The Standards Blog


Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 @ 04:29 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 148

Dept.%20of%20Commerce%20Seal%20140.pngRegular readers will know that the addition of Huawei and scores of its subsidiaries to the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List last May has had a serious impact on standards setting organizations (SSOs). Specifically, the related rules bar companies from disclosing certain types of U.S. origin technology to companies on the Entity List, and technology is exactly what is disclosed in the course of standards development. Due to a lack of guidance from the Department of Commerce, SSOs have been left wondering whether they can allow Huawei and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Huawei”) to participate in their technical activities. When they decide that the answer is yes, U.S. companies must then decide whether they read the regulatory tea leaves the same way. Many have not.

Over the past two weeks the situation has taken a more hopeful turn. The impetus for this change has a lot to do with the law of unexpected consequences – in this case, the results of the Department of Commerce refusing to provide the type of certainly that the private sector needs when political winds shift.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 @ 09:22 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 462


A few weeks ago it seemed likely that the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), would issue new guidance that might free standards setting organizations (SSOs) from the difficult position they have found themselves in for almost a year. But that didn’t happen. Instead, most SSOs have concluded that they still cannot allow Huawei and its affiliated companies to return to the working groups that are creating the essential standards that will make the roll-out of 5G networks become possible.

How much does that matter in the context of the overall U.S.-Chinese confrontation? The answer is a great deal, as continuing to bar Huawei and other Chinese telecom giants from standards development may weaponize the patent portfolios of those companies in a way that could prove disastrous for the U.S. and other Western nations.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 @ 09:16 AM
Contributed by: Russ Schlossbach
Views: 194

DoJ%20Logo%20140.pngIt’s well recognized by courts and regulators in many countries that standard setting among competitors can be procompetitive and good for consumers.  As noted by the 5th Circuit Court in 1988, “it has long been recognized that the establishment and monitoring of trade standards is a legitimate and beneficial function of trade associations . . . [and] a trade association is not by its nature a ‘walking conspiracy’, its every denial of some benefit amounting to an unreasonable restraint of trade.”(1)

But regulatory sands can shift, and especially at a time when broad and dramatic changes (political and otherwise) seem to be the rule rather than the exception, it makes sense for collaborative organizations to keep vigilant, and to review their policies and procedures on a regular basis to help ensure antitrust compliance.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 @ 05:14 PM
Contributed by: Joanna Lee
Views: 180

rsz_caronavirus_image.jpgAs the world goes into social lock-down to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, many conferences, face-to-face meetings, and other in-person gatherings are being cancelled or postponed.  While the mass cancellations are disappointing and disruptive for everyone involved, they are potentially devastating for non-profit associations—such as open source foundations and standard setting organizations—that rely on in-person events to sustain themselves financially and facilitate collaboration and community.  If you participate in the leadership of a collaborative association that hosts conferences or other large events, read on for tips on how to navigate likely challenges in the upcoming months.

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 @ 11:27 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 136

Courtesy Visitor 7/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.There’s been a lot of activity in diverse parts of the standards and open source software development world of late. Here’s a selection of items you may have missed that I think might be of greatest interest.

Is there nowhere to hide? Streamlined targeted advertising comes to television. The on-line world has seen ever more laser-like ad targeting of viewers, particularly on dominant platforms like Google and Facebook. The same practice has existed in the print world in a more limited way for even longer, where sophisticated regional printing centers swapped ads in national magazines based on zip codes or other data. But what about television?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 @ 07:59 AM
Contributed by: Joanna Lee
Views: 207

Scanning Tools 140When you incorporate open source (OS) code into larger programs, it is risky to assume that the official license for the project is the only license you need to comply with. This is true even if the only OS code your company consumes comes from software projects with permissive rather than copyleft licenses.  (For an explanation of the difference between copyleft and permissive OS licenses, and why copyleft-licensed code cannot be used in proprietary applications, please see this earlier post about OS license types ).  Any OS component could be subject to a myriad of OS licenses that you might be unable to identify without performing a source code audit and scan.  This is why regular use of source code scanning tools (a.k.a. software composition analysis software) is essential to any open source compliance program.

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 @ 12:53 PM
Contributed by: Russ Schlossbach
Views: 146

DoJ Logo 140If you participate in standards development organizations, open source foundations, trade associations, or the like (Organizations), you already know that you’re required to comply with antitrust laws.  The risks of noncompliance are not theoretical – violations can result in severe criminal and civil penalties, both for your organization and the individuals involved.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has in fact opened investigations into several standards organizations in recent years.  

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 @ 10:16 AM
Contributed by: Joanna Lee
Views: 488

OSS :License Word CloudNot all free and open source (OS) software licenses have been created to achieve the same goals, and failure to understand the differences can have dire consequences.  Some OS licenses are business-friendly in that they allow the code to be combined with proprietary code without imposing OS licensing requirements on the resulting combination.  Others do not allow such combinations in any circumstances (at least if the developer wishes the products to remain proprietary), and some licenses fall somewhere in between these two extremes.  Here is the minimum you need to know about OS license types before incorporating OS code into software you develop.

Friday, January 10th, 2020 @ 11:12 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 450

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/ and The GIMP if someone asksIn its simplest form, FOSS development requires almost no traditional economic, physical or management support. All that is needed is a place to host code in a manner that allows multiple developers to collaborate on its further development. As FOSS has become more commercially valuable and widely incorporated into vendor and customer strategic plans, however, additional layers of services and structures have evolved to allow FOSS development to become more efficient and robust and the user experience even more productive. These include training, a growing certification testing network, a variety of tools to assist in legal compliance matters, and a network of hosting entities providing a wide range of supporting services and frameworks.

The development of these tools has been an important factor in allowing the commercial marketplace to rapidly evolve from a closed, proprietary world to one heavily based on OSS.

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 @ 02:22 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 401

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Jonnymccullagh [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]It would not be an exaggeration to say that the magic of open source software (OSS) is based as much on legal innovation as it is on collaboration. Indeed, the essential innovation that launched free and open source software was not Richard Stallmans GNU Project, but his announcement of a revolutionary new licensing philosophy, and the actual license agreements needed to put that philosophy into effect. Only later did global collaboration among developers explode, riding the wave of Stallman's licenses, Linus Torvald's pioneering work in creating the distributed development process, and rapidly increasing telecommunications bandwidth.

In this installment, we'll explore how Stallman's philosophy spread and forked, and where it has taken us to today.