Legal XML Group
Friday September 17, 1999
|Venue:||Los Angels Convention Center|
|Date and Time:||Friday September 17, 1999|
|Attendees:||59 Attendees were present at the meeting|
|Meeting Commenced:||9:15 am|
|Lunch :||12:45 pm to 1:45 pm|
|Meeting Closed:||3:45 pm|
Presentation by Todd Vincent
Introduction and welcome.First part of the morning will involve a discussion of formal governance issues and the Draft Operating Rules that have been posted to the discussion forum and are available at www.legalxml.org. Thank you to FindLaw for the use of the domain. The draft rules have been modeled on the W3C framework. One of the key issues will relate to Intellectual Property. It appears that one possible scenario may be for a legal entity like legalXML to hold the rights then to grant out a licence. We will discuss this key issue further during the presentation.
Key components of the Draft Operating Rules are contained in the PowerPoint presentation.
Members Roles & Organisational Units - any legal entity (natural person or org), a member can play more than one role, Legal XML Roles, Organisations Units help to administrate workload (eg. standards review committee, and workgroups to develop IP).
Rights and Obligations - IP steward, Sponsor (special rights & obligations eg. to choose Director) - rights to see work before publication.
Proposed structure is:
Intensive discussion took place regarding this proposal. The group generally rejected the proposal and raised concerns about intellectual property assignment issues particularly in relation to government employees who do not own their own work product ie so how can they assign it to LegalXML. There was no resolution on this issue at this stage of the meeting. Discussion also took place about the potential use of CopyLeft licences.
FeesThere are none proposed at present.
Process & Procedure
|Question:||What about ANSI or ISO involvement?|
|Todd:||I had not anticipated that but it may evolve over time.|
|Comment:||Oasis could provide structural framework for this group.|
|Todd:||Sam has explored that and the response was they are not interested in developing standards but they are happy to be a repository for DTDs etc once they have been developed.|
|Comment:||They will not take ownership but they have procedures that could be used to address umbrella governance issues.|
|Comment:||Standards developed here will need to be harmonised with international organisations and ISO etc|
|Comment:||SGML was under development for 15 years before became an ISO standard.|
|Comment:||ISO has been approached on XML recently and it was shot down .. they are not easy people to deal with.|
|Todd:||ITF has people who are in tune with those standards ..|
Harmonisation of Marketing, Web Sites and Mailing Lists
Marketing – avoid duplication of work effort (eg. John Grecean’s parallel work) ie we need to work together as far as possible and come up with a clean message that is easy to understand
Mailing List – soon to be set upMailing List - soon to be set up
Q : what about giving chairs control of certain parts of the web site to relieve your burden
A : yes FTP access will be implemented to appropriate persons so that this can take place.
Q : I don't understand why this work needs to be treated as copyright instead of free domain.
Q : there is a public function here that needs to be served.. why can't we have a governmental group where all persons who go beyond a certain part of the site are advised that information is in the public domain
Mark Hellman (IP lawyer, Programmer and ABA representative) : please back away from these issues and look at the project, the laws apply to facts. What is the project, scope, goal ? I understood that we are creating a standard way to interoperate in a compatible way so your own software (proprietary or public) will be able to effectively communicate. By its nature it will be public. Individual contributors must make sure they don't give away the "candy store".
Bob Marxon from Search (membership organisation) : let's say we are trying to build a court filing DTD - it will have things like names in it so how do I know it is the same as names used in other environments - answer is namespace has been defined in the XML standard. It is the namespace that must be protected.
Response : Namespace pointer is designed to provide a unique pointer (within the document)
Todd : We are not trying to standardise applications, we are trying to standardise an interface, vendors are in the business of building onto standards. This work should be good for vendors.
P Miller (Yale Law School) : It is very easy to take a public domain document and allow others, such as vendors, to add value incrementally which they can then protect. The method is called "copyleft" so improvements should remain copyleft. LegalXML needs to hold patents. This is very important. We need to avoid problems such as those encountered in relation to Cascading Style Sheets where the patents were owned by MS then licenced to the WWW consortium. Copyleft has also not been tested in court yet.
John Messing (Law-on-line) : There is a patent procedure that allows for this I think (ie making it unpatentable).
Mark Hellmann : If you make something freely available then you can't claim copyright protection.
Name ? : Public Domain is a misnomer “Privatisable Domain” is the real term. I would like to suggest that a sub-group should look at legal framework and associated IP issues
Judge : We will need a mechanism to allow participation in the group, perhaps including a waiver that will need to be made by persons who want to contribute or be involved in the group to avoid unfortunate litigation because this could really become a problem for us if we don’t think it through now.
