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

Royalty fees, patents, and the web.

From: Daniel Joyce <daniel.a.joyce@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 12:19:46 -0500
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <01100212194600.10105@gaia>
	Any technology that requires a royalty should NOT be a part of a W3C 
standard.

	The internet was built on free technology, and should remain so.

	More than half the webservers on the internet currently run Apache, a free 
webserver. Large numbers of these Apache installations run on Linux.

	If patents that require royalty payments are allowed in, they will adversely 
affect the interoperability of such widely popular free software.

	Unless the patent is essentially in the public domain, and free for use, 
there can be no guarantee that Apache and Linux will be able to continually 
interoperate with other systems that have been 'contaminated' by the patents. 
The nature of development, and the requirements of the development licenses 
on Apache and Linux prevent the inclusion of technologies that are not 
royalty free or essentially public domain.

	While yes, under the BSD style license of Apache, a company could take the 
code, and produce a version containing such a patented technology, currently 
most of the development is done by volunteers. How are volunteers supposed to 
pay royaltys?

	Meanwhile, the GPL, which covers linux, prohibits the inclusion of any 
technology that may affect the 'free' status of that operating system.

	Please, I urge you NOT to consider the inclusion of patents that require 
royalties in any new W3C standard. If there is some 'magickal' solution the 
w3c would like to see for a problem, then why not ask the free software 
community for a solution, and have that made a standard?

	Else, with a royalty structure for key technologies, the net may break down 
into digital haves and have-nots. And you would be shutting out a lot of 
pre-existing, key technologies, like Apache and Linux.

	The inability of free solutions to make use of technologies that require 
royalties would slowly break their interoperability on the net.

	Sincerely,

	Daniel Joyce
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 13:23:33 GMT

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