Monday, August 09, 2004

Business Collaboration Framework

A strange notice appeared on the BCF website before it went off the air, from which it appeared that the various parties building the Business Collaboration Framework had not managed to develop/sustain satisfactory terms for their own collaboration. Something to do with IPR.

As a result of the lack of any policy statement that can be evaluated by our legal advisors we are compelled to concur with the potential risks and exposure identified by Mr. David Marsh, UN/CEFACT Legal Rapporteur, during his presentation at the May Plenary session. Accordingly, we have had no alternative but to inform the UNECE that Ge-BAC has suspended all active project team participation by its employees within UN/CEFACT and its Groups.

Further, on the advice of our legal counsel, Ge-BAC has suspend its hosting services for the TMG and BCF web sites, as well as the TMG list server, in order to avoid legal challenges related to the ownership and distribution rights of the IP reflected in the content of all online material. Ge-BAC regrets this action, but as a small company we must avoid all unwarranted potential legal actions. At such time as the UNECE can successfully provide IPR policy documentation, we will evaluate the acceptability of that policy to our business operations and continued full participation in UN/CEFACT activities.

Standardization is an unusual enterprise, and its committees are often dominated by people of a certain personality type. But even so, one might have thought that those engaged in standardizing collaboration would have the knowledge and skill to construct an effective collaboration for themselves.

However, a standards effort must anticipate and represent all possible difficulties. The BCF collaborators had clearly stumbled across some intractable difficulty, and had the clarity and wisdom to recognize it as such, instead of fudging it as other less self-conscious collaborators might have done.

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