Mr. Winston Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, CROSQ Secretariat
Mr. Carl Malamud, President, Public.Resource.Org
Mr. David Halperin, Of Counsel, Public.Resource.Org
Ms. Sanya Alleyne, Legal Officer, CROSQ Secretariat
Mr. Fulgence St. Prix, Technical Officer for Standards, CROSQ Secretariat
[Mr. Bennett asks for permission to record the conversation.]
[Mr. Malamud agrees provided a copy of the audio will be furnished to Public.Resource.Org]
[background noise ] [silence]
Winston Bennett: [0:20] All right, Carl, we're about time. I know we are being recorded. Basically, we had agreed, in terms of preparing for a meeting, that we would like as a first instance, besides the [inaudible 00:36] of us who are in a meeting, also for a quick session to talk about our organization.
[0:50] What I would do is quickly just give you two minutes on what CROSQ is. Then, perhaps, you want to probably tell us something about public research, as well. You may already know about CROSQ. Basically, we are an intergovernmental organization, comprised of 15 CARICOM member states. We are governed under the [inaudible 01:15] Charter for CARICOM.
[1:19] Our role is to harmonize and promote the regional standards and quality infrastructure, in general, for the 15 member states. We are located in Barbados -- the Secretariat. Our governance includes the council of ministers at the highest level.
[1:41] CARICOM itself, at the highest level, [inaudible 01:44] ministers, the economic develop, at the next level, the CROSQ Council, which is made up of the directors of each of the 15 national standards bureau, and then the CARICOM secretary, who's also here, based in Barbados.
[2:00] In two minutes, that's us. We would remind, also, if you would be able to share with us your organization, in two minutes.
Carl Malamud: [2:11] I'd be happy to. Public Resource, we're a registered nonprofit in the United States. My background is I've spent about 30 years putting government information online. I was responsible for putting the US Patent database on the Internet and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
[2:32] In both cases, I ran those services for a couple years, and then convinced our government to take those services back over. I've done similar things with the US Court of Appeals. We've put 6,000 government videos online.
[2:48] What we work with is information that is generally regarded by everybody to be public. We're not WikiLeaks. We're not trying to grab information that is secret and make it public. We focus on information that is generally accepted as public information.
[3:09] For the last couple years, we've spent an awful lot of time putting legally-mandated public safety standards online. Things like building codes and electrical codes, codes for hazardous material transportation. We've done this in a large number of countries around the world. We've done this in Europe, with the Euro Code. We've done it in the Unites States with the National Electrical Code.
[3:38] We are strictly nonprofit, noncommercial. Our aim is simply to let individuals know what some of these safety, and other technical standards are that have been made part of the law, either for public safety purposes or for trade purposes. As you know, Harmon high standards play a very important role in that world.
[4:03] We understand that in some cases, the publishers of the standards maintain copyright and assert that copyright. As a general rule, our work in over 70 countries has been pretty widely accepted with a lot of favor. Occasionally, we get a take-down notice like the one that you sent us. That's why I had invited you to take part in this discussion, and I very much appreciate your taking the time to do that.
Mr. Bennett: [4:34] Thank you, Carl. Like you had mentioned in the last paragraph of your letter, it is very good that we can agree to discuss. We may basically have the same general purpose. Part of our mandate also involves consumer protection, but we may just be going about it differently. It's always useful to talk in the first instance.
Mr. Malamud: [5:04] Absolutely. I agree.
Mr. Bennett: [5:09] Basically, what I was mentioning a while ago, we just wanted to clarify the fact that these standards that you have on your websites are voluntary standards, produced by CROSQ. Only in a few cases, some of them have become mandatory standards by the member states. That is why we [inaudible 05:33] let us...What took...For instance, get your response to that, if that is something that you are aware of?
Mr. Malamud: [5:45] Yes, we're pretty careful about which standards we post, and we very much understand the difference between a voluntary standard, which is simply put together by a group of individuals. Then sometimes those standards are in fact enacted in the law. We did some checks.
[6:08] Obviously things like the packaged water standards and others in the case of, at least, Jamaica, and, it appears, several other jurisdictions, have in fact been made part of the national standards base.
[6:23] I'd be more than happy to hear your feedback as to if there are particular standards that in fact have never been adopted by any of your member states. I'd be more than happy to hear what those are.
[6:36] There is a distinction that some people try to make between a standard adopted at the national level, which is mandatory, and a standard adopted at the national level which is simply a performance standard or an indicator of one way to solve the problems.
