The Microsoft Bogeyman
Nothing got members of the working group more upset and caused the chair to threaten banishment more than complaints about Microsofts involvement in the drafting of the specification. Midway through the process, Microsoft and Meng Wong negotiated a convergence of SPF with Microsofts Caller ID for E-mail specification. While many participants objected to working with Microsoft simply on principle, the biggest objection had to do with intellectual property rights. Microsofts contributions to Sender ID are based on their Caller ID for E-mail specification, and they make unspecified patent claims on this technology. Many participants and outsiders, including free software luminary Richard Stallman, spoke up in objection to the Microsoft license for this technology, which effectively prohibits its inclusion in programs using any major open-source license.For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog. The working group has issued a request to Microsoft to clarify its position with respect to its intellectual property claims. Microsoft employees on the working group say they are working on their response, but that it needs the appropriate approvals, which have not yet been completed. Andy Newton, one of two chairs of the IETF MARID working group, says of the licensing issue that "it is the working group that decides if it can abide by the terms of any license for any claimed IPR within any document it wishes to standardize. In short, the working group will decide the issue." Next page: DRIP, CSV, DMP, RMX, FSV, DVP, SPF, DK, C-ID
The IETF has no formal objection to standards based on patented technology, but there is a part of the standardization process that deals specifically with intellectual property issues. Some have observed that the Microsoft patents are probably defensive in nature (against so-called "patent trolls") and asserted that the real threat is not the existence of patents, but a license to that patent that is too restrictive.