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

New RAND policy

From: K Briscoe <kbriscoe@u.washington.edu>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 07:47:30 -0700 (PDT)
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.A41.4.33.0110020715270.17400-100000@homer37.u.washington.edu>
To whome it may concern:

I understand that by only accepting RAND recommendations where no RF
possibility exists, the W3C seeks to minimize the damage to the
openness/platform-independence/accessibility of the World Wide Web that
would be the obvious result of moving completely away from RF
recommendations.

However, this compromise is a false one, and ignores the reality of the
competitive marketplace.  Once RAND technologies become recommendations,
they will necessarily become the extensions of existing marketing
campaigns.  Since "non-discriminatory" fees are to be collected, profits
are to be made, even from those who cannot afford to pay them.  The
developers of content-creation tools (such as PageMill, FrontPage, and
DreamWeaver) may choose to insert RAND technologies into the content their
tools produce, thus providing a secondary revenue stream from an initial
sale.  Users could have "agreed" to pay for this RAND technology through
a modified EULA.

IP owners will seek to make RF technology irrelevant, and as they control
a good deal of the content produced through their ownership of development
tools, and they own nearly all of the browser market, they will succeed.
The reason they would do this is not because of some conspiracy of IP
owners, but because of simple economics.  They will try to make profits
wherever they can (through RAND technologies), and they will try to
undermine competitors or technologies that threaten their revenue stream.

If the W3C supports RAND in any form, I fear that there will be a schism,
creating two World Wide Webs -- one of which is pay-to-play and the other
of which is free for all.  IP owners could ensure that these two are not
mutually compatible through the marketing tools/products I've already
mentioned.  After all, compatibility would ensure a failure of the
pay-to-play Web, so compatibility can and will be sacrificed for profit.

I encourage the W3C to abandon RAND consideration for the following
reasons:

- RAND technologies by definition discriminate against those without
reserves of cash.
- RAND technologies will be used as marketing tools for products and
thus to drive up revenues for the IP owner, to the point where the IP
owner will undermine RF technologies wherever possible.
- If RAND technologies become recommendations, the W3C may be replaced by
a standards body capable of ensuring an interoperable, accessible World
Wide Web.

Keith Briscoe
Content Creator
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 10:47:35 GMT

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