Future time zone home

SM sm at resistor.net
Wed Oct 27 07:22:40 UTC 2010

Hi Eliot, Tony,
At 01:28 26-10-10, Eliot Lear wrote:
>Yes.  That is, people shouldn't expect to make any intellectual property
>claims based on their contributions.

Tony Finch commented on the "Note Well".

>True.  This is what we are saying today.

Some of the pointed I mentioned was so that people fully understand 
what to expect.

>In fact I think this text needs to be reworked.  I don't think we really
>CAN or SHOULD change the license terms for something that is either (a)
>already licensed by someone else or (b) in the public domain.  Again,
>the intent is to maintain the status quo from this regard, but to allow
>for some future additions that might require some sort of protection
>(tho what I cannot actually fathom).  How about just dropping everything
>after "license" and inserting ", should one exist"?

Please note that nothing in this message or any message I post on 
this thread should be considered as legal advice.

There are what are called inbound and outbound "rights".  (b) falls 
under outbound "rights".  Getting into a licensing discussion or 
changes to the hosting changes the status quo.  That cannot be 
avoided if this community would like to have a future time zone 
home.  I'll comment on this again below.

>I don't understand your intent.  I do not want to remove text here
>without a suggested replacement.

Getting into "competent court orders" opens the way for more 
problems.  The time zone database currently flies under the radar for 
historical reasons.  Creating a structure creates visibility and 
opens the way for politically correct or other claims.  Maybe this is 

>Changed to:
>The IANA will assist the IESG, as required, in filling of the TZ
>Coordinator,, based on the procedures described above.
>Read: let the IESG know if the TZ coordinator has resigned, grant
>access, revoke access, as required.


At 03:15 26-10-10, Tony Finch wrote:
>I think the TZ project's "Note Well" needs to state that all contributions
>are in the public domain or equivalently liberal licence (e.g. Creative
>Commons Zero http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/).

It would be good if it said "public domain".

>I note that SM's suggested text does not include an equivalent licence to
>organizations other than the IETF. RFC 4846 says "grant the same license
>to those organizations and to the community as a whole" which is perhaps
>broad enough (and, oddly, seems to be more liberal than the IETF
>contributors' licence).
>However this isn't a public domain licence so it *is* a change to the
>existing TZ licence.

As I mentioned previously, I am not arguing for a change in the 
license.  The text I quoted is not appropriate for "public domain" 
material.  It is more liberal than the IETF contributors' 
license.  It does not try to identify "code", i.e. code falls under 
the same license as the text.  It allows derivative work.  In 
essence, it does not protect the TZ database except for permission to 
compile and public the original work.

I'll adapt some text to elaborate on "rights":

   "Certain documents, including those produced by the U.S. government
    and those which are in the public domain, may not be protected by the
    same copyright and other legal rights as other documents.
    Nevertheless, we ask each Contributor to grant to the IETF the same
    rights as he or she would grant, and to make the same
    representations, as though the IETF Contribution were protected by
    the same legal rights as other documents, and as though the
    Contributor could be able to grant these rights.  We ask for these
    grants and representations only to the extent that the Contribution
    may be protected.  We believe they are necessary to protect the IETF
    all IETF participants and also because the IETF does not have the
    resources or wherewithal to make any independent investigation as to
    the actual proprietary status of any document submitted to it."

The gist here is to assign rights to avoid legal conundrums.  That 
should allay IETF concerns.  I am not sure how to get "public domain" 
in there if this community wants a formal home to cover 
everything.  If the issues can be separated, it may make matters 
easier.  Some points to consider are:

  (i)  A structure for having a stable TZ coordinator

  (ii) A distribution mechanism to publish the database and to host 
the TZ mailing list

  (iii) How to resolve the licensing issue

The structure can be addressed by this BCP or a RFC is the 
appropriate stream.  The distribution mechanism is about selecting a 
party which acts as a service provider and not one who can claim 
ownership over the database.  The third point depends on the second 
one.  A provider may require clear licensing guidance for obvious 
reasons.  If the distribution mechanism is lightweight, the TZ 
community could try and get away with

   "the public-domain time zone database contains code and data that 
represent the
    history of local time for many representative locations around the globe."

I suggested the RFC Editor site as a continuity of the 
"long-standing" practice to distribute the TZ database under the 
current terms.  You need buy-in from people who can help make that 
happen.  You can say that messages to the mailing list are placed in 
the public-domain.  If you use the line quoted above for the TZ 
database, you might be able to get around the licensing issue.  The 
TZ coordinator then oversees the publication of the database.


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