[6:58] As a general rule, if the standard has in fact been adopted at the national level, such as by Jamaica, and particularly if it's considered a technical regulation or a mandated regulation, those are the ones that we most clearly look for as far as things that we post.
[7:15] Again, I'd be very happy to hear any feedback you have of standards such as, I don't know, the tour guide standard, if those in fact have never really been adopted by any of the governments, I'd be more than pleased to hear that information from you.
Mr. Bennett: [7:30] OK, Carl. In that instance, I will ask my technical officer, [inaudible 07:34] Fulgence St. Prix, to probably jump in here at this point to probably respond to that. [silence]
Fulgence St. Prix: [7:58] I'm just getting information quickly. I'll be there [inaudible 08:00] .
Mr. Malamud: [8:03] You can send me that information by email if you want. That would be fine.
Mr. St. Prix: [8:07] I think that would be the best thing for me to do, because now I would have to go back and just check my records. Clearly, there are a number of standards that the member states have not adopted as technical regulations or mandatory standards.
[8:23] The problem is, I must indicate that within CARICOM and the member states, when they adopt a standard as a mandatory standard, they still sell the standard to any interested party.
[8:46] I just wanted to make that clear, because they don't really have technical regulations as such. What they do is adopt the standard as a compulsory standard, and they implement it as such. Anybody requesting the standard [inaudible 09:02] the national bureaus and the member states for the standard. I just wanted to make that clear.
[9:10] At the CROSQ level, like my CEO indicated, we really do not, we do not, and I stress on that, we do not implement any standards. We only develop and harmonize voluntary standards. That's very important.
Mr. Malamud: [9:26] Yes. No, I do understand that, and in fact before posting those standards, the first thing we did is we checked to see that they were in fact being adopted by some of your member states. If it was simply your organization that had published them and nobody had adopted them, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. [crosstalk]
Mr. Malamud: [9:50] Please go ahead.
Mr. St. Prix: [9:51] The thing about it is that in our jurisdiction, in most of the member states, they actually sell their laws. Even if they had enacted it or incorporated it into a law, they sell the laws, and the various acts, or whatever the case may be, to generate income.
Mr. Malamud: [10:15] They do that in the United States as well. Four years ago when I started doing this kind of work, none of our building codes were publicly available. They were all for sale, very much like these documents that we're discussing today.
[10:32] On the other hand, there were a large number of court decisions that were very clear that making the law available to citizens was important. That that trumped in many cases the copyright constraints.
[10:49] That's not only in the United States, but that's a very fundamental principle under the rule of law, which is a doctrine. For example, I believe it's in the Barbados constitution.
[11:01] The rule is very clear that if there are even technical regulations, not just court opinions or statutes, but regulation that govern trade and that govern safety, then it's very important for people to have those available.
[11:19] We had the same reaction in the United States. At first there were some objections to our publishing the building codes. We have successfully, for a good five years, put those online, and seem to have resolved that issue, at least with the building codes.
[11:38] We are being sued in the United States for having posted the "National Electrical Code." We're being sued by the producer of that code, the National Fire Protection Association, but we've only been sued this one time.
[11:54] There's another suit in Germany, which feels very strongly about their safety standards for baby pacifiers. They feel, again, need to be sold and can't be available.
[12:05] We understand that people may disagree with us, but our motive, I think, is not that different from yours. It very much is to makes these important documents available more broadly. That's because we understand the very important role that standards play in our modern life, in modern economy.
[12:28] Our motives are pretty pure here. We do understand that you sell those standards. However, we're very much aware of that.
[12:41] If I could point out just one other thing
Mr. Bennett: [12:44] Yes, Carl and you must...
Mr. Malamud: [12:49] I've put a lot of government databases online that were previously for sale. An example is the Securities and Exchange Commission.
[12:58] At first when I did that, it was very much, "The sky is falling. Oh my god, we're making money selling these."
[13:06] What happened, though, is the number of people reading the documents increased vastly once you put them on the Internet. As you know, if they're not behind paywall, then more people will read them.
[13:17] What happens is, because more people are aware of those documents, our experience in the past with the SEC, and the Patent, and many other databases is that the market for the commercial version of those documents actually goes up. The reason for that is more people are aware those documents, and those that are serious...
[13:38] If you're going to sell frozen fruit pulps into one of the member countries of CARICOM, you're not going to go to my website to download that document. You're going to buy the official version of that standard.
