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Appeal: Continued Abuse of Process by IPR-WG Chair (Dean Anderson; 2007-12-26) - 2007-12-26
Response - 2008-01-15

   * To: Dean Anderson
   * Subject: Response to appeal from Dean Anderson dated 26-Dec-2007
   * From: IESG Secretary
   * Date: 15-Jan-2008
   * Cc: ietf-announce@ietf.org, ipr-wg@ietf.org

IESG Response to the claim of Continued Abuse of Process by IPR-WG Chair

Introduction

On Wednesday, December 26, 2007, Dean Anderson issued an appeal
claiming continued abuse of process by the IETF IPR WG Chair, Harald
Alvestrand.

The appeal is terse to the point of making it difficult to
understand. The IESG believes that the appeal covers the following
points.

  1. The IPR WG Chair has declared one side of a debate off-topic
    within the IPR WG. The appeal cites messages addressed to Todd
    Glassey and Simon Josefsson from Harald.

  2. The IPR WG Chair suspended Todd Glassey for asserting reasonable
    arguments contrary to the viewpoints of the IPR WG Chair and Brian
    Carpenter.

  3. The IPR WG Chair suspended Dean Anderson for asserting reasonable
    arguments contrary to the viewpoints of the IPR WG chair and Brian
    Carpenter.

  4. That the two suspensions are contrary to the law governing
    corporations, since a vote of the membership to suspend or expel
    members was not taken.

  5. The listed actions by the IPR WG Chair represent a pattern of
    harassment and intimidation.

Dean also proposes a remedy. Dean suggests the removal of Harald as
IPR WG Chair.

Each of these points in addressed in turn.

Declaring one side of a debate off topic -- Todd Glassey

When the IPR WG was formed, it was an appropriate place to discuss
the transfer of rights to the IETF. This topic was discussed at
length, and it is listed in the IPR WG Issue Tracker as issue #1197.
The issue was raised by Todd Glassey in February 2006, received
advice from counsel in March 2006, and was closed in April 2006 after
an IPR WG Last Call.

It is clear that the IPR WG considered Todd's alternate model for the
transfer of rights to the IETF, and that after sufficient discussion,
Todd's proposal was rejected. This decision is reflected in the
current IPR WG documents.

Despite this history, Todd's postings to the IPR WG mail list
indicate that he has not accepted the idea that rights are not
transferred to the IETF; rather, Todd's postings indicate that it
ought to be self-evident that rights are indeed transferred to the
IETF. Todd has expressed this view in multiple ways in many
messages. The IESG supports the IPR WG Chair in his decision that
this issue has been adequately discussed and declaring further
discussion to be counterproductive and off-topic.

Declaring one side of a debate off topic -- Simon Josefsson

On the IPR WG mail list, Simon Josefsson has been strongly advocating
that the IETF should grant licenses in its documents. Simon wants
the text and code in IETF document to be easily incorporated in works
released under open-source licenses, including the GPL. Simon gained
a lot of support for his position regarding code, but there was an
equal and opposite concern. Unless code can be shown to be free of
restrictions in license, such as the GPL "copyleft" requirement,
implementers who were not willing to use copylefted code would be
unable to use the code given as examples in IETF documents.

The issue was debated on the IPR WG mail list for a long time, and
many issues were revisited during the discussion. Eventually a
compromise emerged. Under the compromise, text and code are treated
differently. The document text can be copied, extracted, and
translated, but it cannot be modified. The code contained in
documents can be copied, modified, and used without restriction. To
offer this capability, code included in IETF documents must be
unencumbered. As a result, the doctrine of "no additional copyright
statements" was upheld by the IPR WG, and the language was clarified
to state that the submitter must ensure that they are able to warrant
that no restrictions exist on them being able to make the grant of
rights involved.

The IPR WG documents that contain this compromise went to IPR WG Last
Call, and no issue was raised against this compromise position.
However, Simon resumed his argument that the IETF should allow GPLed
code to be included in IETF documents, which would violate the
compromise. The IESG supports the IPR WG Chair in his decision that
this issue has been adequately discussed and declaring further
discussion to be counterproductive and off-topic.

Suspension of Todd Glassey from IPR WG mail list

The suspension of Todd Glassey from the IPR WG mail list is the
subject of another appeal to the IESG. That appeal will be handled
separately.

Suspension of Dean Anderson from IPR WG mail list

Dean Anderson posted messages to the IPR WG mail list containing
extreme accusations on matters that are not enlightening for the IPR
WG's active topics. Following these messages, Harald suspended
Dean's posting rights. The suspension message included these words:

I have noted that a few messages sent by Dean Anderson <dean@av8.com>
to this list were not in a tone expected for conversation on IETF lists.

Dean Anderson is also the subject of an in-power PR-Action:
http://www1.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf-announce/current/msg01967.html

Under the procedures of RFC 3683, I have suspended his posting
privilleges to the IPR-WG mailing list.

As indicated in the message from Harald, Dean is the subject of an
in-force PR-Action for the IETF mail list. This action was taken by
the IESG, following the procedure in RFC 3683, which also states in
Section 2:

  If approved by the IESG, then:

  o  those identified on the PR-action have their posting rights to
     that IETF mailing list removed; and,

  o  maintainers of any IETF mailing list may, at their discretion,
     also remove posting rights to that IETF mailing list.

RFC 3683 imposes no preconditions for removing the posting rights.
Nevertheless, this action was taken only after Dean posted
inappropriate messages to the IPR WG mail list.

The IESG believes that the IPR WG Chair acted properly. Dean was
making personal attacks, making convoluted legal arguments, and
threatening legal action. The PR-action was instituted to stop these
derogatory messages.

Contrary to the law governing corporations

Dean's assertion is based on a theory that the IETF is a membership
corporation. Of course, the IETF is not a membership corporation, so
no such vote is possible. The IETF has no members.

Pattern of harassment and intimidation

The IESG finds the actions of the IPR WG Chair, Harald Alvestrand, to
be consistent with IETF policies and procedures. All of the listed
actions were very public. The IESG finds no harassment or
intimidation.

Conclusion

For the reasons provided above, the appeal is denied.