SDL-News: ITU-T Possible Conflict; Data & ITU-T Synchronization

Subject: SDL-News: ITU-T Possible Conflict; Data & ITU-T Synchronization
From: Rick Reed TSE (
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 23:06:13 GMT

Become an SDL Forum Society member <>
The originator of this message is responsible for its content.
-----From Rick Reed TSE <> to sdlnews -----

William H. Skelton at wrote on 11/03/04 08:13:

> Dear Rick,
> Thank you for the detailed explanation of your ITU-T activities. To avoid
> a possible conflict of interests we should clarify how you will be
> representing 4 organisations at the ITU-T meetings next week.
> Acting as a rapporteur, as a representative of the SDL Forum, as Head of
> Delegation for the UK and as an interested expert from TSE is a mix of
> activities without clear boundaries. The SDL-Forum, a registered society,
> is providing funding, but a commercial company, TSE Ltd, is involved.
> Your email of 9th March shows TSE has prepared documentation on the
> SDL-subset claiming its own copyright using information from the task
> force. To avoid confusion, TSE should avoid the appearance that it could
> be exploiting the task force work commercially.
> The SDL Task Force is a separate organisation and does not belong to the
> SDL-Forum. We feel you, as Chairman of the SDL-Forum, should not present
> the result of the task force work to the ITU-T, even before the task force
> has reported to the SDL-Forum.
> The ITU-T invitation for the task force to attend the Geneva meetings is an
> important opportunity to promote SDL and is a benefit to the
> SDL-Forum. Looking forwards to your comments and your support...

Dear William,

ITU roles

There is nothing unusual in a participant in ITU-T having several roles - in
fact it is usually the case.

Any participant who has a role as a chairman is usually also a rapporteur
for the ITU-T work.

Any chairman or rapporteur has responsibilities defined by the ITU
procedures document, but will also be representing some organisation and
should declare an specific conflict of interest should it arise. The
organisation interest can be stated, but it should not unduly influence the
results of the chairman or rapporteur work. Of course, one reason why
organisations like their people in these roles is to make sure that their
views are taken into account.

The same situation arises for a head of delegation, who normally also
represents an organisation within his nation and must make it clear (if the
organisation and national views differ) which view is being presented at any
given time. Typically the national UK representative is from BT, and may
have to declare the BT and the national view and these may be different.
This is one reason why it is best to have written contributions, because it
should then be clear what role is being taken.

As a head of delegation is usually an expert in the field, a head of
delegation is usually also a rapporteur and/or chairman. For example,
Olivier Dubuisson is head of delegation for France, a delegate for France
Telecom, and leader of the ASN.1 project.

It is my experience that most of the time conflicts of interest do not arise
- the interests for all roles of a delegate are the same. However, when
there is a difference of interest most delegates remember to declare the
interest and make it clear which role they are representing at a given time.
For example, I have been in a situation where the UK position has different
from the view of my working group and I have had to make the two different
views clear.

SDL Task Force

The existence of the SDL Task Force as a legal entity and it relationship to
the SDL Forum is by no means clear. The proposal to form the Task Force was
presented to the Society and the minutes of the Society meeting state:

"There was a proposal to launch a task force to find the simplest useful SDL
subset for applications as shown in the paper appended. After a short time
of technical discussion it was pointed out that this would be the first time
that the SDL Forum Society has carried out such a technical study
independent of ITU-T. The decision after this was to do it and try to learn
from it. "

which could be taken to imply that the Task Force is a special interest
group of the Society.

However, the following text:

"The role of the Society in the task force is that the Society provides
facilities for the task force (e.g. email lists) and recognizes the work.
The result of the work should be aligned afterwards with the standards."

seems to imply some degree of autonomy for the Task Force.

Some documentation for the "membership" of the Task Force, how it operates
and makes decisions would clarify the situation. Maybe there needs to be a
better legal framework. However, I agree that I should not present the
results of the task force to the ITU-T myself as SDL Forum Chairman, because
the results have not been endorsed by the Society (the "work is recognized"
but this does not mean the result is endorsed). In my role as a rapporteur,
I can bring any documents to the attention of the SDL group that are in the
public domain such as the Task Force documents. Of course, it is polite and
courteous to first ask permission - and it is essential if the results are
later used within an ITU-T publication (subject of course to IPR and "fair
use" rules).

William H. Skelton at wrote on 10/03/04 12:39:

> But seriously, Rick, do you plan to use this document for other
> purposes? Why is it formatted as a stand-alone document - and, I have just
> noticed, without reference to the SDL Task Force? As all the material in
> the task force is original, we need to know if it has been or will be
> published anywhere else.

I produced the document specifically as input for the Task Force.

I had no intention of publishing it elsewhere.

However, I do not understand the rationale for all the material in the task
force to be original. Does this mean that there should be no copying (on a
"fair use" or agreed basis) from other documents such as ASN.1, SDL and TTCN
ITU documents? This could make it difficult to satisfy the "subset"

> We really need feedback from you urgently explaining what other parallel
> activities are going on, or confirming there are none if this is the
> case. Your contribution to the task force is appreciated, but we do need
> 100% transparency about what is going on.

For reasons of confidentiality I cannot disclose some of the other non-ITU
work I have been involved in. I expect that very few contributors would be
able to give such 100% transparency. However, as far as ITU-T studies are
concerned I am not aware of any conflicting current work, but the Task Force
results may have an impact on future methodology and language co-ordination
work. All the ITU-T documents on language work are available to SDL Forum
members (in the download area) as a result of the collaborative agreement
between the two organisations.

Rick Reed -
Tel:+44 15394 88462 Mob.:+44 7970 50 96 50

--End text from Rick Reed TSE <> to sdlnews --- For extra SDL Forum Society benefits join at <>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a23 : Thu May 09 2013 - 16:05:50 GMT