[13:52] You're business is not going to depend on going to some website on the Internet that has these docs. The people that get serious about manufacturing these products or trading in these documents will almost always go to the National Standards Bureau and purchase the official version there.
[14:14] The idea that by us giving them away that we'll hurt your revenue is not necessarily always going to be accurate. At least in our experience, the reverse has sometimes been the case.
Mr. St. Prix: [14:30] You see, I hear you Mr. Malamud. Of course all of us heard you. You see, what we must understand is that our experience in this region, in this part of the world, is totally different from what you would experience in the United States.
[14:50] First of all, one must accept the fact that the United States is a developed country, one. Two, you find that users of standards, they have a good acceptance for the use of standards, and whatever the case may be.
[15:06] Even if the standards are available on a particular website, they will be inclined to purchase it because they know the amount of resources that goes into development of such standards. Now, most our NSBs, they are the ones who actually participate on the harmonization and the development of these standards.
[15:32] Of course the intention really is we have a sustainability issue. They need to be able to find ways and means to be able to sustain themselves. In budgeting, they do budget the sale of standards.
[15:51] If, as somebody within the Caribbean, within CARICOM, a company, or whatever the case may be, comes across Public.Resource.Org. They realize that, "Hey, instead of paying," for argument's sake, "10 US for a document, why pay 10 US for a document when I could get it online for free?"
[16:10] They would greatly appreciate the fact that you have made it available to them online. They will download it as a result.
[16:23] Basically, we wouldn't put up these standards for downloading on our website. What we would do, however, is to bring awareness to the availability of the standard.
[16:39] If the standard is a compulsory standard we would give an abstract as to what the standard deals with. An abstract of the document online where you, maybe, might put the cover page of the document online.
[16:55] Thereafter, the person gets interested in the standard, and then contacts the necessary bureau and requests the purchase of the standard. That's how they actually purchase the standards from the various bureaus at this point in time.
[17:29] You must realize it's not only the manufacturers and producers that are interested in these standards. You also have consultants who might be looking...Any kind of consultants that would look for these standards, as well. Exporters, producers, manufacturers. As a result, that is one way of the bureaus making the necessary funding.
[18:00] Our economies are very small economies. Let me tell you straight off, we understand what you're trying to do and we appreciate that, but I think that you would be doing us a greater service if you would have maybe just put up the abstract of thee standards and let people get interested in these standards, and then they would contact us to purchase the standard.
[18:23] I think that is basically what we would like to see because your website seemed to be a very popular one. As a result, we would appreciate if you would have attempted to do that.
[18:41] Of course you could always offer a link to our website for those people who visit your website and are interested in CARICOM regional standards from that standpoint.
[18:54] Like I said, do not think that we don't understand [inaudible 18:56] . We appreciate the fact that you're bringing awareness. We see that as an increased awareness to the public. However, we would have appreciated it just being an abstract of the standard as opposed to the entire document for downloading.
[19:11] Like I indicated, we could always continue the discussion and provide the link to you so you could the post it on your website. Then people could now get access to the CROSQ website, which I would maybe redirect them to the Necessary Standards Bureau website, or whatever.
[19:30] In terms of the standards that are mandatory standards for now and those that are not, I will provide you with that list and moving forward, and we can see how best we could address the situation.
[19:47] Basically, that is where we are at this point in time. I don't know if you have any comments?
Mr. Malamud: [19:57] Yes, Mr. Bennett. First of all, I very much appreciate your position. It's very clear, and I understand exactly why you're saying what you are saying.
[20:08] I am an American, but I have spent a good part of my career working overseas. One of the groups that I'm working very closely with on making these public safety standards available is the government of India.
[20:25] I work with Mr. Pitroda. He's a member of the cabinet. A very famous person in India. He's been in government for many years.
[20:34] One of the things that we noticed in India is that a very small percentage of the Bureau of Indian Standards' revenue actually comes from standards sales. It's less than two percent, I believe. The vast majority of their revenue comes from certification, from training, from government grants, from a variety of other resources.
[20:57] My question to you is, are standard sales a large part of the revenue of some of your member national standards bureaus, or do they make most of their money in other ways, such as certification, which is often the biggest revenue provider for a standard group?
Mr. St. Prix: [21:18] Let me answer this question. Understand exactly what I am saying, the bureaus, we are now trying as much as possible to develop our regional quality infrastructure.
[21:35] Standardization is something that is fairly new to us or, say, to the public in the various member states. We have embarked on a heavy public education campaign to try to inculcate this quality culture within our society.
