- Document Number
- Current Version
- Draft 0.1 ( http://www.legalxml.org/events/ftf002/minutes0_1.shtml)
- Previous Version(s)
- Workgroup Information
- Workgroup Name: None
- Workgroup Chair(s): None
- Workgroup Mailing List: None
- Workgroup Mailing List Archive: None
- Workgroup Website: None
- Document Author(s)
- Winchel 'Todd' Vincent, III (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Document Editor(s)
- Short Statement of Status
These are the meeting minutes from the second Legal XML Face-to-Face meeting.
The meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia State University from
Wednesday March 1st to Friday March 3rd. This document only contains meeting
minutes from the first day of the meeting.
Status of Document
This document is a draft subject to comment and change.
Table of Contents
1. Legal XML Face-to-Face
2. Written Materials
3. March 1st, 2000 Minutes
3.1 LEGAL Workgroup
3.2 COURTFILING Workgroup
3.3 TRANSCRIPTS Workgroup
3.4 PUBLICLAW Workgroup
3.5 CONTRACTS Workgroup
3.6 TECHNICAL and
1. Legal XML Face-to-Face II Attendance
The second face-to-face Legal XML meeting took place on March 1st, 2000. The
JTC/Legal XML Court Filing Workgroup met on March 2nd and 3rd. The Legal XML
Transcripts, Contracts, and Public Law Workgroups met on March 2nd.
A total of forty-nine (49) people attended the three day conference in
Atlanta, Georgia. Thirty-five (35) people attended the March 1st meeting.
Forty-five (45) people attended the March 2nd meeting. Thirty-four (34) people
attended the March 3rd meeting. Of the forty-nine people who attended,
forty-three (43) are current Legal XML members. Six (6) people are not current
Legal XML members.
In comparison, sixty (60) people attended the first Legal XML face-to-face
meeting following CTC6 in Los Angeles. At that meeting, seventeen people (17)
were Legal XML members. Forty-three (43) people were not Legal XML members.
The names of Face-to-Face II attendees are:
- Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, Arizona Court of Appeals
- Greg Arnold, Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia
- Donald Bergeron, Lexis-Nexis
- Robert Boroschoff, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
- Terrie Bousquin, New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
- Mike Brentano, National Court Reporters Association
- Toby Brown, Utah State Bar
- Renee Cascio, New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
- Rolly Chambers, Smith Currie & Hancock, LLP
- Jim Coberly, Judicial Information Division, Admin Office of the Courts,
Supreme Court of NewMexico
- Marcus Conti, Loki Technologies
- Davin Fifield, PubNETics Inc.
- Ed Fisher, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota
- Nick Finke, University of Cincinnati
- Don Forbes, Georgia Courts Automation Commission
- Jerry Garland, Georgia Courts Automation Commission
- Robin Gibson, Office of State Courts Administrator
- Debbie Goeller, New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
- Gary Graham, Arizona Supreme Court
- John Greacen, New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
- Daniel Greenwood, MIT
- Dean Janice Griffith, Georgia State University College of Law
- Sandy Hagman, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
- Marty Halvorson, New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts
- Tyrone Harvey, New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts
- Richard Himes, U.S. District Court of New Mexico
- William Jennings, Oregon Judicial Department
- Stephen Kaminshine, Georgia State University College of Law
- John Kelly, Legal E-Business Institute
- Serge Knystautas, Loki Technologies
- Jennifer Lodder, US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- John McClure, Hypergrove Engineering, Inc.
- Kenneth McKelvey, Wisconsin Supreme Court
- Don McManimon, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota
- Scott Millis, JusticeLink, Inc.
- Eddie O Brien, Ringtail Solutions
- Tom OConnor, CourtLink
- Ed Papps, National Center for State Courts
- Moira Rowley, SCT Government Systems Inc.
- Jane Schuck, Brentmark Software, Inc.
- Bert Sheingate, HyperVision Ltd.
