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- 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 II Attendance
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 HORIZONTAL
3.7 ADMINISTRATION Workgroup
3.8 COMMUNICATION Workgroup
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, realLegal.com.
- 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 Project
- Cathy Webb, Foundation for Financial Education
- Phil Ytterberg, West Group
- Neil Iscoe, eCertain
- Brent Isrealsen, Ilumin
- John Messing, Law-on-Line
- Roger Winters, King County, Department of Judicial Administration,
2. Written Materials
Copies of the following written materials were made available to
attendees. They are included here in a .zip
file (539 KB).
- Communications: About Legal XML
- Court Filing: Several draft documents of the
- Horizontal: Three documents from three authors
regarding HORIZONTAL elements
- 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 XML-Singnatures.
- 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 lunch.
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 TRANSCRIPTS.
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
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 harmony.
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 phase.
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
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
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 problem.
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
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
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
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 get concluded.
Todd: Toby Brown, from Utah, in the back will be doing a presentation
on the COMMUNICATIONS workgroup
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 jurisdiction.
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
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
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 something
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, bottom 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
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 discussion.
The following is not a detailed record of the technical discussion.
Discussion was lively. The following reflects the outcome of these
- - 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
- Workgroups should be permitted to create an XML-Schema that
is the official LegalXML description of their standard, but no
standard should become Recommended until such time as XML-SChema
is itself a Recommendation of the W3C.
- - 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
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
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 wants.
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 harmonized:
- 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
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
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
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
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