Jim McMillan : I want to take Todd’s ideas to the group now .. let’s get the show on the road..
Todd : Timeline of January 2000 is not feasible for an e-filing XML framework but there is demand for this now. Let’s confirm that we are trying to standardise an XML interface for e-filing here?. However, as an interim measure, it is desirable that a DTD be created that can be used as a "wrapper" for a PDF "blob". In this way, the short term requirements for efiling can hopefully be met before a full blown XML DTD can be agreed upon and implemented.
Comment : We need to differentiate specification from code and documentation. Copyleft will enable code and documentation to be modified and improved over time and this is the intent of the framework.
Todd : The specification should not be modified, however, code and documentation should be able to be altered.
Comment : I need to comment on that. The role of the standards group is to define specifications that vendors can implement. The standards group does not develop code. The standards group should also develop a test framework that can be used by any vendor or interested party to determine whether particular code meets the specification. Ultimately public bodies will hopefully be conscious of embracing only those products that have met the standard through compliance tests. This is a very different approach to saying that code and documentation can be modified.
Break for morning tea
Meeting Resumed at 11:00 am
Bill (Texas) – We don’t know where this is going? What is the scope? State employees need to interact with this at the receiving end. We don’t want governance and rules until we know what is going on and what the purpose of this group is. What is there to govern if we do not have a clear purpose and goal?
Todd – perhaps we have put the cart before the horse in the agenda but governance is important which is why we put this first. Others may not share my view of the world. Your issues will be addressed. Let’s get a mailing list established in relation to operating and governance issues.
Rich Himes (District Court New Mexico): At the ABA show Richard Hornbeck made a presentation about standards problems and recommended a certification process and there are now two independent projects that use and have validated this process.
John Messing : What is procedure for adopting operating rules ?
Todd : I sense we are not close to that and we need a mailing list forum through which we can continue this debate. Perhaps we need an action list? My intention was to move forward on the draft operating rules based on all comments received today. I think we are about one week away. As soon as everyone agrees with operating rules they can fill in the application to participate. If we can come to closure on the operating rules we can get underway.
Sam Hunting : What are the key time frames for this group?
Todd : We need to work on the wrapper around the PDF file. This is the short term goal ie 3-6 months.
Sam Hunting : How long will we be discussing operating rules?
Todd : Hopefully not long. Some of this is up to all of you.
Jim McMillan : I will apply some resources from the NCSC to this. John Grecean has called a meeting of their group later this year so we will also support that also.
Todd : John, can we call your meeting the 2nd meeting of this group and treat this as a merged initiative.
John Grecean : I am a little reluctant to do that at present because as a public official I am concerned about the appropriateness of the structure you propose in relation to Intellectual Property issues. It is extremely cumbersome for us. We definitely want to work with you and acknowledge your expertise but the operational structure for this group is not right for us yet, particularly in relation to Intellectual Property.
Jim Keane (JusticeLINK and ABA Xfiles group) : We all need to go back to our organisations and have a think about this. The ABA has been approached to be the Steward. Things are moving rapidly at the transmission envelope level. The broader document standard issue will go longer and slower but we need to move quickly. We need to accommodate everyone’s concerns including the concern about public employees and IP issues. And we need to distinguish “the code” from “the specification”.
Mark Hellman (IP Lawyer) : I suggest that rather than direct votes on a standard, I would like to be able to report back to the ABA that there was acceptance in principle about the broad framework and objectives and that we would like to proceed further in detail. Also perhaps we could think about the ABA’s potential role. How can they help ?
Phil Ytterberg : Standards will be defined largely, if not entirely, by the courts. Based on our research, we believe courts would likely adopt standards that reflect specific local jurisdiction needs. Courts set the standards that litigants must meet - from the required content and format of pleadings, to the way filing fees are paid, and the hours filings are accepted. The standards, of course, do not define whether litigants use courier service A or B to get to the courthouse, nor whether they use software X, Y or Z to create and manage their filings. The courts have low/no interest in which software a law office uses, which couriers it hires, or even which routes the couriers take to get to the court's intake counter. Rather, courts have a high interest that filings are presented at intake in compliance with their standards. The standards relate to efficient information management at the court. Courts keep their standards open so that everyone can select among alternative solutions that serve their individual needs. There can be one outcome - a standard set by courts for accurate documents, data, and fees - and still be a variety of different approaches to complying that are customized to unique needs and that will drive rapid adoption of eFiling.