- James Skinner, AFLSA/JASL
- Thomas Smith, IT Decision
- Steve Spohn, AOC - California
- Burnadette Turner, South Carolina Court Administration
- Winchel 'Todd' Vincent, Georgia State University, Electronic Court Filing
- Cathy Webb, Foundation for Financial Education
- Phil Ytterberg, West Group
- Neil Iscoe, eCertain
- Brent Isrealsen, Ilumin
- John Messing, Law-on-Line
2. Written Materials
Copies of the following written materials were made available to attendees.
They are included here in a .zip file (539
- Communications: About Legal XML
- Court Filing: Several draft documents of the COURTFILING
- Horizontal: Three documents from three authors regarding
- LEDES: The LEDES time and billing standard to be released
in March. (Not Legal XML Workproduct)
- Legal: The LEGAL draft charter.
- Public Law: Draft SGML specification from the National
Conference of State Legislatures (Not Legal XML Workproduct)
- Signatures: Position paper by John Messing. W3C/IETF XML-Signatures
Draft. Email from Joseph Regale, W3C, to John Messing regarding
- Transcripts: TRANSCRIPT Workgroup draft charter for
ratification and draft XML transcript specification.
3. March 1st, 2000 Minutes
Point or HTML
The meeting opened with a short introduction by Todd Vincent. Dean Janice
Griffith, Georgia State University and Donald Forbes, Georgia Courts Automation
Commission, welcomed attendees.
The formal meeting began with updates from Workgroup chairs instead of a
technical and horizontal discussion as published on the original
agenda. The technical and horizontal discussion was deferred until after
3.1 LEGAL Workgroup
Chairs: Rolly Chambers and Donald Bergeron
Rolly and Donald introduced themselves. Rolly went over the LEGAL Charter and
discussion ensued. The discussion focused on the role of the LEGAL and
HORIZONTAL workgroups in relation to other workgroups, such as COURTFILILING and
Donald Bergeron noted that the W3C was on a fast-track for a time with
respect to various XML-related deliverables. However, after a year of work the
W3C realized that the standards it was creating were widely divergent. As a
result, the W3C had to take a step back to harmonize.
Bert Scheingate noted the importance of individual groups. He also said it is
important to look at the general flow of legal content. It is important that
individual groups don't go off on a tangent. There should be some coherence.
John Grecean said that no one really cares what the tags really are. There
are no value judgments (i.e., this is not pro-life versus pro-choice). We only
care that the tags be the same and mean the same. He also noted that efiling is
moving ahead because "we need it . . . we are building systems that will
use this standard and real soon."
Todd Vincent noted that there must be a balance between speed and harmony.
The goal is that someday a lawyer will be able to cut-and-paste XML from a
document in an application that understands statute mark up into a document in
an application that understands court filing mark-up. However, while we want
harmony among groups, that does not mean the court filing group should slow
down. Todd asked how versioning should play a role in the issue of speed versus
Davin Fifield explained some of his experience with TRANSCRIPTS. The
TRANSCRIPTS Workgroup created a simple document model and punted on difficult
issues, just to get something done. He made the point that the first thing we
create is not going to last forever. What is important is that the groups that
are moving quicker provide their drafts to groups that are moving slower and the
slower groups need to look at the horizontal issues and if they don't like it,
then let the fast-moving groups know.
John McClure noted that Legal XML does not have a "general
Todd noted that he gave a presentation with Mike Willis from XFMRL
(accounting XML) (http://www.xfmrl.org/). Mike explained in his presentation
that XFMRL had different groups. The accountants did not do the marketing. The
accountants provided the "requirements." Then there was an
architecture group (professional technologist) who made the
"requirements" a reality in XML.
John Grecean summed up the group thought by agreeing with some of Davin
Fifield's comments and saying the LEGAL group's responsibility is to pay very
good attention to what is happening in the various workgroups and identify
places where there is a lack of coherence. Upon seeing a lack of coherence, the
LEGAL group would bring those people together through the HORIZONTAL workgroup.
The responsibility of LEGAL and HORIZONTAL is to harmonize. The responsibility
of the individual workgroups is to forge ahead.
Ken McKelvey added that the job of LEGAL should also be to give a final stamp
of approval to work from the workgroups.
