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

RAND invalidates W3C's mission

From: Dave Reeve <NOSPAM.David.Reeve@dreeve.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 15:52:52 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011002155252.A18990@dreeve.org>
Dear W3C,

To date I feel that the W3C have deserved respect for their efforts
to support and encourage, free, open and universal information exchange.
By creating open standards - everyone has the ability to participate
in this vision.  However in my opinion the suggested patent policy,
specifically the RAND license, threatens to destroy all that the W3C
has done to date.

As I am sure you are aware there have been a great deal of comments
on this subject in the last few days.  Many expressing their own
personal views on the subject.  I implore the members of the W3C
to examine their own viewpoint on this subject; which is clearly
summarized on the following page.


> 1. Universal Access
> W3C defines the Web as the universe of network-accessible
> information (available through your computer, phone, television,
> or networked refrigerator...). Today this universe benefits
> society by enabling new forms of human communication and
> opportunities to share knowledge.  One of W3C's primary goals
> is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever
> their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native
> language, culture, geographical location, or physical or
> mental ability.

Ok perhaps that it is philosophical, but perhaps that is precisely
what is required of a standards body; specifically a standards
body that is attempting to empower information exchange.  Software
patents exist, be that right or wrong, and the W3C needs to make
its position clear.  On this we all agree.

However if software independence is one of their goals then their
policy, as per their mission, must not exclude anyone.  Free
software would suffer; as it has in similar situations in other
areas.  Don't be the next organization to continue the trend.

"Yes. A RAND license is common among standards organizations."
(source http://www.w3.org/2001/10/patent-response#common).
But that doesn't mean its right!  Yes of course the big corps
want to own it all; but you don't have to let them.

> 4. Interoperability
> Twenty years ago, people bought software that only worked with
> other software from the same vendor. Today, people have more
> freedom to choose, and they rightly expect software components
> to be interchangeable. They also expect to be able to view Web
> content with their preferred software (graphical desktop browser,
> speech synthesizer, braille display, car phone...). W3C, a
> vendor-neutral organization, promotes interoperability by designing
> and promoting open (non-proprietary) computer languages and protocols
> that avoid the market fragmentation of the past. This is achieved
> through industry consensus and encouraging an open forum for discussion.

I prefer to view the web with a free browser.  Its nice to have
"[the] freedom to choose" and "expect software components to be
interchangeable".  So please continue to be a "vendor-neutral
organization" and "avoid the market fragmentation of the past."

I hope that the members of the W3C can see that to allow RAND
would invalidate the very principals on which they are founded.
If this is not the case - then it will be the darkest day the web
has ever seen.

-- Dave Reeve
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 10:52:55 UTC

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