Andrew Cormack of ja.net talked at the REFEDS meeting today about recent work they have done on standardizing interfederation agreements. One interesting announcement was that they’ve picked up my old idea of associating a license with federation metadata. They ran this by a set of lawyers who basically said: “don’t call it a license, call it terms-of-use and you’re fine”.
This has the potential of simplifying federation operations (including federation peering) significantly since service-providers don’t have to be tied to federations by legal agreements. For multi-federation service-providers like Microsoft Dreamspark or Elsevier this is good news since they may in time get away from having to sign agreements with every federation on the planet.
While this may seem like a bad idea for federations whose business was driven by being able to charge SPs for inclusion in metadata in the long run everyone benefits from the identity business growing with the removal of a major obstacle.