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

I am against the Proposal.

From: <CT@braehler.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 12:14:13 +0200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFF2F77782.0AAD6125-ONC1256AD9.0033B2DC@braehler.com>
Firstly: The "publicity" of this proposal. The W3C did not exactly run a PR
machine on this topic, although it proposes a fundamental change in its
policies, which may finally lead to its self-destruction by becoming
obsolete. Given the extreme sensitivity of the open source community
towards software patents and related issues as such, the total failure of
being recognized by a large number of interested and generally
well-informed party shows either a total failure of the publication
policies of the W3C, or a deliberate attempt of hiding of a vital piece of
information. The W3C should be in a position - technically, knowledgewise,
and contactwise - to give important issues like this the publicity they
deserve, and the failure to do this shows that it was never intended to by
publicly commented upon.

Secondly: The working group should be redefined, or totally abandoned, as
it has become obvious that this proposal is aimed at the very fundamentals
of the W3Cs existance. From this perspective, it is not desireable to have
a working group consisting of parties whose primary aim is to kill the W3C
by slaughtering and selling it. Consider to take at least those groups into
account who had the largest impact in making the web what it is now (even
bigger than all the current members added up): The Apache group , and the
Netscape group.

Thirdly: A Non-Discriminatory License will either be free for all (and
therefor highly impropable, because this is exactly thet the working group
members would like to prevent), or automatically prohibitive for any
open-source contribution, as the developers usually cannot pay the license
fees from their own - mostly private - pockets. As most of the web is still
running on open source software, with increasing numbers, creating
standards that the vast majority of websites can not follow because of
licensing problems is a stupid idea, to say at least.

Fourthly: It is absolutely necessary for all W3C standards and
recommendations to prevent all kinds of "submarine patents" to protect the
implementers from GIF-patent or even BT-link-patent like timebombs.

Fifthly: The (most stupid) idea of "Software Patents" is something that
uniformly benefits larger companies (like the ones in the comitee) and
which is aimed at killing off all grassroot movement in this sector, be it
private open source or small to medium businesses, or even the academic
sector. Luckily, outside the US this IP-cancer has not started to get
foothold, despite desperate attempts by larger US companies on the European
Commision (to name one). On the long run, "Software Patents" can either be
forced down the throat of all the free nations in the world by the US
(heaven forbid!), or turn out as one of the biggest self-induced speedbumps
of the US economy. I sincerely hope for the latter.

Looking over ones shoulder, one cna see that the open grassroot movements
actually built the web, and the large companies, which now try to control
the web patent-wise, shunned it. Remember Bill Gates amazement at COMDEX
'95 (IIRC), when nearly all vendors were using Win95, but were running
Netscape on top of it to show the "new thing", the web? Most of those who
now want to strangle the web with lawyers and patents did neither
contribute to nor even recognize its growth.

All in all, the Patent Policy Proposal shows several issues: Total failure
of the W3Cs publication policies, the W3Cs consent in suicidal ideas for
short-term success, and the lacking representation of interest groups
representing those who actually made the web what it is, instead of only
selling it.

Yours, very concerned, Christian Treczoks
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 06:17:23 UTC

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