Todd noted that there needed to be a well-known and understood process for
this to happen. He said that there were 12-15 pages about process in the
original draft of the Legal XML Operating Rules, but no one really commented on
it, so it was taken out. This issue probably needs to be revisited.
3.2 COURTFILING Workgroup
Chair: John Grecean
John introduced himself. He said the idea behind the joint Court XML project
is that the state would build on work by the [New Mexico] federal courts so
there would be the same interface. The court filing group has had two meetings.
It has been an extraordinary experience "Build it and they did come. We
announced we would have a meeting and 60 people showed up."
There is a charter on the listserv which has not gotten unanimous approval.
There is more concern in the group about the next phase than about the current
Presently, we are focusing on getting documents to a court; we are not
concentrating on what is in those documents, not in Phase I. Phase II is more
amorphous; documents will be smart documents containing information that
identifies them. There are extraordinary possibilities in a number of areas in
Phase II in having XML documents that immediately feed court databases. This
really turns some of us on as the wave of the future. In fact, many groups want
to work on this, especially in bankruptcy, where forms are completely defined.
There is no spontaneity in bankruptcy. Traffic ticket is another example.
Right now, we are not working on that. We are working on identifying
information that is sent to the court, so the court can put document into its
own processes. Many people think of that as "docketed." We transmit
with the document the information in XML.
We have also defined our job as identifying the "what" as Donald
mentioned earlier; not the "how". We are leaving to the private sector
and to courts to develop applications. This is not our job. We are only defining
the data elements and the tags that applications will use.
We have the makings of a DTD for Phase I (version 1.0 may be better term).
There have been some spirited discussion of the documents and there is a whole
list of things to talk about over the next two days. The major audience is the
courts that will accept these documents.
In the court filing group, we are an amalgam of courts organizations working
within Legal XML. The court organization is Joint Technology Committee which is
the committee for the COSCA and NACM, the two major groups of courts
administrators and managers, trail court administrators and state court
administrators. It is that committee that initially convened the court filing WG
and agreed to work within the Legal XML umbrella. The product with whatever
refinements made by March 22 will be presented to JTC on the 22nd in Kansas
City. We adopted early on that we needed to get it done fast or it wouldn't' be
worth a damn. We have had extraordinary support from the private sector. They
are deeply invested in this. Everyone is eagerly awaiting so we can build these
applications. Applications built by multiple vendors and multiple courts will be
able to transmit document from multiple users and multiple courts using the same
front ends for the courts and the vendors. That is what is in it for us. The
public and clients of bar are the ultimate beneficiaries. People will be able to
communicate with courts. The opposite is a Tower of Babel where no one can
communicate with each other.
John Grecean: Rich will you comment on the DTD.
Rich Himes: There is not a lot of discussion on the list about the DTD. I had
a day to work over it with Marty. It still needs a bit more work. Various issue
will come under discussion. There were some disagreements. The hope is that with
John's coordination that we'll have it pretty firm after the next two days.
John Grecean: Robin Gibson has also been very important in the process. Robin
do you have an comments.
Robin Gibson: You have said it pretty well.
John: Let me say another word. "BLOB" is central is our vocabulary.
In this version one, what is coming to the court is a BLOB without further
definition [Rich: There will be sufficient information in XML to identify the
BLOB]. In version two . . . three . . . further on down the line the BLOB will
be XML. At that point a lot of intersection with other groups will occur.
3.3 TRANSCRIPTS Workgroup
Chairs, Eddie O'Brien, Davin Fifield
Davin Fifield: I joined Legal XML a bit later than the rest of you. I was
back in Australia trying to understand how we would put together transcripts in
a forward compatible manner. I work for realLegal.com. We focus on transcript
and on court reporting. We are moving to .com world. I've been in the legal
industry for 7 years or so. I'm not a lawyer, but at heart a technologist. Eddie
is also Australian. The Australian Mafia in the transcript WG. We are the first
of the workgroup to attack a legal XML document. This has presented us with some
We met in New York after Legal Tech and made some progress. We went over the
charter and found some holes in it. We will vote on it and accept it tomorrow.
