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

RAND isn't; Response misleading

From: Russell Marks <russell.marks@ntlworld.com>
Date: 03 Oct 2001 09:46:22 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <87k7yd157l.fsf@ntlworld.com>
As a free software author, I am greatly opposed to the proposed
tolerance of RAND licensing. But as others have expressed similar
opposition in detail more effectively than I could, I'll concentrate
instead on a single point in partial reply to the recent "Response to
Public Comments on the W3C Patent Policy Framework":

> W3C recognizes that a Royalty-Free environment was essential to the
> growth of the Web, and the contributions of the open source developer
> community have been critical to its success. W3C also recognizes that
> software patents exist (and patent issues have become more prevalent
> with the growth of the Web), and ignoring them will do more harm than
> good. W3C is working hard to reach consensus in an area where there is
> an obvious tension, and to strike a balance among diverse interests.

I'm afraid these carefully-chosen words ignore the most fundamental
issue which has exasperated so many, including myself. The issue is
that tolerating demands for royalty payments will prevent free
software from supporting any W3C standard affected by them.

Note that this is a binary issue - either free software is excluded,
or it isn't. Talk of "balance" is, unfortunately, quite meaningless in
this context.

This should also explain why choosing only to answer such questions as
`Is this the end of Royalty-Free licenses for W3C Recommendations?' in
the Response was highly misleading. Having merely *some* royalty-free
licensing is not sufficient to allow free software adoption of W3C
standards as a whole.

The W3C must decide whether or not it considers free software worthy
of being *allowed* to conform to its standards. If not, then there
should be no great surprise if such dismissal becomes mutual.

Received on Wednesday, 3 October 2001 04:44:54 UTC

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