Richard Zorza : I suggest that any consensus we reach today should be expressed to be on an individual rather than an organisational level. It is clear that there needs to be some recommended standards in relation to legal documents (contents and the envelopes around them) and that one group needs to work on these definitions and the group need to develop a Rule of Intellectual Property to govern the operations. The purpose of the Rule of Intellectual Property is to ensure that no-one captures the IP in their own right and it seems there are two models we could adopt : the Public Domain Model or the Copyleft Model and we need to look into those options more closely. But we need to agree on the objectives of the group and what we are trying to achieve first.
John Grecean : I am happy with that
Richard Zorza : ABA could help in a number of ways and can take it on board re ABA broader agenda.
Todd : Georgia State will be a sponsor for this group. The dean of MIT is also interested. If we can get JTC interested we could bring on additional sponsors and consider the role organizations like ABA could take.
Jim McMillan : Sorry, I can’t agree to that because there are a number of people who have a real problem with the ABA. In terms of a working group for XML I don’t have a problem but in relation to a broader role such as the Steward, I think there may be some political problems.
Judge King : I would like to suggest the following motion (the following wording was shown to the group):
“We (this word was added later after some discussion about the definition of “we” eg. individuals or the organisations represented here… ) agree to collaborate in the establishment for the public and private sectors of standards of compatibility of XML documents for information transfer.”
Richard Zorza : We need some mention of the IP component perhaps as a second motion.
Neil Iscoe : I think we need to have an overview of why we are here. Is anyone interested now in a 8-10 minute presentation? I have a few slides.
Gerard Peragrin : It is important to distinguish “applications” from “documents” and I think the motion that is proposed does not do this. Can we make it clearer please. I think we should focus on “communication specifications” so that it doesn’t leak over into the “application” area.
Judge King : the standards should focus on compatibility and interoperability.
Gerard Peragrin : I think we are moving into the application area with that.
Neil Iscoe (CEO of eCertain) : Let’s resolve this definition and resolution via email rather than take up time today.
Jim McMillan : Let’s continue the discussion via email in relation to the draft resolution.
Judge King : I really think we just need something to move forward on today. Let’s come out of this meeting with something about what the group has resolved.
Todd : Let’s pass a motion that we accept this resolution subject to further clarification of scope.
Mora Roley (SCT) : We are not all here as individuals. A number of us are representing public or private organisations with big stakes in this. I am concerned about the use of the word “we”. Please don’t underestimate the importance of the wording in that regard. I cannot vote on that resolution today.
Jim McMillan : Who feels they can vote on a resolution of this nature today.
Response - about half of the room confirmed they could vote at the meeting today.
Mark Hellmann : The ABA has invested significant funds to send us here but we, like many others here, can’t vote today. I suspect we will have an under representation if we try to vote today.
Allison Stanfield (e-Law Australia) : What about a motion to table the draft resolution to the XML discussion group so that the vote can take place via electronic means in, say, 10 days?
A RESOLUTION was passed to accept this suggestion.
Presentation by Neil Iscoe (CEO, eCertain)
Main issues emerging from powerpoint slide were :
Todd continued his presentation at this point ..
Why is defining the Legal Domain important ?
It helps to organise scope of sub-domains and dependencies, simplicity, extensibility,
The Legal XML Domain
The XCI framework developed by Rich Himes uses a tagging framework that is a little different to mine.
Here is Todd's view of the world:
<Header> - optional if you have an xml body …
Blob (base 64 encoded) Blob
<Dsig Signature> optional
Over next six months I hope this group can work together to discuss issues such as the following :-
Presentation by Sam Hunting US Patent and Trademark Organisation
“XML Elements and Architectures by electronic Patent Prosecution at the USPTO”
Presentation by Rich Himes (US District Court for the District of New Mexico)
Concept : list of all courts you can file to on front page to the e-filing solution
Http handler conversion to HTML through XCI handler so don’t need java or any special browser.
XCI handler runs only with HTML.
Namespace start – XML is in the background as a pseudo database – in a real world example we would have a database eg. JDBC or an object database XML server on top of object database)
(Note : XHTML for presentation of XML tags within a HTML environment ie XML friendly browsers – just released by w3C)
Issue : Whether Header should point to Namespace url.. debate will take place in relation to this..
Presentation by Robert Marx (Senior System Specialist) from SEARCH (National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics) representing National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO)
Some key themes :