[21:57] Now, as part of that, let me indicate to you that the governments of the various territories do give sub-ventures to the bureaus, but of course in this hard economic times more and more pressures are being placed on them to generate their own income.
[22:17] The bureaus now see the sale of standards as being an important part, a major, part of that. However, they have not really realized that objective as yet because, like I said, the educational program has just begun. We're hoping that with more and more educational programs coming on stream, a continued effort in public education, would realize a greater need for the standards.
[22:50] Of course we are also involved in trade relationships with other developed countries, which require that goods, products, and services be done in a particular manner and up to standards.
[23:09] There, again, we actually try to harmonize our standards with the internationals community as well, or make our standards be based on the international standards in an effort to try to develop the capacity within the producers and whatnot, so that they could produce goods of quality that is required by the markets.
[23:34] Of course in doing so, we need to be able to make the standards available for sale to them. That is where we're hoping that the sale of standards in the near future would be a major part of the income of the bureaus.
[23:52] It might not be so now, however, let me just indicate that the states still do budget the sale of standards. When they do not get the necessary sale, it is a shortfall of the budget, and they end up rooted in financial difficulty.
Mr. Malamud: [24:19] A couple of points then. [silence]
Mr. Malamud: [24:33] Firstly, my claim to fame was I started the first radio station on the Internet, so this webcasting that we're doing today is actually based on some technology that I developed in the '90s. I'm a big supporter of standards and their importance.
[24:53] We had a similar kind of situation with one of our states, the state of Oregon. They had sent us a takedown notice because we had put the laws of the state of Oregon on the Internet.
[25:09] You would think that state statutes, state laws, would be clearly public, but they had said that we couldn't do that. They sent us a takedown notice, and their lawyers called us, and we had a conference call similar to this.
[25:24] What they ended up doing was, rather than make it big public brouhaha -- which we're trying not to do that. We want to have a dialogue -- the state legislature of Oregon actually called some hearings. They heard from their lawyer, they invited us to attend, but most importantly they heard from citizens of Oregon as to whether or not this was important to them.
[25:50] At the end of this hearing, which was chaired by the president of the senate and the speaker of the Oregon house, after hearing from the citizens of Oregon they actually decided that their interests would be best served by, in this case, making the state laws more broadly available.
[26:10] I guess maybe that's something I would throw on the table. That if you did in fact want to hold some hearings, and hear from some of your member states, but also maybe here from people like us, perhaps that's a way to begin the discussion.
[26:25] I am really not convinced that making these documents available leads to reduced revenues of any substantial amount by the standards bureaus, and that's not just a guess on my part. That's based on many years of experience working in this.,
[26:43] I will note that I've had these particular documents online for over a year now. I'm not sure if any of your standards bureaus noticed that, either in their revenue stream or by going on Google and searching.
[27:01] I do think there is a very compelling public benefit of making this kind of information available more broadly. I understand that might conflict a bit with the business models, particularly the ones under development.
[27:16] It is such a compelling, important thing, particularly the safety standards, especially for things like foods, but also of pesticides and things of that sort are available.
[27:30] When they're not available, we've seen in places like Bangladesh, with the building collapse, and the plaza collapse, and the factory fires. We've seen the same thing in the United States when safety standards are not observed. It leads to really catastrophic conditions.
[27:49] Letting everybody know what those safety standards are, not just the abstract, but the whole thing, is a really compelling public purpose. That's why we appreciate the opportunity to present what we're doing to you.
[28:05] It's something that I think is important to understand. That there are a lot of people out there, university kids for example, that are perfectly capable of understanding this material, -- journalists -- but would not be able to afford the purchase price to go in and buy these documents.
[28:27] That's the reason we make them available. It's for people like that. It's for education, and it's for public safety.
Mr. St. Prix: [28:39] Mr. Malamud I hear you clearly. [inaudible 28:43] that. You made a point that you have had the standards up for over a year and you're not convinced that the fact that you have it up might have caused a reduction in the sale of standards.
[28:56] Let me just indicate to you that the information that I have, the statistics that I have, looking at the sale of standards throughout the years, we had a steady increase in the sale of standards from 2009 to 2012, and we had a significant decrease in 2013. One could by deduction simply say, now that you have the standards publicly available for free...
[29:25] Making something publicly available doesn't mean it has to be free. I think that we need to understand that, right?
[29:31] Being publicly available for free download could have caused a significant drop in the revenues of the NSBs in terms of sale of standards. I think that we need to state that fact.