The charter's purpose it is agnostic on transcripts. We are trying to
capture whatever comes from court reporters. We are really just trying to
capture content and present it in a way that is useful to people. We aren't just
about incorporating courtroom transcripts. We are interested in deposition and
anywhere else transcript could occur. All of which fall under "legal"
The document model is an abstraction. Allison Stanfield has looked over this.
(Also part of the Australian Mafia.) We are probably weakest in getting all the
other stakeholders involved. We want people to really use this.
RealLegal.com, without plugging too much, were already a pseudo-standard in
getting the court reports to attorneys. Our product, which is proprietary, can
get the ASCII and sign it. But we know the courts are going to require an open
standard that the whole industry can adopt.
There are three main ways in which transcript fits into the puzzle. We are
doing work on a repository for court reporting and courts. In court filing, if
you capture content as part of the efiling anyone can get at it at any time.
Transcript, however, is an orphan child. It is not considered part of the
docket. You can't get it from the docket. You have to call the court reporter
and send a check. There is a required payment because the reporter owns it.
There are other business rules. So we are building repositories for court
reporting firms and courts. We would ultimately like to integrate this with the
courts system. It is something that as you get further along, people are going
to ask where is the transcript.
Other things that we've been doing: A key issue for technical: page, line,
paragraph, this is a difficult issue. We have reached a decision that page and
line, because this is presently so important, will be supported, but
depreciated. This makes things backward compatible. Otherwise, the standard
would not get used. We've made some progress along that route.
Eddie O'Brien: I represent a vendor. The issue is not anything other than to
create a standard and then innovate to create software around it.
I am trying to get stakeholders involved. The NCRA, Mark Golden, then Peter
Wacht, JCR, gave us some good thoughts. Michael [Brentano, who was in the
audience] is involved. This is very important. We worry if we don't have
stakeholder inclusion. We need broad buy in.
I've written a couple articles to expand people's knowledge. I also went off
to CAT providers and sent emails. This was a mistake. The marketing was poor. We
face challenges. I fear we don't have enough inclusion. There is not enough in
place. None of the word processors are supportive. Microsoft has not embraced
XML. Word Perfect has something, but people are moving away from it. I a fear
lack of coordination. We need to see horizontal clarified. We need to see this a
bit more formalized. I am concerned about security issue. The digital signature
group is paralleling. Its a good group we've got. Other people are doing good
work. One of the things that did not get concluded - marketing - that did not
Todd: Toby Brown, from Utah, in the back will be doing a presentation on the
3.4 PUBLICLAW Workgroup
Chairs, Nick Finke, Gary Poindexter
[Regrets from Gary Poindexter who is currently on a job in Moscow.]
Nick Finke: The PUBLIC LAW workgroup has the National Center of State
Legislatures [SGML draft]. They have looked at bill structure. They have all the
elements that anyone uses in any bill construction in the US, at least the 50
states. I just finished attempts at an XML DTD that showed structure. The key
structure is really simple. However, there are lots of things that are metadata.
The are many, many, many levels, especially if you look at regulations. You
have all heard a citation, "section 302(a)(z)(3)," each one of those
is a level. At the moment; one way of looking at that is to have two level
nested structure. Divisions are the upper level. They do not contain statute
text. Finally you get to the statue and then that goes on down below with a
dividing line between division and sections. We number these and you can start
these sections 1-7. Once you start sections then you get to section text;, which
means you can start in an <DIV> depending on how many you'll need. You can
use "type" attributes to use nomenclature to tie into any
We want some sort of interchange format. We are not going to stop anyone from
doing anything they want to do.
Another point of view is the user. The user has printed statutes and online
progeny. These are put together by publishers. The publishers that use SGML use
it for publication purposes. It is great for publishing, but not good for the
user. The focus on the user end is what are the needs of the person to find,
use, comment, link to other statutes. These are completely different than
someone who wants to give you a printed version. The user requirements are
different. I would like to hear from the publishers.
