SDL-News: Possible conflict is only a potential problem

Subject: SDL-News: Possible conflict is only a potential problem
From: William H. Skelton (
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 23:54:27 GMT

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Dear Rick,

Thank you for your detailed explanation, but the point is a very short
one. As the SDL-Forum is a registered, non-commercial society, we should
be careful to clearly define the roles and targets, if you are representing
a commercial company on a trip funded by the SDL-Forum.

Equally we should be careful that a commercial company, such as TSE, does
not give the impression it may be using the task force results towards the
ITU-T or other organisations, which you decline to mention.

These are only potential problems; perhaps to close the subject you could
briefly confirm neither of them apply.

Just for reference, the SDL Task Force does consider itself autonomous, but
aligned with the SDL-Forum. It does not use any email or Internet
facilities of the SDL-Forum and even if the groups were linked, it does not
explain why a derived document bearing a TSE copyright notice and deleted
references to the SDL Task Force is in circulation.

These are exactly the kinds of thing we should be careful to avoid.


>User-Agent: Microsoft-Outlook-Express-Macintosh-Edition/5.02.2022
>Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 23:06:13 +0000
>Subject: [SDLTF-Members] ITU-T Possible Conflict; Data & ITU-T Synchronization
>From: Rick Reed TSE <>
>To: <>
>CC: <>
>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

William H. Skelton, Engineering Dept.
SOLINET GmbH Solutions for Innovative Networks
Mittlerer Pfad 26, 70499 Stuttgart, Germany
Tel +49 711 1398 1377, Fax +49 711 866 1240
Mobile +49 171 247 6688,

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