution to this forum by its community membership 
shall have been made under an open content license, open 
publication license or one of the free software or open source 
licenses. (See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/free_content) 
   (33)    (09)

       o unless otherwise specified, content within the 
[ontolog-forum] collaborative work environment shall be subject 
to OpenContent License (OPL), Version 1.0, July 14, 1998 or its 
successor. (see http://opencontent.org/opl.shtml)    (34)    (010)

       o when in doubt, IPR matters relating to the 
[ontolog-forum] default to the OASIS IPR policy (in accordance 
with the processes defined in our reconstitution of September 
2002.)    (35)    (011)

       o those who are unable to contribute under the above 
licensing arrangements should refrain from contributing to the 
[ontolog-forum] content.    (36)
//    (012)

Our membership policy also states: (ref.
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J )    (013)

* this is an OPEN, virtual Community of Practice ("CoP"), 
operated by the community itself    (1M)    (014)

* anyone who would want to participate and contribute in 
accordance with this CoP's charter, and consents to abide by its 
IPR policy and other by-laws which the community shall set-forth, 
is welcomed to join. To date, there is no fee or cost to 
participate, except that members are expected to be team players 
and contribute to our mission as much as, and in whatever way 
they can.    (1N)    (015)

...    (016)

* please ensure that your posts are relevant (to our Community 
Charter), and that it complies with our IPR Policy. (ZBG)    (017)

* unless specifically requested/solicited by other community 
member(s), please make sure any commercial- or self-promotion 
material or reference are strictly limited to one's namesake page 
or a short signature block, and nowhere else as far as our open 
collaborative work environment is concerned. The co-conveners 
reserve the right to relocate or remove of such material from 
within the CWE, if deemed inappropriately done, to the extent 
that it affects the neutrality and commercial free work 
environment that this CWE is set out to be. (LMK)
//    (018)

Noting also, that, by "community of practice (CoP)," we are going 
by the way John Seely Brown (from Xerox PARC who coined the term 
back in the 1980's) sees it: " ... small group of people who've 
worked together over a period of time. Not a team, not a task 
force, not necessarily an authorized or identified group. They 
are peers in the execution of "real work." What holds them 
together is a common sense of purpose and a real need to know 
what each other knows."    (019)

Of particular interest is the fact that we are archiving all the 
Ontolog transactions in our collaborative work environment (CWE), 
which serves as a dynamic knowledge repository for us (in the 
sense that Doug Engelbart have pointed us toward, albeit in a 
lesser way), and are thus, building a collective body of 
knowledge as community members interact.    (020)

If it is not clear enough (from the above policies and from Chris 
Menzel's 2008.05.03 post - ref. 
), let me repeat here, Ontolog is intended to be a (virtual) 
place where people can openly and freely exchange ideas, with 
minimal encumbrance by IPR issues. We want our members to share 
ideas, collaborate, remix (as Larry Lessig would call it,) stand 
on each others' shoulders (rather than re-invent the wheel) ... 
etc. etc., and generate more and better ideas by being a 
community of practice. Not only are sharing, collaboration, etc. 
allowed, they are encouraged here (again, of course, within the 
bounds of Ontolog's simple IPR and membership policies.)    (021)

Those who don't like it, may even call that "steal," rob," 
hijack," or whatever derogatory term they may think of, but 
within the bounds of our CWE and our IPR and membership policies, 
that is allow, and encouraged. ... The recourse, for those who 
don't like it has been clearly stated in our IPR policy, they 
"should [just] refrain from contributing." ... Be it known, that 
Ontolog is not intended to be an IPR repository. Anyone seeking 
IPR protection is most probably better served by other means 
(like keeping their IPR under wraps as trade secrets, going about 
copyrighting, trade marking, service marking or patenting their 
work instead.)    (022)

2. *Thoughts on the Letter of the Ontolog IPR Policy and OPR 
protection in general*    (023)

Ontolog is a CoP ... it is NOT a legal entity.    (024)

IPR to contributions that goes into the Ontolog archived CWE (and 
hence the collective body of knowledge) belong to the 
individual(s) who made the contribution (to the extent traceable.)    (025)

Conversely, breaches of IPR can only come from individuals or 
parties who are in the act of making the breach.    (026)

To properly understand what the Ontolog IPR Policy entails, I 
would suggest that anyone interested should read through those 
few bullets (under: 
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid32 ) as 
well as the articles behind the links there.    (027)

Try reading up on:    (028)

* The Free Software Definition - 
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html    (029)

* The Open Source definition - 
http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php    (030)

* Open Source Licenses - http://opensource.org/licenses/category    (031)

* Open Standards Requirements - http://opensource.org/osr-intro    (032)

* Creative Commons License -
http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/meet-the-licenses    (033)

... one should also find the readings recently suggested by 
and ChristopherBaker 
very helpful too.    (034)

I suspect people who are not familiar with IP, IPR and IPR 
protection might easily miss the following basic tenets 
(prevalent under regimes where I operate,) and therefore, I list 
a few pertinent ones below just so we are all on the same page:    (035)

* the purpose of IPR statutes, in general, are there to foster 
innovation and permit the free flow of ideas    (036)

* one cannot patent an idea ... one only goes about patenting 
suitably qualified inventions, process, software, plants, etc.    (037)

* to patent an anything, it has to be (a) novel, and (b) 
non-obvious (in particular, non-obvious to someone knowledgeable 
in the field.)    (038)

* one cannot copyright a word, a title, a short phrase, etc.    (039)

* one cannot copyright an idea ... one only copyrights its 
expression in an Original Work of Authorship (OWA) (say, a 
drawing, a piece of writing, a music composition, etc.)    (040)

Once again, IANAL; therefore, anyone who has issues with what is 
said here is advised to consult an IP professional for 
clarification. If I got things wrong, please correct me so I can 
get it right the next time.    (041)

I hope the above helps clarify matters.    (042)

Regards.  =ppy    (043)

Peter Yim
Co-convener, Ontolog
--    (044)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (045)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>