Donald Bergeron [Lexis-Nexis]: The publishers have the same needs. We just
don't know it yet. Academic users and professionals are important. Our
requirements are the publishers requirements, but publishers have never had to
worry about that.
Bert Sheingate User and publishers. It is organic, good or bad. The
construction is the creator (comment: not true in all jurisdictions) . . .
others have relinquished rights to private publishers. Then the publishers claim
a right to the format. But, the actual creation of information rests with the
legislature, unless the legislature is the publisher. Assuming they codify their
own statutes. The point is, people who are in charge of this should be he people
who are doing this.
Dan Greenwood: I am ok with breaking this down, but, then when you get to the
user, to relate statutes to each other . . . this is the subtly. The big value
is when you can say stuff. This is what will be of great value. This is also the
slipperiest, because legislative intent is hard thing to grab hold of.
Todd: [Cut off discussion because we were running out of time before lunch.]
3.5 CONTRACTS Workgroup
Chairs: Dan Greenwood, John McClure
Point or HTML
Dan Greenwood: I am associated with MIT and formerly the State of
Massachusetts. I have experience in this huge bureaucracy. My background is more
on the legal side -- legal and business requirements. John is the real technical
side of the contracts WG.
Our focus on electronic contracts. I am chair of electronic contracts
committee, which is part of the American Bar Association Cyberspace law
committee. I have also done a lot of digital signatures work including the
enforceability of contracts. I am earning a living by doing ecommerce
consulting. I see in practice some purely electronic systems and did work for
e-Bay. This is more B to B, contractually based. I have been doing work on
patient records, some of which would require disclosure. We would want to do it
electronically are looking at XML. I have also done work on the NACHA [National
Automated Clearing House Association] CARAT [Certificate Authority Rating and
Trust Guidelines]. Todd and I worked on the Guidelines together. Todd was
reporter for the guidelines which were guidelines on certificates for public key
infrastructure. One of the questions was whether certificate policies could be
make enforceable with contracts. This comes up in a lot of different contexts.
My focus is on electronic contracts from a legal perspective. Note, the
CONTRACTS workgroup is focusing on an area of the law and is within the scope of
Legal XML. But contracts are very different than other workgroups. With court
filings you know you are dealing with legal industry. It is a closed system. At
some point you can look at the universe and look at features of what is
supported. It is a big universe but it is relatively closed one party
the court -- can determine the rules.
This is very different from contracts. In stark contrast, contract has users
who can be very diverse. For instance, two private individuals, most of whom
will never see the inside of a court or litigation or a holding. They don't
typically have a single way to form a contract. In contrast, contracts with
governments are uniquely different. They might look the same, but are actually
very different. There are many different subject areas in which clauses mean
Because it is different, our approach may seem a bit different. What you will
see in the approach, is that we want to make sure it is capable to filter up,
The problem statement: contracts contains significant information. It is
locked in formats that are not easy to use. We would like to unlock that
information cheaper, faster, better. This is what people want to be able to do.
If you were to get into the BLOB of a contract, one quickly discovers that there
are infinite levels of granularity. It is not apples to apples. "Acknowledge"means
very different things.
One of the things we're doing with respect to scope. We are being very
ruthless in limiting scope. We are looking at contracts and a lot of
communication that are leading to contracts. We are looking at a world in which
there is a contract, what the parties believe is a contact, as envisioned. We
will move to the life cycle and to other special issues. Whether something is a
contract is a subjective determination. It depends on what law applies and many
other things. What other doctrines might apply? What is in and what is out at
that point? What is legally semantically meaningful?
Nick Finke: Things that are not semantically meaningful -- as soon as we got
into the rathole of doing this. This was not a rathole I wanted to spend some
time at this point. Process question: there are options: once one wants to talk
about legally semantic elements. We could appoint ourselves and say we know what
are all the words and then we'll announce. This will be more or less applicable.
There could be a core of elements or they could be user definable. Some things
that are common. Users can also define their own. We could create a starter core
that you may use, but you don't have to use. You don't have to use our tag for
"acknowledgment" but you can do something based on the namespace.