[29:48] The other thing is that I understand you're mentioning states within the United States of America, which is so different from what we experience in the Caribbean at CARICOM, and India as well. In CARICOM, like I tried to explain to you, it is so different.
[30:13] There are things that the public would request in the United States, but our public would have a different view of it. Real entry to NSBs have to be sustainable at the end of the day.
[30:30] I indicated to you that they do get some subvention from government, but they are forced now to come up with their own sustainable measures. One of these measures that forms part of our sustainability is the sale of standards. When we take that away from them by making documents available for free, would be years. [silence] Anyone could purchase it. It's publicly available, so you put on your website indicating that it is available, but it is available for sale, and you can purchase it at any time.
David Halperin: [31:19] This is David Halperin. May I just say something? We very much appreciate that you're taking the time to speak with us about this, and we respect your position. If I want to point out that Carl mentioned India. Our organization has posted standards all around the developing world, and we've gotten many positive responses. From you, this is the first negative response we have received, as far as I know, from the developing world.
[31:52] I think one reason might be that although it is challenging for agencies in the developing world to earn revenue, it's also true that many of these countries appreciate that their citizens often lack resources, and that making a standard available only for purchase interferes very much with the education mission that you mentioned of the citizens being able to be aware of their laws.
[32:17] Again, we can't put ourselves in your position. We don't want to judge that, but we do believe that there is an overriding principle around the world of the rule of law, and where that is a principle, many countries are excited about the prospect of sharing the law with their people as much as possible, as opposed to making it for sale. [silence]
Mr. St. Prix: [32:47] The other thing is that in the standard, we do have a clause that indicates that the provision where, that anyone purchasing the standard should not reproduce, copy and print in electronic form any part of that standard thereof without the express written permission of the CROSQ.
[33:19] That is a condition that is set in the standard, is that every standard that we publish, that is published as well. Just to indicate to persons that they cannot arbitrarily just takes a standard and distribute it in a manner without the prior consent of the organization.
[33:39] I feel that Public.Resource.Org, with all its good intention, having read that clause, that statement written in the standard, would have taken the opportunity with the objective that they say that they have to contact the CROSQ, having read this provision, and say, "Hey, this is what we want to do. How do you think we can achieve that objective?"
[34:10] "Because our objective is really to be able to inform people of the laws, as you indicate, of various countries, and we see that as a perfect opportunity of so doing. How can we get the permission from CROSQ to do such?" and do not just go ahead and do it and say, "Well, OK, it is law, and we can put it in their arbitrarily like that", because it is expressly stated in the standard, on the cover page of the standard.
Mr. Malamud: [34:40] We were relying very heavily on long stated policy from our copyright office that says edicts of government really don't have copyright, and if there is no copyright, then statements that they can't be copied really don't make as much sense. Had we called you up and said, "We're going to be publishing this information? May we have permission?" I think I know what the answer probably would have been.
Mr. St. Prix: [35:11] No, we would have been able to engage our stakeholders which I have at the various territories, because they are the ones that are greatly affected by your action right now. I think it is a situation where they should be engaged prior to taking a decision. Anyway, I invite Sanya, our legal officer, to make a few comments at this point in time.
Ms. Alleyne: [35:35] Hi, good afternoon everyone.
Mr. Halperin: [35:37] Hello.
Ms. Alleyne: [35:38] I've been listening to this dialogue. Are you hearing me?
[35:41] Fulgence and
Mr. Malamud: [35:42] Yes. [silence]
Ms. Alleyne: [35:56] I will tend to rely on the laws of the United States of America. However, you have to understand the laws of the United States of America only applies to the jurisdiction of the United States of America. It doesn't apply to the sovereign states of the 15 member states of CARICOM.
[36:09] We operate under the common-law jurisdiction of law, which as you may be fully aware, comes from Britain, and we do not follow United States legislation. We do not have any law, policy or principle which indicates that legislation must be freely accessible in terms of not attaching a cost to the sale of our laws.
[36:31] It is general practice, and it is understood that our laws are for sale. Even our government gazette is not available publicly. In that light, why am raising this point is because, as a country that is a developed country, and which believes in democracy, I would believe that as a partner -- a regional partner -- that you would respect our rule of law and our laws and our systems.
[36:55] In such doing, not rely on your legal system as the legal system for the international operation of the rule of law, which is not the case. That's one point I would like to raise.
