LAC-2021-2: Non-Competition Between Proposals

General Information

Español
09/04/2021
First consensus
29 %. The next step will depend on moderator's decision.

Jordi Palet Martinez - Version [1]
Initial discussion
16/04/2021 - 11/06/2021
First consensus
11/06/2021 - 25/06/2021

Public Comments by LACNIC Staff for this version

LACNIC Staff's Interpretation of the Proposal

Applicability:
This proposal applies to the PDP.

Modifications to the current text
This proposal would modify subsections “3.1. Public Policy List” and “3.2.4. Responsibilities and obligations of PDP Chairs.”

Proposal Text:

3.1. Public Policy List
1. o Proposals must be submitted using the online form available at https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/ and they will automatically be assigned an identification code.
2. o LACNIC will ask the authors for written confirmation, signed with a digital certificate or its equivalent, of the transfer of the copyright of the proposal solely within the context of LACNIC, to protect the community and to allow the continuity of the proposal in case it is abandoned, or its authors cease to respond.
3. o LACNIC will review the text of the policy, not its merits, and may suggest to the authors editorial changes as well as alternative titles in case the title can be shortened or if it has already been used.
4. o LACNIC will confirm with the chairs that there are no other competing proposals submitted by other authors that could be construed as plagiarism.
5. o If two competing proposals are submitted simultaneously (prior to their publication), the LACNIC staff and the PDP chairs will attempt to coordinate with the authors how to merge both proposals. If this were not possible, only the first proposal to be received will be admitted.
6. o An attempt will also be made to coordinate the merger of complementary proposals.
7. o In order to guarantee transparency, proposals that are not accepted will include the words “Not Accepted” in their status, and the reasons for their non-acceptance will be detailed.
8. o The timeline for the steps described above, publishing the proposal on LACNIC's Policy System and its announcement on the Public Policy List should not exceed two weeks.
9. o If a proposal which has not reached consensus is not updated by its authors within a maximum period of six months, its status will be changed to “Abandoned” and, if necessary, it may be resumed by other authors.
3.2.4. Responsibilities and obligations of the Chairs
1. o If the discussion of different but competing proposals were to overlap (even partially), in order to ensure that they are treated neutrally and that the community can choose the best option, the timeline of the latest version to be presented will be used for both, such that they are presented one after the other and the consensus of both is decided jointly.
LACNIC Staff Comments:

1) In relation to items #2 and #4 of section 3.1, policy proposals cannot be considered intellectual property as they lack the necessary requirements.
Other examples of documents that do not constitute intellectual property include contracts, court briefs, bills and laws (the latter being very similar to a policy proposal). In Uruguay, jurisprudence exists that rules out the possibility of such works being covered by intellectual property.
LACNIC wishes to point out that a policy may be considered a document, but not every document is covered by intellectual property.

2)
● Regarding item #5 of section 3.1, while we support the idea of the authors of similar proposals coming together to produce a single proposal, if this is not possible, we believe that there would be no problem with similar proposals going through the process and allowing the community to decide which of the proposals they prefer.
● LACNIC is of the opinion that it would not be appropriate for authors to be granted the exclusive right to propose adjustments to the policies. Part of the value of our open processes is that anyone can suggest adjustments and that the proposals which the community considers to be the most appropriate will be adopted.

3) As for item #7 and the use of the words “Not Accepted” in the status of a policy, in line with what has already been mentioned above, we believe that the fact that two or more proposals are similar is not an adequate criterion for their non-acceptance.

4) In relation to item #9, we believe that any member of the community can take an idea and draft a proposal at any time during the process.

5) Regarding item #9 and the existence of a period during which an author can seize an idea, we repeat our opinion that it would not be appropriate for authors to receive exclusive rights over certain proposals.

6) Regarding section 3.2.4, LACNIC believes that this contradicts the items above which suggest that “competing proposals” would not be allowed. In addition, “different but competing proposals” is an ambiguous term which should not be used as a grouping criterion.
Likewise, this would allow an author to hold veto power over a proposal which is still being processed. We believe that these mechanisms go against the nature of participatory processes, as they allow an author to capture a topic, our PDP process and all the policies.

Recommendations

1) LACNIC recommends dismissing this proposal.

Official References:
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Comparison with similar policies applied in other RIRs: N/A

Impact of the policy on the registry and/or other systems
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This proposal would not involve any changes to the registry system, but would require changes to the policy system, the steps of the PDP, and the role of PDP chairs.