Finally, there will be something that is fully user specified.
William Jennings: I was confident of what we are doing with respect to court
filing. With contracts I understand much less. Is this not part of the issue.
Dan Greenwood: There are modeling languages, such as UML that allow us to do
use cases. The best part is that you identify use cases on how people will use
the software, then you know what to do. What are the use cases? We need to do
that. Part of why we haven't don't this yes is that we need to contact our
colleagues. We need to do some outreach.
After lunch, Todd gave a short update on the Research, Signatures, and (PKI)
Policy workgroups. These groups are not presently active. Todd also announced
that an Australian workgroup was about to be formed. There is also a possibility
that an ETerms workgroup will be formed to further the activity of the
International Chamber of Commerce's ETerms working party.
Regrets from John Messing and Neil Iscoe, SIGNATURES co-chairs, who planned
to come to the meeting, but could not.
3.6 TECHNICAL and HORIZONTAL
John McClure, co-chair of CONTRACTS, opened up the meeting after lunch.
Although he presented with respect to contracts, his message was technical. As a
result, his presentation was combined with the HORIZONTAL and TECHNICAL
The following is not a detailed record of the technical discussion.
Discussion was lively. The following reflects the outcome of these discussions.
- - Everyone, including John McClure, agreed that XML-Schema were more
powerful and better than DTDs. However, because XML-Schema is still very
new, we agreed that DTDs would be used by workgroups in the short term.
Workgroups will move to XML-Schemas in the future. To the extent possible,
workgroups should create DTDs and XML-Schema.
- - Everyone agreed that RDF complements both DTDs and XML-Schema. That is,
using RDF does not exclude the use of DTDs or XML-Schema. Everyone agreed
that RDF is useful for cataloging information and better understanding its
meaning and relationship to other information.
3.7 ADMINISTRATION Workgroup
Chair: Winchel 'Todd' Vincent
Point or HTML
The administrative update contained five topics:
- Forming Legal XML Non-Profit Organization
- Legal XML Business Model
- Harmonizing Government and Private Industry Interests
- Legal XML Web Development
- Proposed Amendments to Legal XML Intellectual Property Policy
The primary theme of the first four topics was that Legal XML is growing. The
rate of growth has been increasing. In October, November, and December, 1999, an
average of almost twenty-five (25) people joined each month. In January and
February, 2000, nearly forty (40) people per month joined.
The good news is that the idea of open, non-proprietary technical standards
for the legal industry has a following. However, the process is not simply a
technical development effort. The technical volunteers need both administrative
and political support. The bad news, therefore, is that growth of Legal XML is
resulting in an overwhelming amount of work. Todd is becoming a bottleneck and
things are not getting done.
To alleviate the problem and grow Legal XML, an organizing committed should
be formed to explore the possibility of forming a non-profit organization. The
goal would to be create an organization that could handle increased membership.
A number of people who might be on the organizing committee were suggested,
given their past and present interest and activity. When asked what role he
would play, Todd suggested that it might be best if he acted as an advisor to
the committee, rather than being a member of it. The committee would be
responsible for determining scope, mission, and governance. A document would be
drafted for ratification by Legal XML membership. John Grecean exclaimed loudly,
"Let's do it."
The non-profit would need funding and should have a professional staff. There
are various funding sources, including volunteers or angel investors (in the
short-term), grants, membership and registration fees, partnerships with
existing organizations, university sponsorship, or advertising relationships.
The value proposition for members, among other things, would be creating and
influencing open, non-proprietary technical standards for the legal industry,
membership services from full-time, professional staff, marketing, industry
exposure, networking, and education.
The audience asked Todd what role he would play in the new organization. Nick
Finke asked whether Todd wanted to play a role in the new organization. Todd
said it was an open question and would depend on what membership wanted. Todd
said that he was exploring various opportunities so it also depends on what Todd
One of the things that is unique to Legal XML is that unlike other vertical
industry standards organizations, Legal XML's membership is weighted heavily
with public sector entities. Legal XML membership is approximately 50% private
companies, 25% public entities, and 25% non-profit and academic. Experience with
Legal XML thus far has show that government and private interest are different.
