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Response to the RAND licencing proposal

From: Samuel Taylor <sam.taylor@anu.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 11:45:39 +1000
Message-ID: <3BBBBF43.5DC61445@anu.edu.au>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to urge you to rethink the highly questionable
RAND licencing scheme that you are proposing for use in some
future W3C standards. I appreciate that software patents
present a range of problems to a standards body such as the
W3C. The two goals stated in section 1 of your 2 October
public statement are both fair and reasonable. However, the
solution you have arrived at is ill-considered, unpopular and
I believe ultimately unworkable. More than that, I think it 
will serve to marginalise the W3C and render irrelevant the
standards it produces.

Neither the general internet or the web were created because a
standards organisation deemed that they should be. Nor where 
they the product of a large multinational corporation. Both 
exist today because of mass user support and the availability 
of free technology. Even today there are no significant web 
technologies that require users to pay for them. The most 
successful technologies remain the non-proprietory, open and 
free ones. To ignore this simple fact is to make a grave

Public opinion is vital to the survival of any standards body.
The details of the RAND scheme, and the less than open way in
which it has been applied to standards such as SVG, has served
to anger many IT professionals, software developers and
general users. RAND smacks of collusion and vested interest
and serves only to tarnish the reputation of the W3C. You have 
diminished yourselves in the eyes of many. 

The strength of public reaction speaks for itself. Find
another way to address the patent problem: well all expected
better of the W3C that this.


Samuel R. A. Taylor
Department of Computer Science, Australian National University

phone:  +61 2 6125 8176
fax:    +61 2 6125 0010
web:    http://acsys.anu.edu.au/~sam
Received on Wednesday, 3 October 2001 21:43:05 UTC

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