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

on Patent Policy Framework draft

From: <volodya@mindspring.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 11:17:21 -0400 (EDT)
To: mailto: ;
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0110021022200.29274-100000@node2.localnet.net>

Dear Sir/Madam:

    I am very concerned about the proposol to allow for "RAND" licensing 
in W3C standards. Aside from the fact that "payment of reasonable,
non-discriminatory royalties or fees;" is a very vague definition, even 
a very reasonable fee might be unaffordable by many parties. 

    First of let me note that any kind of per copy royalties will wipe out
any possibility of Open Source implementation. To me, and many other
people, this is simply unacceptable.

    Furthermore, even "per developer" fees can be very damaging.

    Let me illustrate this on the example of Motif. This is a GUI toolkit
library that was (is ?) widely used in development of Unix applications. 
The price tag ($2000) for the royalty free distribution of binaries is
very reasonable for a US corporation. Yet, for an individual the price is
unaffordable. A lot of applications first written for Motif had later to
be ported to alternative toolkits (Xt, KDE or GTK for example) or (much
later) could use a clone library (Lesstif).

    However, a patent cannot be "cloned". It gives the owner the right to
exclude any and all implementations. I would like to remind that a very
important part of the Internet is the enabling of the individual to create
and distribute works on an unprecendented scale, so patents, with the
ability of limiting distribution,  can transcend the boundaries of
commerce and restrict not only the availability of technology (which is 
bad enough) but also the individual freedoms.

   I would also like to note that there is no such thing as
"fare" price. A developer in Russia, for example, would be hard pressed to
pay even $20 - and some contries have even worse economic situation. 

   The fact that not every country supports software patents does not help
matters. The developers in those contries might still have problems using
US-based services (for example, in the case of Dmitry Sklyarov, he was
arrested in the US for work he perfomed in Russia that was absolutely
legal according to _Russian_ laws). And people in countries with software
patents will be limited in their choice of software.

   It is my firm opinion that Internet is about freedom. Royalties and
fees have no place in standard specification that defines what Internet
will become.

                      sincerely yours

                          Dr. Vladimir Dergachev
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 11:14:29 UTC

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