[37:08] The second issue I would like to discuss is, it was clearly illustrated on the document and upon purchasing when you pay the money, the contract was that you can access and you can have the standard, with the copyright that our intellectual property rights would be protected.
[37:25] In the standardization processes, you are fully aware, in all instances, it's an amalgamation of private sector, public sector and state offices coming together at the government level, which is according to the regional level, for the development of these standards.
[37:40] As such, it is a case where we as a Secretariat have to protect the interests of all member states. That is what we're trying to do at this point in time.
[37:49] We've been trying to negotiate with you to determine whether we can have a favorable outcome, whereby we could come to an agreement where we would work together and have the abstracts published on your website, and create the link.
[38:03] That way, we can work together and the dissemination of information, but yet respecting the law that we have in our jurisdictions, and respecting the facts that our populations don't even amount to more than 1.5 million in each member state, and such, you cannot compare us to countries like India, United States or states in the United States of America.
[38:23] With that regard, not only is it a breach of our intellectual property right, but it's also a breach of contract, because upon the purchase of this standard, it is clearly illustrated on the standard that permission was supposed to be sought.
[38:38] I do understand your apprehension and coming to the Secretariat and asking the Secretary for permission to publish the standard, because maybe you were under the impression that we would say no at this instance.
[38:51] I believe we may not have said no at first instance. We probably would have tried to negotiate whereby we could have spoken to all of our council, because we report to each of the directors in the NSBs.
[39:02] We would have reported to them the possibility of working with you, and possibly even coming to an agreement that some of these regulations could possibly be posted on your website. Sorry, I'm using incorrect language. In all jurisdictions, mandatory language could be posted onto your website.
[39:21] I think maybe it could have been an oversight in your part to presume that we would have said no at first instance, but unfortunately we are here now. We're trying to see how best we can facilitate each other, because I realize the last 20 minutes or so, we've been going around in circles.
[39:40] I believe we have to come to a position now where we have to go forward with a concrete decision as to what position we'd like to take. We are willing to offer, going to our council, presenting them, because we will be going to our council with this issue, presenting them with the legal and the financial arguments as to how this can implicate us.
[40:01] How it will impact on us in a negative way, as well as how little impact on this in a positive way.
[40:06] It is at this point where we can now join together as partners, and we can try to see whether we could massage or [inaudible 40:15] the council members into recognizing your organization and creating a linkage between ourselves and your organization. Even through an MOU, if you like, where we can both together in our public in our common interest.
[40:29] This is what we are willing to offer at this point in time.
[40:31] In return for our active -- what's the word I want to use? -- lobbying for a relationship between our institutions, we are requesting if it's possible, if the standards which you have on your website either be taken down temporarily until we come to a conclusive decision.
[40:55] We can agree to having the title page on abstracts still remain on your website, because that, we can give permission for. Upon a conclusive decision, and a relationship which we can formalize through an agreement, we can then move forward as to which standards can be published on your website, and which cannot.
[41:18] I hope that this puts us into a discussion where we can now come together on the table as equal partners, recognizing each other's concerns, recognizing each other's circumstances and limitations.
[41:35] I say limitations because we have to understand [inaudible 41:37] that the Caribbean is a vulnerable economy. You accept [inaudible 41:39] vulnerable economies, and we are now trying to facilitate greater integration into global trade.
[41:45] Activities like this somewhat hamper our abilities to do so, and also these make us feel discouraged, because we feel that sometimes our global trade partners may not be seeing us and our circumstances, and taking them into consideration, but seeing us as equal partners, and therefore putting us in a disadvantaged position.
[42:08] I'm hoping that we can now work together, and come to a conclusive decision. I will turn the floor back over to Mr. Malamud, and I hope that we can start to see some concrete steps forward. Thanks.
Mr. Malamud: [42:24] Thank you very much. Definitely looking for concrete steps forward is very much the point of this phone call, and that's why I had offered to talk. Just to be clear, what I'm hearing is that there's at least a possibility that you would agree that mandatory standards would be freely available? That you would at least be willing to consider that as a possibility?
Ms. Alleyne: [42:49] No, what we are saying is that they are available, but at a cost. What we are suggesting is that we are willing to go to our council and determine which of the standards we could negotiate to be available on your website without cost. Because as we've indicated before, we sell the mandatory standards.
[43:11] If we can negotiate, because we are offering to negotiate with our counsel on your behalf in the absence of your written agreement. I think that is a big undertaking on our part.
