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

My objection to the patent policy

From: <S.Marshall@open.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 10:35:55 +0100
Message-ID: <ACAB691EBFADD41196340008C7F355856CCE8E@tesla.open.ac.uk>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
I do not have time to read previous comments. I'm sorry, but there is no way
I can spend time on it; I'm a busy person. But I would like to object in the
strongest terms to the patent policy that permits so-called 'standards' to
include technology which is not:

* freely available:
  + at no cost (not a reasonable cost, not a small cost, not a cost
    in certain circumstances only: at no cost, period)
  + with no legal forms to fill out, no requests to send; no 
    administrative action whatsoever should be required in order to
    use the technology

* to all implementors:
  + large businesses
  + small companies
  + individuals
  + my next door neighbour's little kid

I am certain that I don't have anything to add to what many others have
said: patents are not necessary in software, patents are *bad* in software,
and most especially in standards: it obviously harms the implementation of
standards if software developers are restricted from making software that
supports those standards. And yes, they are 'restricted' even if any patent
fees are 'reasonable'; very much software on the Web is free and shareware
and freeware or shareware developers cannot pay patent licenses.

I am a shareware developer; I certainly can't even consider developing
anything that might require me to pay patent fees. It's just totally out of
the question. 

If a 'standard' is to become a standard, let's have it become a standard for
*everyone* who writes software in that area (individuals and small
companies, whether they charge small amounts or nothing at all for their
software), not just for the few large companies which write software.

I don't know what good posting this will do - very likely nothing. I didn't
see any more effective way of making my voice heard. As a sofware developer
(professional and shareware), patents are absolute anathema to me and
supporting them is a hideous attack on the free speech and freedom of
creation that software authors ought to have... supporting patents as part
of 'standards' which people are then actually supposed to be *encouraged* to
implement is so far beyond ludicrous that I am almost speechless.

Received on Wednesday, 3 October 2001 05:36:34 UTC

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