1. OMG Issue

ABPSC — Clarification needed on Submitters, Supporters, and Contributors

  • Key: ABPSC-13
  • Status: open  
  • Source: Object Management Group ( Jason Smith)
  • Summary:

    A recent discussion on the AB mailing list led to the following observations regarding Submitters, Supporters, and Contributors in OMG Submissions:

    1) Sanitized description of issue, from a non-public example
    Contributor was defined as a Participating Organization who is not a Submitter. Submitter is defined as OMG Member who provides an LOI. Participating Organization is defined as anyone who signs onto the agreement. Document states that all POs are bound to the IPR, at least in intent.

    PartOrg = IPRBound
    Submitter = OMGMember && LOI
    Contributor = !Submitter = !(OMGMember && LOI) = !OMGMember || !LOI

    Contributor => IPRBound && (!OMGMember || !LOI)

    So a Contributor could be either: not an OMG Member, or an OMG Member who didn’t file an LOI. Since not filing an LOI is supposed to be a non-starter for contributing, I assumed this was to include non-OMG Members in the process. (Additionally, if they’re not an OMG Member, then can they even file an LOI?)

    In all cases, a Contributor is bound by the IPR, which is intended for those contributing IP. All signs point to this being a back-door for IP-contributing non-OMG Members. Please correct me if I’m wrong. If wrong, then this entire thing gets easier, because....

    2) IPR Definition of ‘Contributor’ vs. ‘Member'
    Document: https://omg.org/cgi-bin/doc.cgi?ipr
    OMG Doc #: ipr/12-09-02

    IPR 1.2: "Certain OMG members who participate in the development of OMG Formal Specifications make commitments to license their IPR as set forth below.”

    --> This applies to OMG members only.

    This is supported by:

    IPR 8.1K: "“Obligated Party” means an OMG Member that has incurred a Contribution Obligation or a Participation Obligation. “Obligated Party” includes Affiliates of the OMG Member.”

    IPR 4.4A: "Obligated Parties. OMG Members are Obligated Parties only under the following circumstances:"

    However, in other places OMG membership is left completely out:

    IPR 2.1: "Each contributor of any material to an OMG Specification is [...]

    --> ‘contributor’ is never defined as exclusive to OMG members.

    IPR 3.2A: "Contributors. Anyone who makes a Submission or Contribution to an OMG Specification [...]

    IPR 8.1D: "“Contribution” means any written submission in response to an RFP or RFC, or to an FTF or RTF, that is intended to be included in an OMG Formal Specification. The variants “Contribute” and “Contributor” are subject to this definition."

    --> This is as close as it gets.

    The way it reads, non-Members can theoretically contribute, but only OMG Members can be bound to obligation under 4.4.

    The Document appears to extend this to non-members, but it isn’t precisely clear, and it would be sloppy to leave this to the legalese authoring skills of each team, don’t you think?

    Currently in the P&P (https://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc.cgi?pp/17-06-01)/ IPR:

    • Submitters are:
      • OMG members
      • have previously submitted an LOI
      • have contributed IP, and are bound by the IPR
    • Contributors are a somewhat defined entity of unclear OMG membership, but who are bound by the IPR, in theory
    • Supporters are an undefined non-entity


    • Submitters are:
      • OMG members, able to put forth a specification for voting
      • have previously submitted an LOI
      • have contributed IP, and are bound by the IPR
    • Contributors are:
      • NOT OMG members, not able to put forth a specification for voting
      • have contributed IP, and are bound by the IPR
      • MAY have previously submitted an LOI <--- This was unclear in the SysML2 Agreement. See 1) above
    • Supporters are defined as:
      • NOT having contributed IP, and therefore not involved in the IPR (or have formally withdrawn the IP)
      • NOT submitted an LOI (or have withdrawn it via notification of intent to TechDir (P&P 3.7.2 and IPR 5))
      • OMG status is irrelevant <--- Curious on thoughts here [1]

    As per IPR 5, once a Member contributes IP, they are bound to the Contribution Obligation. This is clear, but it is not clear what the outcome is for a non-Member Contributor, if such a thing is being allowed. Non-members cannot be on an Adoption Process Voting List (IPR 8.1B), but withdrawal from an Adoption Process Voting List is the single trigger for establishing the outcome of obligation with respect to IP in IPR 5.2. I see a loophole. The Document appears to pull in Contributors to this process, and I think that is the intent, but again, it’s not precisely clear.

    To get back to the original Submitter vs. Supporter (vs. Contributor) question:

    A Member signs on as Submitter, contributes IP, then lets their membership lapse. They’re no longer able to be listed as a Submitter, but they still need to be clearly bound by the IPR in the specification. Contributor would suffice here. If the Contribution Obligation is in effect, then the organization should be listed as Submitter or Contributor, based on OMG Membership.

    An organization can drop to a theoretical Supporter status only if clause 5.2C is met, neither Contribution nor Participation Obligations.

    I think that having this be clear would be an improvement. Supporters should be, IMO, bystanders who support the effort but who did not contribute to the creation of the document in a way that would worry their internal legal staff.

    Allowing non-OMG Members to sign on as Supporters at will is a nice gesture, but requiring membership to do so could help drive, well, Memberships. One for the BoD, I think.

    Larry had the following comment:

    There is no such thing as a supporter in P&P. Supporters are cultural artifacts and have no standing. There are only submitters... however; under IPR (see Jason's [comments]), submitters are responsible for the IPR claims on material in the submission, hence stuff rolls downhill should someone else contribute... and note there is no requirement that contributors be declared (as are the Supporters with no standing) unless there is an issue/condition to be declared under the IPR agreement.

  • Reported: ABPSC 3.3 — Wed, 16 Oct 2019 19:16 GMT
  • Updated: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 19:16 GMT