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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontolog IPR issues

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Peter P. Yim" <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 05 May 2008 15:43:05 -0700
Message-id: <481F8D79.3090902@xxxxxxxx>
ERRATA:    (01)

The heading for "2." should have read:    (02)

"2. Thoughts on *the Letter of the Ontolog IPR Policy* and IPR 
protection in general"    (03)

(corrected below)    (04)

--     (05)

Peter P. Yim wrote Mon, 05 May 2008 15:24:09 -0700: [updated]
> All,
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 1. *The Spirit of the Ontolog IPR Policy*
> 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."
> By "open," as our very simple IPR policy states: (ref.
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid32 )
> //
> Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy    (32)
>    * 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)
>       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)
>       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)
>       o those who are unable to contribute under the above licensing 
> arrangements should refrain from contributing to the [ontolog-forum] 
> content.    (36)
> //
> Our membership policy also states: (ref.
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J )
> //
> * this is an OPEN, virtual Community of Practice ("CoP"), operated by 
> the community itself    (1M)
> * 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)
> ...
> * please ensure that your posts are relevant (to our Community Charter), 
> and that it complies with our IPR Policy. (ZBG)
> * 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)
> //
> 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."
> 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.
> If it is not clear enough (from the above policies and from Chris 
> Menzel's 2008.05.03 post - ref. 
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontology-summit/2008-05/msg00008.html ), 
> 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.)
> 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.)
> 2. Thoughts on *the Letter of the Ontolog IPR Policy* and IPR protection 
> in general
> Ontolog is a CoP ... it is NOT a legal entity.
> 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.)
> Conversely, breaches of IPR can only come from individuals or parties 
> who are in the act of making the breach.
> 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.
> Try reading up on:
> * The Free Software Definition - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
> * The Open Source definition - 
> http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php
> * Open Source Licenses - http://opensource.org/licenses/category
> * Open Standards Requirements - http://opensource.org/osr-intro
> * Creative Commons License -
> http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/meet-the-licenses
> ... one should also find the readings recently suggested by PeterBenson 
> (http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontology-summit/2008-05/msg00011.html) 
> and ChristopherBaker 
> (http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontology-summit/2008-05/msg00012.html) 
> very helpful too.
> 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:
> * the purpose of IPR statutes, in general, are there to foster 
> innovation and permit the free flow of ideas
> * one cannot patent an idea ... one only goes about patenting suitably 
> qualified inventions, process, software, plants, etc.
> * to patent an anything, it has to be (a) novel, and (b) non-obvious (in 
> particular, non-obvious to someone knowledgeable in the field.)
> * one cannot copyright a word, a title, a short phrase, etc.
> * 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.)
> 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.
> I hope the above helps clarify matters.
> Regards.  =ppy
> Peter Yim
> Co-convener, Ontolog
> -- 
>     (06)

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