[rfc-i] issue: legal status of canonical formats

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 00:01:32 PDT 2012


John,

Please go and look at the rfc1305.txt, rfc1305.txt.pdf and rfc1305.pdf.

This was not a random example.

  Brian


On 2012-06-02 19:43, John Levine wrote:
>> The contract needs to specify what it is referring to, e.g.
>> "RFC1305 refers to the graphical version to be found at the web link
>> http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1305.pdf (last accessed 2012-06-02)."
>>
>> If it doesn't, the witness would have to say "I don't know which document
>> this contract refers to."
> 
> I'm sorry, but that's just silly.  Assuming that the PDF, epub,
> and legacy printer format contain the same text, which they will
> unless the conversion tools are broken (in which case we can fix
> them), what difference does it make?  It's the contents that matter.
> 
> I have testified in court multiple times, and lawyers routinely hand
> me copies of documents and ask me if I recognize them.  The answer is
> invariably, yes, this is such and such a document.  Sometimes it's an
> original, sometimes it's an umpteenth generation photocopy.  When it's
> something like an old usenet posting, sometimes it's a printout of a
> Google groups page, sometimes it's the source of the article from a
> web server.  In my experience, a court would be pretty annoyed at a
> witness playing games like well, yes, this appears to have exactly the
> same text as RFC 1035, but it's not the same document because the
> fonts and line breaks are different.
> 
> Is anyone else here speaking from actual experience verifying
> documents in court, or are we blowing various gaseous mixes?
> 
> R's,
> John
> 


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