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

Legal infrastructure in a W3C recommendation ?

From: Alexandre Vitrac <vitrac@basilic.ceng.cea.fr>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 10:04:32 +0200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011004100432.K4826@basilic.ceng.cea.fr>

I think that the new W3C Patent Policy is a very alarming change in
the W3C behaviour, and I totally disagree with such a policy. There
are many reasons for that.

First, quickly looking through the posted comments on your site, I
have seen lots of good reasons to reject this policy. And I totally
agree with them. The main one is that such a policy would kill free
software implementations of W3C recommendations.

But one reason I haven't seen so far is that this policy is based on
the assumption that software patents are a reality everywhere. The W3C
is an international institution, and as far as I remember,
"international" doesn't mean "american". So what about the
applicability of such a standard in countries where software patents
are not recognized ?

I think that by including legal aspects in one of its recommendations,
the W3C prevents it from being universal and applicable everywhere. A
standard cannot spread if it is based on non standard aspects. And
software patents are not universal. They are not legal in Europe for
exemple. Companies developping software would have to pay royalties in
certain countries and not in others. This is quite different from your
RAND philosophy.

I think that mangling computer standard with legal apsects is a
dangerous game, due to the lack of uniformity in national laws.

I hope that the bright members of the consortium will change their
mind and see their mistake. Otherwise, I fear that the forthcoming
standards will have a hard time trying to spread.


Alexandre Vitrac
OpenPGP key ID : C03A7DFE
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 04:04:36 UTC

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