Re: Civil suit; ftp shutdown; mailing list shutdown

From: Philippe Verdy <verdy_p_at_wanadoo.fr>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 21:50:47 +0200

New diffs can still be published in the CLDR database. I know no other
better place for such info. But once again we have to be careful about
submissions and must track the authors of each submission (so: no
anonymous contributors allowed, there's a need for a strong policy,
and the need to track authors for the very long term, i.e. more than
20 years, probably up to more than one century, due to copyright
laws).

2011/10/7 "Martin J. Drst" <duerst_at_it.aoyama.ac.jp>:
> First, to ask the judge for a temporary permission (there's a better legal
> term, but IANAL) to keep the database up until the law suit is settled
> (because the database is probably down now due to a temporary order from the
> judge to that effect) because of its high practical importance.

If a judge ordered to make the database down, there's little incentive
to have him change his mind before the trial or an agreement is found
between the parties. All this looks like there will be no trial, but
Astrolab will want to be paid, and some parties may help Olson pay the
claimed fee. Let's hope however that Astrolab will not immediately
make identical claims against Unicode for its CLDR database, and
against all major Unix/Linux OS distributions (notably those selling
server solutions).

Once again, the new data no longer comes since long from the old book
now owned by Astrolab. Note also that the individual data may be
copyright-free, but unfortunately there's a copyright law that
recognizes a specific right for the aggregation of the data in a
comprehensive collection or database. The only way we can protect the
CLDR databse is to maintain it as open as possible to many
contributors so that no one can claim ownership on a significant part
of the CLDR database.

But we still have the risk of someone sending data for which he has no
right, copied from another source (including from sources that he
sincerely think is "public domain", something that is much more risky
than getting a formal permission, or than creating the data ourselves
and publishing it with a author name while being bound to a strong
usage policy). We should not expedite updates with lots of new data
coming from a single source without a thorough vetting process, with
discussions, and contradictory submissions or corrections and
improvements suggested by others.

Once again, we need now an ISO standard for such sensitive data,
supported officially by governments and not just by informal
recognition (apparently the Olson database authors are left alone to
defend their case, despite of their incredible work for many years on
the subject).

Imagine that Olson database authors loose, hat will happen next ?
Astrolbal will start wanting to get say 1 dollar per CPU on almot all
server installations. It would mean several millions dollars for
Google, Apple, Microsoft, ... but also for many western governments,
and all servers used by major ISPs worldwide, or service providers
such as the Internet Archive.

It's time to forget the local timezones for computing and interchange
on the Internet: we should use UTC-based timezones, or only timezones
for which there's a stable and open documentation and policy (leaving
aside the local timezones of Indiana, Israel... that will not be
interchanged or will be converted immediately to a stable timezone,
even if the source of the effective local timezone is lost : Israel
and US should now pass a national law forcing their local timezones to
be published to some international standard body; it's essential for
IATA use in air navigation, and for Internet use and in the interest
of the public at large to be informed correctly).

> Second, what seems to be in dispute is data about old history. While this is
> important for some applications, in most applications, present and new data
> is much more important, so one way to avoid problems would be to publish
> only new data at some new place until the case is settled. That would mean
> that applications would have to be checked for whether they need the old
> data or not. Or to only publish diffs (which would be about new, present-day
> data not from the source under litigation).
Received on Mon Oct 10 2011 - 14:58:07 CDT

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