Summary

This proposal seeks to avoid competition between proposals, which is counterproductive for the community and might even constitute plagiarism. It also takes the opportunity to clarify/sort the text of the section where this change is introduced.

Rationale

It might be the case that one or more authors present a proposal and, at any time during its discussion, another author or authors may use the same ideas, even the same texts, to draft a competing proposal, simply because, in their opinion, having one proposal compete against the other is easier than trying to achieve consensus, which might require more time and a greater number of versions.

When a proposal does not reach consensus after “n” versions are presented, it would be unthinkable for other persons to take over the original ideas, even when they may modify them, and submit a new proposal, in which case, instead of having one proposal under discussion we would have several proposals competing for the attention of the community and creating confusion.

The appropriation of ideas, concepts, texts, works, or the like constitutes plagiarism, an infringement of copyright, and cannot be encouraged or consented to by the PDP, not only because of the legal implications it may have for the authors and even for LACNIC for sponsoring this, but also, even more importantly within our context, because it is contrary to the idea of consensus. Everyone should be able to contribute to the original idea and improve on it through consensus, while still respecting the rights of the original authors.

We are not referring to a situation where the same author (or authors) presents several proposals competing “against each other,” as this is an alternative that has proven to be valid and very useful in various RIRs for reaching consensus on one of them, using different options as a starting point and therefore avoiding multiple PDP cycles by having the possibility of discussing them in parallel rather than in series.

Neither are we referring to a situation where a problem arises and there are different alternatives or solutions, presented by different authors, who do not appropriate themselves of any ideas but instead present ideas that are complementary or radically different.

On the other hand, the PDP must also protect the community against situations where one or more authors present a proposal that is necessary and later abandon it, stop replying to comments, and/or discontinue their participation in the policy process, in which case others can, if applicable, continue with this work while still respecting the original rights of the original author (or authors) when using these ideas outside of LACNIC.

In addition, this proposal fixes an error in the text of the same section of the PDP regarding the way in which proposals are submitted, as the order is reversed with respect to reality, and updates the order of the text of the entire section.

Current Text

3.1. Public Policy List
o Proposals must be submitted using the online form available at https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/. Once a policy proposal has been reviewed, it will be assigned an identification code and sent to the discussion list. The maximum time allowed for reviewing and publishing the proposal on the Public Policy List must not exceed two weeks. This review will only address the text itself, not the merit of the proposal.

3.2.4. Responsibilities and obligations of PDP Chairs

New Text
Analyze Diff

3.1. Public Policy List
o Proposals must be submitted using the online form available at https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/ and they will automatically be assigned an identification code.
o LACNIC will ask the authors for written confirmation, signed with a digital certificate or its equivalent, of the transfer of the copyright of the proposal solely within the context of LACNIC, to protect the community and to allow the continuity of the proposal in case it is abandoned or its authors cease to respond.
o LACNIC will review the text of the policy, not its merits, and may suggest to the authors editorial changes as well as alternative titles in case the title can be shortened or if it has already been used.
o LACNIC will confirm with the chairs that there are no other competing proposals submitted by other authors that could be construed as plagiarism.
o If two competing proposals are submitted simultaneously (prior to their publication), the LACNIC staff and the PDP chairs will attempt to coordinate with the authors how to merge both proposals. If this were not possible, only the first proposal to be received will be admitted.
o An attempt will also be made to coordinate the merger of complementary proposals.
o In order to guarantee transparency, proposals that are not accepted will include the words “Not Accepted” in their status as well as the reasons for their non-acceptance.
o The timeline for the steps described above, publishing the proposal on LACNIC's Policy System and its announcement on the Public Policy List should not exceed two weeks.
o If a proposal which has not reached consensus is not updated by its authors within a maximum period of six months, its status will be changed to “Abandoned” and, if necessary, it may be resumed by other authors.

3.2.4. Responsibilities and obligations of the Chairs
o If the discussion of different but competing proposals were to overlap (even partially), in order to ensure that they are treated neutrally and that the community can choose the best option, the timeline of the latest version to be presented will be used for both, such that they are presented one after the other and the consensus of both is decided jointly.

Additional Information

The transfer of rights is common at the IETF, and explicit text in this sense is included in each document. In the case of RIPE NCC, while it is not specified in the PDP, it is “occasionally” requested of authors. This is not done/specified in the other RIRs.

Timetable

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References

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