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Joint OOR-Ontolog-NCBO-CC-IAOA-OASIS "OpenOntologyRepository_IPR Policy and Issues" Panel Discussion (session-3) - Thu 30-Sep-2010     (1)

  • Topic: "OOR-IPR session 3: discussion and consensus on licensing arrangements for the OOR Initiative, and positions we might take on related IPR issues"     (1A)

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  • Discussions and Q & A:     (1E6)
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    • You can type in your questions or comments through the browser based chat session by:     (1E6B)
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    • thanks to the soaphub.org folks, one can now use a jabber/xmpp client (e.g. gtalk) to join this chatroom. Just add the room as a buddy - (in our case here) ontolog_20100930@soaphub.org ... Handy for mobile devices!     (1E6E)
  • Please note that this session will be recorded, and the audio archive is expected to be made available as open content to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.     (1E10)

Attendees     (1G)

Resources     (1H)

Abstract     (1I)

  • Session Topic: "OOR-IPR session 3: discussion and consensus on licensing arrangements for the OOR Initiative, and positions we might take on related IPR issues"     (1I1)
This "OOR-IPR mini-series" will, hopefully, start a dialog among the global ontology community, to specifically address IPR issues relating to the "open ontology repository (OOR)" initiative. The discussion will, invariably, touch upon IPR issues pertaining to ontology in general as well.     (1I2)
This mini-series is jointly organized by the OOR initiative, the Ontolog-community, NCBO (US National Center for Biomedical Ontology), CC (Creative Commons), IAOA (the International Association for Ontology and its Applications) and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).     (1I3)
Given the complexity of the issues involved, one can look as this mini-series to merely be the beginning of a quest, by the collaborating parties and their communities, to fully understand the issues, and to get themselves into a position to address them.     (1I4)
After looking at the pertinent IPR landscape, and assessing IPR issues that are related to OOR in the first two sessions, we shall, at this 3rd session of the OOR-IPR mini-series, discuss the options that are open to us, and attempt to arrive at some consensus on licensing arrangements that should be adopted for various aspects of the OOR Initiative.     (1I5)
Please refer also to the background and thoughts collected during the process of organizing this mini-series, at: OpenOntologyRepository_IPR     (1I6)

Agenda & Proceedings     (1J)

The Strawman     (1K)

Candidate IPR Policy for the OOR Initiative     (1K1)

  • Any content contribution to OOR should specify an IPR license, as part of the OOR "gatekeeping" requirements, which will be maintained in the content contribution metadata. Each repository using the OOR software can specify its own set of acceptable IPR content licenses.     (1K1B)

Candidate Position Statements that we would make     (1K2)

(as a joint community co-organizing this effort) which we will seek (optional) endorsements by individual members of the communities involved.     (1K2A)

  • we believe ontologies are fundamental to enabling interoperability, and therefore support the position that ontology should not be patentable.     (1K2B)
  • we also believe that patents covering software will discourage, rather than encourage, innovation, and therefore support the position that software should not be patentable.     (1K2C)

Key follow-up action items     (1K3)

  1. modify the strawman based on today's conversation, essentially in removing "compatible" gift licenses as much as we can, and adding a bullet on accepting libraries (Apache and LGPL) for software contributions; and then float that to the mailing lists for further discussion and consensus building as planned;     (1K3A)
  2. starting a wikipage to develop and substantiate our position on "no ontology patents;"     (1K3B)
  3. check if there is serious objection (from the co-organizing communities) in our posting the two "no patents" positions ... if there is no serious objection to do it, we'll start a wikipage to collect endorsements to those positions;     (1K3C)
  4. make contact and "recruit" legal professionals who will be willing to work with us (on a pro bono basis, at least initially, possibly long haul) so we do have proper legal advice and opinion when the team needs to deal with IPR issues in the future     (1K3D)

Transcript of the online chat during the session     (1L)

see raw transcript here.     (1L1)

(for better clarity, the version below is a re-organized and lightly edited chat-transcript.)     (1L2)

Participants are welcome to make light edits to their own contributions as they see fit.     (1L3)

-- begin of chat session --     (1L4)

Welcome to the Joint OOR-Ontolog-NCBO-CC-IAOA-OASIS     (1L6)

OpenOntologyRepository_IPR Policy and Issues Panel Discussion (session-3) - Thu 30-Sep-2010     (1L7)

