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Re: W3C patent policy

From: Dylan Thurston <dpt@math.harvard.edu>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 23:31:02 +0900
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011003233102.A774@math.harvard.edu>
On Monday, Oct 01 2001, Daniel J. Weitzner <djweitzner@w3.org> wrote:
> Hello Eben,
> Thanks for these comments. You will see shortly that we are extending the
> comment period for this draft until 11 October 2001. So, I'll ask you a
> question that I hope you can answer in that time. While I understand the
> overall spirit of your opposition to proposed recognition of RAND licensing.
> I would appreciate your thoughts on whether the Royalty-Free licensing
> structure proposed [1] is consistent with the GPL and other open source
> licenses.
> ...
> [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-patent-policy-20010816/#sec-defs-RF
> [quoted from Eben Moglen:]
> > W3C standards should not incorporate any patented technology.  If
> > patented technology is, for whatever reason, absolutely necessary to
> > the articulation of Web standards, only such patents should be
> > considered for inclusion as are licensed under terms compatible with
> > section 7 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is the
> > worldwide standard in free software licensing.  Patents licensed
> > compatibly with GPL can be practiced without royalty or recordkeeping
> > obligations, and are thus useful in software that any user can modify
> > or redistribute.  The W3C patent policy should not be RAND, it should
> > be GPL.

Prima facie, this statement by Eben Moglen seems incompatible with
some of the allowed restrictions from [1]:

> (f) Royalty-Free License
>     A "Royalty-Free License" also called "RF License" shall have the same
>     characteristics as a RAND License, except that a Royalty-Free License:
>      1. may not be conditioned on payment of royalties, fees or
>         other consideration except for the conditions permitted in
>         the clauses of RAND License other than clause 5.
>      2. may require that all licensees make any Essential Claims
>         they control available to all on a no-royalty basis.
>      3. shall not be considered accepted by an implementer who
>         manifests an intent not to accept the terms of the
>         Royalty-Free License as offered by the licensor.

and then:

> (e) RAND License
>     RAND stands for "reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms. A
>     "RAND License" shall mean a license that:
> ...
>      6. may not impose any further conditions or restrictions on the
>         use of any technology, intellectual property rights, or
>         other restrictions on behavior of the licensee, but may
>         include reasonable, customary terms relating to operation or
>         maintenance of the license relationship such as the
>         following: audit (when relevant to fees), choice of law, and
>         dispute resolution.

Do "reasonable, customary terms related to operation or maintenance of
the license relationship" include requirements to register with the
patent holder?  This seems like an onerous recordkeeping requirement
that would be unacceptable to a free software project.

[Let me add my voice to others: I do not want the W3C approving
"standards" that cannot be freely implemented.]

	Dylan Thurston
Received on Wednesday, 3 October 2001 10:31:12 UTC

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