[43:21] This is just to show you that we are willing to work with you, and if you are willing to work with us, we really would push this forward and we will get some results, but we cannot guarantee at this point in time, we are going to definitely work towards it. We are definitely going to endeavor towards it.
Mr. Malamud: [43:41] Would there be a time-frame for these discussions? How long do you anticipate this dialogue taking to be able to reach the potential of maybe at least posting some of the standards on the net for free?
Ms. Alleyne: [44:00] OK, so Mr. Malamud, we have a council meeting, two council meetings within the year. We have one earlier in the year in May, and one later in October.
[44:08] In May, we're going to propose, we're going to present our deposition. We are going to present your organization, we're going to present the possibility of working together at your organization. If any possibility, maybe even an MOU between our organizations, and see whether or not the council votes on it in a majority vote. At the same time, we will probably do some lobbying to encourage a majority vote.
[44:34] Once we secure that in May, we can come back to you conclusively in May because then we would have our directive to act. If we're not able to be successful in May, we will definitely work on it for October, but before the end of this year, you will definitely have some sort of a conclusive decision on the way forward.
[44:53] We are willing to do this only on the basis that you'll take down the full standards and just present the title page and the abstract, because we would hope that you would work in good faith, because we will be working in good faith in this endeavor.
Mr. Malamud: [45:11] Would we be invited to the May meeting? [silence] I understand it's an official council proceeding, but would we be invited to attend?
Ms. Alleyne: [45:29] Yes, it is. We are discussing now, and we don't really see any hindrance for that. We will have to seek, of course, confirmation of your attendance. I believe you'll just have to pay your way to attend our council meeting.
[45:43] You can probably do a presentation on your organization, and even probably we can continue dialogue where we could come to an agreement as to how our relationship should be.
[45:55] We could set out the basic framework of our relationship to council and let them vote on it, and we can proceed from there. I believe this can be a win/win situation for the both of us.
Mr. Malamud: [46:08] Yes, I'm definitely willing to consider that. I'm going to want to speak to David about this after this conference is done. It sounds like there's a proposal on the table. We're definitely willing to consider it.
[46:22] It sounds like you were going to get us some information as to which of the standards that you believe are mandatory, and which ones are not, just for my information to know where we stand, but yes. In principle, we would at least be willing to consider a scenario in which we remove the standards temporarily, off the net, in pending an active dialogue with you and with your council. We'd be willing to consider that, absolutely.
[46:58] It sounds like maybe at this point, I think we've discussed the issues and it sounds like perhaps we should confer amongst ourselves.
Ms. Alleyne: [47:11] Mr. Malamud, I'm sorry to interject, we weren't hearing you clearly because we were getting some feedback from your mic or maybe Mr. Halperin's mic. I don't know if it's possible, could you repeat what you just said, because we'd appreciate hearing it.
Mr. Malamud: [47:27] What I said is that at least in principle, it sounds like we have the basis for an ongoing dialogue, and it's something that I would like to discuss with David when this conference call is finished. At least in principle, the idea that we would move the standards off the Internet temporarily while this dialogue is proceeding is something that I think we would consider.
Mr. Halperin: [47:55] Were you able to hear that?
Ms. Alleyne: [47:57] Yes, we were sort of able to hear it, [laughs] because Mr. Malamud's microphone has a little issue. I get the gist of what he is saying, basically that he is willing to speak to you about this particular proposal after we have concluded this call.
[48:13] Upon the basis of that, he is going to, in good faith, look at temporarily removing the standards of his site, pending further formalization of our relationship. Is that what Mr. Malamud said?
Mr. Halperin: [48:32] That is correct. You can hear me OK?
Ms. Alleyne: [48:34] Yes, I can actually hear you quite well.
Mr. Halperin: [48:37] OK.
Ms. Alleyne: [48:41] We would be very interested in finding out when you can get back to us on our proposal, because we would need to know quite soon, because we are preparing a document to present for council and we would have to then if you want invitation and make those particular arrangements.
Mr. Malamud: [49:00] We can decide very quickly. We're a small organization. Can you give me that information as to which standards are compulsory in which ones are not? Is that something you can get us pretty quickly?
Ms. Alleyne: [49:13] Yes, by the end of the week, we should be able to get you information.
Mr. Malamud: [49:17] Then I'll have an answer for you by the end of the weekend. If you can get that information by Friday, I will send you a formal response on Monday.