  • Topic: "OOR-IPR session 3: discussion and consensus on licensing arrangements for the OOR Initiative,     (1L8)

and positions we might take on related IPR issues"     (1L9)

o Mr. Peter P. Yim (Co-convener, OOR; Ontolog; IAOA) - presenting the "Strawman"     (1L12)

o Mr. Mike Dean (Co-convener, OOR; Raytheon-BBN) - Commentary, as team lead for the OOR system development     (1L13)

o Mr. Bruce Perens (original author of the "Open Source Definition") - Commentary     (1L14)

o Mr. JamesBryceClark - (General Counsel, OASIS) - Commentary     (1L15)

Please refer to details on the session page     (1L16)

anonymous morphed into Yuriy Milov     (1L19)

anonymous morphed into JamieClark     (1L20)

[... someone accidentally put the line on hold, and a fanfare got piped through into the conference! :-) ]     (1L21)

JamieClark: would a condition that your theme music be played, before you speak, violate a     (1L22)

requirement that your contribution be unconditional?     (1L23)

anonymous1 morphed into Matt Liebenson1     (1L24)

anonymous1 morphed into Elizabeth Florescu     (1L25)

[ Peter P. Yim presenting "the strawman" ]     (1L26)

Bruce Perens: We need to have a discussion of "license combinatorics".     (1L27)

Bruce Perens: Default to BSD is OK. Having a large combination of other licenses in the mix is _not_ OK     (1L29)

for reasons I will explain.     (1L30)

Bruce Perens: I say stuff like this all the time. Unfortunately I can't get either the Supreme Court     (1L31)

or Congress to listen, nor even the Patent office.     (1L32)

Bruce Perens: No. Well, there are some limited possibilities.     (1L33)

Bruce Perens: Nor whether Ontology is a copyrightable nor patentable art.     (1L34)

AlexGarcia: should all ontologies adopt a license? I mean as soon as a repository is part of the     (1L35)

federation should those ontologies being hosted by those repositories part of the federation adopt     (1L36)

one licensing schema?     (1L37)

JamieClark: I actually think ontologies are useful as an instance of proof that the existing IP     (1L38)

legal regime has some holes and uncertainties. So a facile statement that ontologies are, or are     (1L39)

not, covered, seems of little value.     (1L40)

JamieClark: ... Simple-minded lawyer's version of "license combinatorics": Tragically, not     (1L41)

everything works with everything else. No matter how much you wish it so.     (1L42)

AlexGarcia: not all the ontologies being hosted by swoogle have the same licensing schema     (1L44)

JamieClark: Bruce says (if I understand correctly): FreeBSD implicitly includes a patent license due     (1L45)

to the patent exhausting doctrine, but doesn't hit the hot button of an explicit patent grant.     (1L46)

Bruce Perens: Right. It's the doctrine of patent exhaustion, and the fact that the license does not     (1L47)

explicitly say it only grants copyright rights.     (1L48)

Bruce Perens: The problem, Jamie, is that Ontology is executed.     (1L49)

AlexGarcia: sourceforge.net makes it easy for people to use their repository by providing several     (1L50)

licenses for the projects they host     (1L51)

Bruce Perens: But not all of the stuff on Source Forge is meant to be combined. We will be combining     (1L52)

ontologies. Open Source projects that are meant to be combining pieces arrive at a common set of     (1L53)

compatible licenses.     (1L54)

AlexGarcia: the networking nature of ontologies is a problem     (1L55)

AlexGarcia: how do people license libraries of software. when using ontologies as modules they are     (1L56)

similar to libraries     (1L57)

Bruce Perens: Library licenses allow for more combination than non-library licenses. LGPL is an     (1L58)

example. GPL terms but combine it with anything.     (1L59)

Bruce Perens: Non-assert is not as safe as a license.     (1L60)

JamieClark: Bruce and I aren't disagreeing here: any contributor who thinks their stuff IS     (1L61)

executable (or bears similar use characteristics) ought to have the ability to involve a license     (1L62)

that (like BSD) gives them as-is-whereis-waiver protection.     (1L63)

Bruce Perens: Jamie, is the contributor the one who needs to determine that, or the person who might     (1L64)

have to process the ontology?     (1L65)

JamieClark: On "Nonassertion covenants", here is a writeup:     (1L66)

Adam Pease: Does current thinking support allowing LGPL code as part of the OOR?     (1L68)

JamieClark: And here is an early (2005) nonassertion instance:     (1L69)

