[rfc-i] issue: canonical formats

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Sat Jun 2 08:00:02 PDT 2012

I think a lot of the argument here comes from what people imagine would be
an issue, not what is an issue.

Twenty years ago there is no question that courts had issues with
electronic documents and were likely to behave in expensive and odd ways.
That hasn't been the case for a long time now. Every court, even criminal
courts routinely encounters electronic documents like emails in practically
every case.

Unless there is a big problem with the output format, I really can't see a
case hinging on what the IETF happened to nominate as the canonical format.
If rendering the document in HTML vs PDF/A gave rise to a semantic
difference in the specification the court would have to decide whether that
mattered and what the consequences were. The fact that one version of the
document was considered to be 'canonical' would be rather unlikely to be
the deciding factor.

On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM, Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman at vpnc.org> wrote:

> On Jun 1, 2012, at 8:12 AM, Joe Hildebrand wrote:
> > I do think we need a canonical output to support some of the legal use
> > cases.
> What the heck is a "legal use case"? Do you have any evidence of a law
> anywhere that says "the canonical format for publishing must be
> displayable"?
> --Paul Hoffman
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Website: http://hallambaker.com/
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