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Re: W3C patent policy

From: Daniel J. Weitzner <djweitzner@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 20:15:47 -0400
Message-ID: <12e301c14ad7$63283cd0$b07ba8c0@bayt>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>, "Eben Moglen" <moglen@columbia.edu>
Hello Eben,

Thanks for these comments. You will see shortly that we are extending the
comment period for this draft until 11 October 2001. So, I'll ask you a
question that I hope you can answer in that time. While I understand the
overall spirit of your opposition to proposed recognition of RAND licensing.
I would appreciate your thoughts on whether the Royalty-Free licensing
structure proposed [1] is consistent with the GPL and other open source


Danny Weitzner

Daniel J. Weitzner    +1.617.253.8036 (MIT)
World Wide Web Consortium   +1.202.364.4750 (DC)
Technology & Society Domain Leader  <djweitzner@w3.org>

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-patent-policy-20010816/#sec-defs-RF
----- Original Message -----
From: "Eben Moglen" <moglen@columbia.edu>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 8:16 PM
Subject: W3C patent policy

> I write on behalf of the Free Software Foundation to oppose the
> the W3C's adoption of a patent-friendly standards policy.
> The World Wide Web cannot exist as a global and uniformly-available
> facility of human society without free software.  Apache, Perl
> PHP--and literally hundreds of other immediately recognizable aspects
> of web technology--have been outgrowths of the free software
> production model.  Without free software, the web would be a
> commercialized outgrowth of a few proprietary software producers, and
> it would be incapable of serving, as it now does, as a force for
> global egalitarianism.
> Because the Web employs no technology not based around completely open
> standards, software implementing every single facility of Web life can
> be produced in the free software model, and is therefore available for
> free modification and improvement all over the world, supplied at the
> marginal cost of distribution to any programmer--no matter how
> financially constrained--who wishes to produce new facilities and
> opportunities for users.
> "Reasonable and non-discriminatory" licensing of patented technology
> embodied in W3C standards will eliminate free software production from
> any area of Web facilities subject to those standards.  Such standards
> will therefore provide a basis to "embrace and extend" the Web under
> proprietary control, excluding competition from free software,
> limiting technical innovation and risking the social utility of the
> Web.
> W3C standards should not incorporate any patented technology.  If
> patented technology is, for whatever reason, absolutely necessary to
> the articulation of Web standards, only such patents should be
> considered for inclusion as are licensed under terms compatible with
> section 7 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is the
> worldwide standard in free software licensing.  Patents licensed
> compatibly with GPL can be practiced without royalty or recordkeeping
> obligations, and are thus useful in software that any user can modify
> or redistribute.  The W3C patent policy should not be RAND, it should
> be GPL.
> --
>  Eben Moglen                       voice: 212-854-8382
>  Professor of Law                    fax: 212-854-7946       moglen@
>  Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street, NYC 10027     columbia.edu
>  General Counsel, Free Software Foundation
Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 20:13:06 UTC

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