JamieClark: @Bruce: well, if we let people who contribute have a choice, the decision's made by each     (1L71)

of them at design-time. Then at run-time, each user decides whether the aggregated rights on offer     (1L72)

are good enough for their planned use. (Or they let some filtering function like an IPR rule     (1L73)

substitute for their own judgment.)     (1L74)

Bruce Perens: That's why I'd rather grant the right by default. Why make things harder for the user?     (1L75)

AlexGarcia: which is run-time for ontologies? is it run-time for the software using the ontologies?     (1L76)

Stuart Turner: Are the licenses mentioned so far those of interest or desired or are they in fact the     (1L77)

existing licenses of all software, including libraries, in the current OOR technology stack?     (1L78)

Bruce Perens: Usual $12,000 charge for me to explain this to the customer's lawyer, and then the     (1L79)

lawyer charges that much too.     (1L80)

Stuart Turner: We had Palamida perform a IP analysis on a set of proprietary code in order for us to     (1L81)

remove IP restrictions and replace components with compatible open source libraries. These services     (1L82)

were gifted, but we had the impression the costs were at least what Bruce mentioned.     (1L83)

Bruce Perens: That's right. Include a GPL component in software and you have to treat the entire work     (1L84)

as GPL until you've removed that component. Which I generally like for my software but it might not     (1L85)

work for you.     (1L86)

Bruce Perens: It's a question of "contribute" vs. "interoperate".     (1L87)

Bruce Perens: Viral is pejorative.     (1L88)

Peter P. Yim: sorry, Bruce! ... "reciprocal" �� :-)     (1L89)

Bruce Perens: Or "share and share alike".     (1L90)

Bruce Perens: I have nightmares that MPAA will start getting kindergartens to teach kids not to share     (1L91)

their toys.     (1L92)

JamieClark: @Bruce: Maybe the pejorative itself is fixed in time and culture. I pointed out to a     (1L93)

child that a certain thing might have a virus recently, and her reaction was 'cooooooool'.)     (1L94)

JamieClark: (and she set about debugging it.)     (1L95)

Bruce Perens: And not enough about the license applied to ontologies.     (1L96)

Bruce Perens: We need to establish two things: 1. that we can make a tool together without license     (1L97)

issues, and 2. that we can actually have ontologies interoperate when we're done.     (1L98)

JamieClark: Mike's here, let's ask him.     (1L99)

Bruce Perens: That was my statement of approval.     (1L100)

Mike Dean: good point about LGPL     (1L101)

Bruce Perens: LGPL can be combined with other licenses. There are additional requirements on     (1L102)

distribution. You must be able to replace the LGPL component in situ, so we usually distribute it as     (1L103)

Bruce Perens: It's possible from a legal perspective.     (1L105)

Bruce Perens: You must distribute source with the LGPL component or respond to requests for it for a     (1L106)

period of 3 years.     (1L107)

Bruce Perens: BSD is in there because we know it doesn't have combinatorial problems.     (1L108)

Bruce Perens: BSD is more used than MIT and is functionally equivalent.     (1L109)

Bruce Perens: 3-clause BSD or 2-clause is probably immaterial.     (1L110)

Bruce Perens: They (the OOR team) need an IPR committee.     (1L111)

JamieClark: I agree BSD is optimally useful. But you are already talking about going out with a set     (1L112)

of tools that's pregnant with Mozilla and Eclipse. So of what relevance is a generalized desire for     (1L113)

BSD terms, if getting there would require rework of all the software packages you are now     (1L114)

assembling?     (1L115)

Peter P. Yim: because "as open as possible; as free as possible" is an important part of the OOR vision,     (1L116)

and "(2-clause) Simplified BSD" comes closest to that (than the Mozilla or Eclipse licenses)     (1L117)

JamieClark: (*** Aspirational statements and license terms are distinct phenomena. ***)     (1L118)

Mike Dean: There probably should be a list of allowable library/dependency licenses as well, e.g.     (1L119)

Apache and LGPL.     (1L120)

Mike Dean: There also needs to be some escape clause for evaluating other licenses on a case-by-case     (1L121)

basis and/or re-evaluating the list periodically.     (1L122)

JamieClark: Ick! lawyers! At run-time!     (1L123)

JamieClark: If your system induces each contributor to ask a lawyer, every time, isn't that a fail?     (1L124)

Bruce Perens: They will anyway, if they work for an organization bigger than 50 people.     (1L125)

Bruce Perens: You can accept a contribution on a defined list of licenses along with a statement from     (1L126)

the contributor that they have the right to contribute the work.     (1L127)

