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Richard Stallman re: W3C Patent Policy

From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson@realmeasures.dyndns.org>
Date: Mon, 01 Oct 2001 08:24:08 -0400
Message-ID: <3BB86068.627FEC2D@RealMeasures.dyndns.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org, C-FIT_Community@realmeasures.dyndns.org, fairuse-discuss@mrbrklyn.com, nylug-talk@nylug.org, patents@liberte.aful.org, DMCA_Discuss@lists.microshaft.org
CC: rms@gnu.org, love@cptech.org

Richard Stallman wrote:

> I am not an Internet user and I could not subscribe to that list
> even if I knew how.  I tried mailing comments to that list.
> In case my message bounces, would you please forward them?

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 23:51:43 -0600 (MDT)
From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Subject: W3C patent policy

If the World-Wide Web is indeed to remain "world-wide", it must not
depend on restricted standards.  The W3C cannot prevent others from
developing or using restricted standards, but it should not lend its
name to them.

Therefore, the W3C should adopt a policy that all important standards
must have free patent licenses (and thus allow free software). Perhaps
there are some standards for specialized kinds of business-to-business
communication which are sufficiently unimportant that it may not be
disastrous if they are patented.  These standards do not really deserve
the term "world-wide", but they may still be worth the W3C's attention. 
But standards that really are of world-wide importance must be free.

The "back-door RAND" problem pointed out by Adam Warner is especially
crucial.  When the W3C decides that a certain standard ought to be
patent-free, no circumstances should be allowed to annul that decision.

Aside from these substantive changes in policy, the W3C should also stop
using the term "reasonable and non-discriminatory", because that term
white-washes a class of licenses that are normally neither reasonable
nor non-discriminatory.  It is true that they do not discriminate
against any specific person, but they do discriminate against the free
software community, and that makes them unreasonable.

I suggest the term "uniform fee only", or UFO for short, as a
replacement for "reasonable and non-discriminatory".
Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 08:22:56 UTC

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