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

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 00:42:42 PDT 2012


According to the IETF, the plaintext version is canonical.

I very much doubt any judge would tke the slightest notice of that claim.
The .pdf version is the one that has the useful information presented
competently. The plaintext version is not fit for purpose.

It has always seemed to me that the whole canonical malarkey was more about
stopping people taking advantage of the capabilities of postscript than
genuinely motivated by legal concerns.

Courts have over a thousand years of experience dealing with ambiguous
documents.


If people want a canonical version to support court use then it can't be
plaintext which they simply don't know how to process no matter what people
here might think.

On Sun, Jun 3, 2012 at 3:29 AM, John R Levine <johnl at taugh.com> wrote:

> Please go and look at the rfc1305.txt, rfc1305.txt.pdf and rfc1305.pdf.
>>
>
> Yes, I know RFC 1305 has tables and diagrams that appear only in the
> Postcript and PDF versions.  (You missed rfc1305.tar.)  I'm also aware of
> RFCs 1119, 1124, 1128, 1129, and 1131.
>
> Judges are not stupid.  If a witness were to say "this is the text version
> of RFC 1305 which is missing important tables and diagrams present only in
> the Postcript and PDF versions", really, they can deal with that. They're
> even smart enough to understand that a printout of a web page containing
> the txt version isn't the PDF version.
>
>
>  Is anyone else here speaking from actual experience verifying
>>> documents in court, or are we blowing various gaseous mixes?
>>>
>>
> Any chance we can answer this question before diving further down this
> rathole?
>
> Regards,
> John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for
> Dummies",
> Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly
>
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