Process Task Force

15 Feb 2016

See also: IRC log


Alan, Delfi_Ramirez(Spain), Jeff, Ralph, SteveZ, Mike_Champion


Alan's proposal on Members who are themselves Consortia

-> Alan's proposal $Id: Process2.1Proposal.html,v 1.19 2016/02/08 06:05:54 abird Exp $

Steve: maybe we can discuss a reply to Chaal's comments

-> Re: Issue-163 Update of Members that are Consortia themselves Chaal's comments on Alan's proposal

Alan: I'm not sure I understand Chaals' objection

Steve: I don't like redundancy either but the restriction on representation is buried deeply
... I understand "difficult to enforce" but the goal is to remind people what they're *supposed* to be doing

Alan: my team does not have the ability to tell a Consortium Member that they 4 people they appoint must represent the Consortium's views
... so we can work with them to get their members to join as W3C Members
... this needs some chair training too; a chair needs to be reminded to listen to how people are expressing themselves and remind them they must represent their consortium

Steve: I hate to add work to the chairs

Delfi: I've been following the work, but not an active participant

Steve: [recaps]
... I observed that one of the main things Alan is trying to accomplish is reminding representatives of Consortia that they must represent the entire consortium

Delfi: as an individual I think it's important that people who take a role act on the part of himself/herself
... the collaboration of institutions as partnerships
... people should have read the legal notices before they participate
... it's important that everyone who takes part in the work agree with all the conditions
... e.g. to whom all the work belongs

Steve: I'm not hearing anyone on this call who supports Chaals' point of view

Delfi: I might agree that the way Chaals demands that people who take part figure as members of a cooperation
... people taking part in standardization should be responsible by themselves

Alan: if we don't draw a line between people sitting in a seat representing a consortium vs. representing their core company
... I don't know how we'll resolve a current situation where someone employed by a multi-billion $ company is sitting in a WG as a representative of a consortium
... this consortium has no IP
... and we don't have IP commitments from the member company

Delfi: when a team produces something it has intrisic value that belongs to the consortium
... it may seem hard to balance a company who invests a lot in an individual
... it would be nice for W3C to find a balance between [such a company] and an individual

Steve: two things;
... when someone participates they're usually participating based on their own personal knowledge
... that's not what we're addressing here
... the point is that when a company is represented they may own patents on some things that become part of the standard
... and later demand license fees for implementation of the standard

Delfi: I understand
... I don't have a solution
... we've been living the last 5 years in an open source environment where everyone contributes something

Steve: [to Alan] I believe we were asking consortia participants to at least agree to the same policy Invited Experts agree to; disclose patents based on their personal knowledge

Alan: yes

Steve: that seems to be the strongest we're capable of getting
... so at least the person contributing must disclose based on his own knowledge

Alan: not sure that's enough

Steve: this would allow a lawyer to argue that this person violated the conditions of his participation by witholding knowledge that the company owned IP that he was aware of
... I know of at least one instance where this was done; the individual in question was the author of the patent
... so it at least provides a legal challenge to the company enforcing the patent that they violated the terms of their participation

Alan: the company [may not] have falsely represented as they don't [formally] have a seat at the table

Steve: but the individual has violated [the agreement]

Alan: what I want is for these consortia to not want to take the risk to W3C by exposing their membership rights
... we'd need to make clear that everyone has to live by Invited Expert rules
... and remind the consortia of their exposure

Steve: I agree with that

Delfi: I know people in some of the companies in Spain who are W3C Members
... we should take into consideration the [differences between] contributions of individuals who are also employed by these companies

Steve: there's a distinction between a company who is participating making a commitment on behalf of the company
... when an individual participates as an Invited Expert he makes a commitment only on the basis of his knowledge, not on behalf of the company
... where this gets grey is companies that are not IT companies -- we expect them to be W3C Members -- but when a company's primary business is not IT
... these companies have IP outside of the IT area and that's where their lawyers get concerned

Delfi: I'm not a lawyer myself so I can't give a quick solution
... individuals must be responsible for themselves
... agreeing to make fair use of the knowledge
... and the company must also be willing to understand that an individual by himself can benefit the consortium by acting themself

Steve: by making sure that we require participation of consortia members at least at the level of the I.E. Agreement then when they choose their participants those individuals will at least need to get permission to participate at that level

Alan: that covers part of it
... but I'm still concerned that by using a consortium -- e.g. a retail store consortium dealing with payment
... and Company P is a driver of that consortium
... Company P says to an employee 'ok, make your contributions under our retail consortium'
... that leaves open a route for continued abuse

Steve: in the interest of making some improvement to our policy that may fix the problem without reopening questions on the Patent Policy we're limited on how far we can go

Mike: a company that's not really in the Web space even though it uses the Web is going to be hard-pressed to justify [our Full Member fees]
... the value of an individual's time to participate in W3C is one thing
... but the additional Member Fee is a hard thing to justify

Alan: I have a real example; a large company is using a consortium membership to get what they want
... I want the broad base
... but I don't want major corporations who see the direct value of participating in W3C to be able to save 90% by participating through a consortium

Mike: how about a graduated rate for consortia?
... a mechanism for the Director [to use] when abuse is identified; set their member fee

Steve: Alan is trying to get those rules clearly stated in the Process
... right now he's [only able] to say that such a company is abusing the intent of consortia membership

Delfi: yes; I understand the challenge when a non-Web company wants to participate

Mike: we talked about this as we were designing Community Groups
... the value of W3C increases even when there are non-paying participants
... we assume that potential members who try out CG participation will see value in participating in AC votes, having their name on a Recommendation
... I don't want a special case that complicates things for others

Steve: Alan has been trying to use existing mechanisms; this text tries to make clear that existing mechanisms apply rather than making new ones
... since Chaals isn't here to represent his view ...
... I'd like to see a resolution that says
... (1) we believe that making the conditions of consortia membership more clear is something we should do
... (2) those conditions will use existing mechanisms, in particular the requirement for Invited Expert participation
... does that capture the key things you want to accomplish, Alan?

Alan: I'll have to take a close look
... there are points in the Process where we need to more clearly articulate this

Jeff: I don't see how this resolution addresses the specific text in Alan's proposal
... are we rejecting Alan's text in this resolution?

Steve: no, I was trying to reject Chaal's challenges to Alan's proposal

Jeff: let's vote on the proposal that's on the table

Steve: ok

<Alan> https://www.w3.org/2015/09/Process2.1Proposal.html

Steve: I believe Alan's proposal is consistent with what I was saying
... any objections?

Delfi: no objections

Steve: no objections heard
... therefore Alan's proposal is adopted
... so I now have an action to send a Call for Consensus for those who were not able to join this call
... this goes to the CG list

Mike: and the Advisory Board will also have a whack
... I'm taking no position here in this venue

Steve: I heard you say you don't want to discourage useful participation

Mike: absolutely
... and I want the Team to have tools to deal with someone who is abusing
... perhaps the Advisory Board can discuss more concrete cases

Steve: this meeting has adopted Alan's proposal and I'll send a Call for Consensus


<scribe> ACTION: Steve send a call for consensus on adopting Alan's proposed revision to the text on Members who are themselves Consortia [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2016/02/15-w3process-minutes.html#action01]

Summary of Action Items

[NEW] ACTION: Steve send a call for consensus on adopting Alan's proposed revision to the text on Members who are themselves Consortia [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2016/02/15-w3process-minutes.html#action01]

Summary of Resolutions

[End of minutes]

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$Date: 2016/02/15 17:04:35 $