Bruce Perens: Don't say this in public before you have tenure.     (1L128)

Stuart Turner: We are exposing to the community (healthcare/NIH) information about relevant extant     (1L129)

ontologies. Our objective is more a registry than a repository. Despite clearly wishing for     (1L130)

universal adoption of open source and open content licensing, we have a considerable number of     (1L131)

ontologies (also terminologies/vocabularies) that have proprietary licensing that is not compatible     (1L132)

with this vision. Excluding these ontologies is not consistent with our goals of informing the     (1L133)

community, unfortunately, so we need to remain agnostic regarding the chosen license (for content).     (1L134)

We also wish to identify a canonical and current source (IRI/URI/OID) for a given license as well.     (1L135)

Peter P. Yim: @Jamie - good point about substantiating our position with "why" we don't want to see     (1L136)

ontologies be patentable     (1L137)

Peter P. Yim: maybe we should start a wikipage to build out the substantiation to our position     (1L138)

JamieClark: i think we could contribute substantially to that debate, yes     (1L139)

JamieClark: Among other things, John Wilbanks (who's absent today) told us 3 weeks ago that his group     (1L140)

is going to publish further on this point.     (1L141)

Bruce Perens: Software patents are the elephant in the living room of Open Source.     (1L142)

Bruce Perens: Tim Berners-Lee and W3C would probably join you in calling for there to be no patents     (1L143)

on ontologies.     (1L144)

Peter P. Yim: @Bruce - can you provide names of people who might provide pro bono legal help to this     (1L145)

Mike Dean: Thanks everyone     (1L148)

JamieClark: Thanks all, very interesting.     (1L149)

Peter P. Yim: Action items: (i) modify the strawman based on today's conversation, essentially in     (1L150)

removing "compatible" gift licenses as much as we can, and adding a bullet on libraries (Apache and     (1L151)

LGPL) .... and float that to the mailing lists for further discussion and consensus as planned; (ii)     (1L152)

starting a wikipage to develop and substantiate our position on "no ontology patents;" (iii) check     (1L153)

if there is serious objection (from the co-organizing communities) in our posting the two "no     (1L154)

patents" positions ... if there is no serious objection to do it, we'll start a wikipage to collect     (1L155)

endorsements to those positions; (iv) make contact and "recruit" legal professionals who will be     (1L156)

willing to work with us (on a pro bono basis, at least initially, possibly long haul) so we do have     (1L157)

proper legal advice and opinion when the team needs to deal with IPR issues in the future     (1L158)

Peter P. Yim: Great session ... thanks everyone!     (1L159)

Peter P. Yim: -- session ended: 12:33pm PDT --     (1L160)

-- end of chat session --     (1L161)

Consensus IPR Policy for the OOR Initiative     (1M)

... upon adoption as a consensus by the participants at this session, this policy will be circulated via the community mailing list(s) and will be opened to comments from the rest of the community for one week. Barring serious objection (under which circumstances, the subject will be re-opened to debate by those involved), this OOR IPR Policy (non-substantive edits included, as appropriate) will be adopted and go into effect as of 15-Oct-2010.     (1M2)

... (coming!)     (1M3)

  • Further Question & Remarks - please post them to the [ oor-forum ] listserv     (1M4)
    • if you are already subscribed, post to <oor-forum [at] ontolog.cim3.net>     (1M4A)
    • (if you are not yet subscribed) you may subscribe yourself to the [ oor-forum ] listserv, by sending a blank email to <oor-forum-join [at] ontolog.cim3.net> from your subscribing email address, and then follow the instructions you receive back from the mailing list system.     (1M4B)
    • more general issues related to Ontology (say, IPR issues relating more to ontology in general, rather than to OOR specifically) are discussed at the [ontolog-forum] mailing list, which all members of the Ontolog community are already subscribed to. If what we do here aligns well with your professional interest, consider joining the community. Membership details can be found here.     (1M4C)

Audio Recording of this Session     (1M5)

  • suggestion: its best that you listen to the session while having the presentation opened in front of you. You'll be prompted to advance slides by the speaker.     (1M5E)
  • Take a look, also, at the rich body of knowledge that this community has built together, over the years, by going through the archives of noteworthy past Ontolog events. (References on how to subscribe to our podcast can also be found there.)     (1M5F)

For the record ...     (1M5G)

How To Join (while the session is in progress)     (1M6)


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