Ms. Alleyne: [49:28] OK, but we would like to know when exactly you would be willing to move the standards offline and just put the abstract and the title page up. Do remember, our member states are aware...Sorry to cut you [inaudible 49:41] , but our member states are aware of what's going on, and they are saying it, and we are also under heat for this.
[49:49] If it is that you can act quickly in good faith in removing the full standards, just putting up the title page and the abstract, that will assist us in being able to lobby on your behalf for this meeting at council.
Mr. Malamud: [50:03] I hear you.
Mr. Halperin: [50:04] Go ahead.
Mr. Malamud: [50:05] We would remove the documents on Monday. If you can get us the information on Friday as to which standards are compulsory, simply so that I can understand what's going on, on Monday you will get a note from me and as part of that note, I will already moved the standards offline.
Mr. Halperin: [50:23] You're saying, Carl, you would remove the standards that are not compulsory?
Mr. Malamud: [50:27] No, that's not what I'm saying. That's not what I'm saying.
Mr. St. Prix: [50:29] All the standards.
Mr. Malamud: [50:31] I'm saying that if we have a dialogue it is continuing, then I will move all of your standards offline on Monday as part of a show of good faith on our part.
Mr. Halperin: [50:42] OK.
Mr. St. Prix: [50:43] I only have one concern Mr. Malamud, is the fact that it appears that your decision is based on the number of standards that are voluntary and the number of standards that are mandatory. Am I correct? Because I get the feeling that you are not really considering our proposal and it's entirety as it is.
Mr. Malamud: [51:05] No, don't get me wrong.
Mr. St. Prix: [51:08] The way, the fact that you are tying your response to the response of the number [inaudible 51:14] .
Mr. Malamud: [51:15] Absolutely not...
Mr. St. Prix: [51:16] OK.
Mr. Malamud: [51:16] ...But it is one of the pieces of information I would like to see. That is just one of quite a few factors. Let me be very honest, if we are having a concrete and productive dialogue with you, that is a very good thing and we would very much welcome that.
[51:35] We would be very happy to take aggressive steps to make sure that that dialogue continues, but one of the pieces of information I need to understand is, how many of those standards are compulsory and how many are not. That's simply for my own information.
Mr. St. Prix: [51:51] That's fair enough.
Ms. Alleyne: [51:54] Mr. Malamud [inaudible 51:55] What I would like to do as well, after this meeting, can we ask whether you could...I don't...In fact, instead of asking, it's upto...What do you want to do? We do a summary of this, the outcomes of this meeting and it be circulated so that everyone is on the same page as aware as to the time lines that we're working with what we've agreed to this afternoon, here.
Mr. Malamud: [52:26] That would be great. Will you be able to prepare that document?
Ms. Alleyne: [52:30] I had a sticky feeling I would end up having to do it, but yes, I would. [laughter]
Mr. Malamud: [52:35] OK, and if you could get that to us by Friday, along with the information on the compulsory standards, then what I will do is based on your memo, I will prepare a document for you on Monday and hopefully that will be acceptable and we will be in the process of doing stuff.
Ms. Alleyne: [52:53] OK, sure that is agreed. Mr. Halperin is quite quiet in the back there. I hope he is also in agreement.
Mr. Halperin: [53:01] Yes.
Mr. Malamud: [53:02] Mr. Halperin works for me and he is in agreement. [laughter]
Ms. Alleyne: [53:06] I just want to make sure that everybody is in agreement. At this time, I would like to invite Mr. Bennett to give the closing remarks, and it was a pleasure meeting with you and speaking with you and I hope that we have a productive relationship in the future.
Mr. Halperin: [53:20] Thank you.
Mr. Malamud: [53:21] Thank you.
Ms. Alleyne: [inaudible 53:22] [53:22]
Mr. Bennett: [53:23] OK, Mr. Malamud and Mr. Halperin, I guess I have to echo. I hope my... [inaudible 53:28] echo what [inaudible 53:32] Sanya said, I'm hopeful and encouraged that we can move ahead with this dialog and come into a meaningful relationship with public resource. Having said that, I wish you all well. You'll hear from us by Friday and we'll hear from you on Monday.
Mr. Halperin: [53:49] Thank you, sir.
Mr. Bennett: [53:50] OK.
Mr. Malamud: [53:51] Great. Thank you, I really appreciate the opportunity.
Mr. Bennett: [53:53] Have a good night or a good evening, I guess. You're four hours behind. OK. Bye-bye.
Mr. Malamud: [53:59] OK. Thanks.
Mr. Malamud: [54:00] OK. Bye.