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Re: [ontology-summit] founding members meeting' , ownership of 'open ont

To: Ontology Summit 2008 <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 20:33:22 -0500 (CDT)
Message-id: <alpine.OSX.1.00.0805022341310.4069@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Fri, 2 May 2008, paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Deborah
> all contributions to the Ontolog community todate, are under the
> existing copyright policty,    (01)

I believe you are completely mistaken about that.    (02)

> which includes 'right of attribution' -- this means nobody can
> extrapolate knowlege propagated via the list withouth duly referencing
> its source.    (03)

Aside from the fact that the idea of "extrapolating knowledge propagated
via the list" is far too vague to enable anyone to follow this
injunction, the proposal that particular Ontolog participants should be
cited for their contributions to Ontolog -- which seems to be your
concern -- is simply not feasible.  With rare exceptions, you can't
possibly sort out who is responsible for what in the sort of open
free-for-all of wikis, telecons, documents, meetings, and mailing lists
that is Ontolog.  You can of course identify direct quotes to verify
that so-and-so said such-and-such at this or that time, but the
provenance of almost everything that has been proposed, discussed and
debated in this sort of anarchic environment would be impossible to
trace.  For the most part, the best that anyone could do would be to
cite the project itself for ideas and documents clearly arising from it.    (04)

Ontolog is *open* and *collaborative*.  Anyone looking for *personal*
credit for the ideas arising from the project, or who is concerned about
claiming the rights to this or that idea/comment/brainstorm/whatever
should simply not be participating, but should restrict himself or
herself to the traditional forum of refereed journals and other
copyrighted venues.  Of course, if an idea can be clearly traced to a
specific Ontolog participant, professional ethics would oblige anyone
who used the idea in a paper or presentation to cite the source.  But I
can't imagine that anyone can with the remotest plausibility make any
claims to intellectual property rights to anything they say or write in
any of Ontolog's several outlets.  Indeed, IANAL, but it seems to me
that Peter Yim's repeated and emphatic assertions concerning on the
free, open and noncommercial nature of anything posted to Ontolog Forum
clearly trumps any claims to IPR.  And surely they have served as fair
warning to anyone who thinks otherwise.    (05)

> This include all discussions, papers and wiki entries relating to Open
> Ontology, (from which the OOR stuff is derived)    (06)

Are you saying there were no antecedents to the idea of an OOR besides
Ontolog discussions, papers, and wikis?  That is grossly incorrect.  The
idea of an OOR most certainly did not originate from anything in
Ontolog; it predates Ontolog, and indeed has been around as long as
ontological engineering itself.  Notably, the Stanford Knowledge Systems
Lab (KSL) has had an open, online ontology repository since at least
1995.  Note the title of a 1997 paper by Richard Fikes and Adam Farquhar
reporting on KSL's work: "Large-Scale Repositories of Highly Expressive
Reusable Knowledge", a.k.a. ontologies
(ftp://ftp.ksl.stanford.edu/pub/KSL_Reports/KSL-97-02.ps.gz).  And in
case you think the idea of "open" is missing here, their online
"Ontolingua Server" could be used by anyone to access the ontology
repository, and the server was explicitly billed as "a tool for
collaborative ontology construction".  Since that time, any number of
open ontology projects have arisen -- just off the top of my head: the
DAML ontology library, the TONES Ontology Repository at Manchester, and
the Protege Ontology library.    (07)

> and Ontology Metadata, for example (of which, incidentally I am the
> author)    (08)

I'm not certain, but it seems to me that you are saying that you came up
with the idea of ontology metadata.  Googling "ontology metadata" (with
quotes) yields almost 8000 hits.  Your name is present in 7 of them, all
within the past year.  You might in particular have a look at the
Ontology Metadata Vocabulary project from ontoware.org that Natasha Noy
mentioned in a recent post (http://ontoware.org/projects/omv) and which
is also mentioned in the 2008 NIST Ontology Summit Communique.  This
project has been around since at least 2005.  And it is only one among
several others of this nature.    (09)

> Even if the names of the topics are shuffled around a bit, and the
> content of the contribution is desperately being y morphed and
> exploded into bigger picture using awkward linguisting convolutions,
> it is obvious that the OOR discussions, and derived artifaces,
> currently being discussed in a privale list,    (010)

There are no private OOR lists.    (011)

> under a separate IPR policy, to be decided, originated from those
> entries done on the list and on the wiki, and reference existing
> copyrighted work (stuff that is not on the ontolog list)    (012)

The Ontolog OOR Initiative does not make any claims of precedence or
originality.  It is a new iteration of an old idea that hopes to harness
the substantial energy and collective brain power of the Ontolog
community to refine the idea of an OOR.  The Communique issuing from the
recent Summit shows the influence of dozens of researchers and many
diverse projects stretching over many years.    (013)

> So while lack of reference in subsequent developments of this research
> area is unethical (and puzzling) it is also a copyright infringement
> (right of attribution) of pre- existing IPR    (014)

Again, I believe you are quite mistaken about this.    (015)

> So I am afraid ' to be specified soon'  implies, by law,  in
> accordance to existing IPR policies of the forum where the IPR was
> generated in the first place.    (016)

Then if we're talking about the Ontolog OOR Initiative, the ones with
the rights you seem to be talking about are such institutions as KSL,
ISI, SRI, etc where the idea of an OOR actually arose and was initially
implemented through the work of Richard Fikes, Tom Gruber, Bob Neches,
Tim Finin, Jerry Hobbs, Pat Hayes, etc (none of whom, by the way, are
referenced in your own work).  Moreover, a study of the literature will
reveal foreshadowings of the idea well back into the 1970s (I suspect
John Sowa was already talking about it back then!), so if you are
correct, it seems to me that we'll have to explore back at least that
far in order to identify who actually possesses the IPR you have in
mind.    (017)

Chris Menzel    (018)

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