W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > October 2001

W3C should not split the WWW

From: Moritz Moeller-Herrmann <mmh@gmx.net>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 09:30:20 +0200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011002093020.A959@rosalind.local>
There are several reasons why a RF WWW is preferable to a WWW controlled by
license fees. I say dpo not change the patent policy at all until you can
name a patented technology that is considered as essential for the W3C


I assume that the W3C works for the public good and under the further
assumption, that the public good is the good of all the world population
not the good of economic companies in the US.

There are basically two problems I would like to point out:

1. Digital Divide

ATM every developing country can access the Internet. It may be costly for
them because of technical problems and bad network infrastructure, but the
use is possible and it would become easier in the coming years.
I do not see how adding license fees for access a W3C conformant WWW would
do anything for the majority of the world population, who happens to live in
countries with low incomes. The internet should be made accessible to
everyone, especially the poor.

"Reasonable (for whom?) and Non Discriminatory" access for money would in
differnetiate between the have-nots and the rich countries. So it would in
fact discriminate between poor and rich. The title is therefore misleading.

RAND increases the digital divide between the rich and poor countries. It
would hinder globalization.

2. Regionalization

The W3C might not be aware of it, but "Software patents" are not allowed
under the European patent treaty (Art. 52). Algorithms and programs are not
patentable under European Law. There is currently a heated discussion if
this is to be changed or if the American model is useful. No decision has
been reached yet. Many fundamental problems with software patents have
surfaced and the current practice in the USA has been heavily critisized
even by patent owners (One-Click-Buy-Patent owner Jeff Bezos from Amazon for

The W3C should not take sides by allowing software patents in their WORLD
standards, when in fact these patents are only valid and only granted,
created and respected in North America. This is the World Wide web, not
America Online.

You would risk an Internet split between a patented closed net and an open
net. Global access would become difficult. This is the INTER-net, it should
not try to impose regional policies like "software patents" on all the
world. It should strive to be accessible by everyone.

I hope my considerations have been useful, feel free to contact me for
further discussion.

Moritz Moeller-Herrmann mmh@gmx.net ICQ# 3585990
wiss. Mitarbeiter, IMGB

Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 03:31:06 UTC

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