There are four places where government and private interest needed to be
- Membership Fees
- Private Sponsorship (Conflict of Interest)
- "Data" Standards versus "Open Source" Code
- Government Tends to Want to "Control"
Given past experience, government members are most often going to be unable
or unwilling to pay membership or registration fees. Government participation is
absolutely necessary. As a result, private companies would be the primary
financial supporters of a standards organization in which both private and
public members participate.
Some government members have expressed concern about private sponsorship.
They do not want to feel "beholden" to private companies, especially
when negotiating government contracts.
Some government members have expressed an interest in developing "open
source" code. "Open source" code is developed by volunteers much
in the same what that Legal XML is developing open, non-proprietary
"data" standards. Private companies are interested in open,
non-proprietary "data" standards because they can build proprietary
software on top of them. The ability to communicate with other proprietary
products through open "data" standards is therefore good for business.
Government, has a potential interest not only in "data" standards, but
also in developing "open source" code. LINUX, the operating system
that competes with Microsoft's Windows operating system, is developed in this
way. A government "open source" effort is, therefore, potentially at
odds with private company interests.
Finally, government has the power to dictate. Experience has show that
government often wants to "control." The idea of developing open
standards is that a community of people with actual or potential adverse
interests come together in a group in a cooperative and collaborative
environment. The propensity of government to want to "control" is not
conducive to a cooperative and collaborative environment.
There are several issues related to the Legal XML website. There are several
things that need to be done, but that are not getting done. Content updates to
the web site, an ongoing responsibility is not happening as fast as it should.
Workgroup chairs have been asking for individual web sites. This project is
underway, but is not completed despite best efforts. It is simply a matter of
limited time and resources. There is a need to simplify Legal XML password
system. There needs to be an automated way to add new workgroups and a more
automated way to add new members.
Given that privacy is an important issue, there needs to be feedback from the
group about publication of Legal XML membership lists. Several chairs have asked
for access to the names and email addresses of the members on their lists. There
needs to be feedback about whether we should make membership lists open on the
Internet, open only to Legal XML members, or open only to Legal XML participants
or chairs. Consensus was that it was acceptable to publish the membership list
to Legal XML participants and especially to workgroup chairs. Todd agreed to
make this information available on a going forward basis.
Loki Technologies has volunteered to redesign the Legal XML website. Loki has
the Legal XML database as well as all files for the Legal XML website. Need
feedback on this issue. Consensus was that this relationship is acceptable, but
that there should be a formal memorandum of understanding between Loki and Legal
XML (Georgia State Research Foundation).
An issue that is potentially very important to the group is that FindLaw
(http://www.findlaw.com/) owns the Legal XML domain name and is allowing the
continued use of it, provided that the organization continues to support open,
non-proprietary standards. The relationship is a good one and there are no
immediate concerns. However, membership should be aware that the domain is owned
by a private company.
Finally, the software used for the Legal XML mailing lists, L-Soft, costs
money. So far, Todd's Electronic Court Filing project at Georgia State
University (funded by Georgia Courts Automation Commission) has paid $2,000 for
the software license, although there is no money earmarked for this purpose.
Each list costs $100 provided there are under 150 people on the list. New lists
are being added and two of the lists are approaching 150 people (meaning the
cost will double for these lists).
The last portion of the Legal XML administrative update was a proposal by
WestFile (WestGroup) and the Federal Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
(AO/USC) (located in Washington, D.C.) to alter the Legal XML Operating Rules
and Intellectual Property Policy (the General Public License). Phil Ytterberg (WestFile)
delivered the proposal with Robert Boroschoff (AO/USC). The substance of the
proposal was that the General Public License should be amended so that users of
the standards can unilaterally make "extensions" to core parts of the
standard, provided that all "extensions" are published back to Legal
XML. A discussion ensued, but no decisions were made. WestFile and AO/USC agreed
to follow-up with proposed language. Todd agreed to post the language and poll
Legal XML members on the matter.
3.8 COMMUNICATION Workgroup
Point or HTML