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

W3C Patent Policy Framework Working Draft

From: Sean McPherson <w3c@seanmcpherson.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 08:50:06 -0400 (EDT)
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
cc: <w3c@seanmcpherson.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0110040837210.6136-100000@primary.seanmcpherson.com>
RAND is completely incompatible with the vision Tim Berners Lee had of the
Internet, as well as the vision of what I would expect are the majority of
the users of the Internet. I see from the authors of this specification
that the deck appears to have been stacked; 4 of 6 authors are from major
corporations who would seem to me to have a vested interest in this
specific policy. However, as I am not personally knowledgeable of the Open
Standards/Open Source/Patent Policy leanings of these particular people
beyond the specifications and policy written in this draft, I'll leave
researching that concern as an exercise to the reader.

From the text of John Gilmore's posting here (with which I wholeheartedly

RAND terms basically outlaw open source implementations, because they
permit per-user or per-copy fees to be required.  Such licensing terms
are incompatible with open source implementations of the W3C
recommendations, because open source licenses permit each end-user to
make unlimited numbers of copies of the implementation, without
further permission or payment.

From the W3C's own web site, directly referenced at http://www.w3.org/Status
under the heading of "Open Source Releases":

The natural complement to W3C specifications is running code.
Implementation and testing is an essential part of specification
development and releasing the code promotes exchange of ideas in the
developer community. All W3C software is Open Source/ Free Software, and
GPL compatible. See the license for details (and the following if you
intent to contribute). Note that as this license is GPL compatible, it is
possible to redistribute software based on W3C sources under a GPL

I can handle a lot of things, but the blatant hypocrisy displayed in this
draft astounds me. If you look at the Netcraft surveys, you can see the
majority of web site operators use Open Source software for  web serving.
If you check the SMTP surveys, again, Open Source leads the  way. Almost
all of the major Internet services are not just provided in the majority
by Open Source software, but in the overwhelming majority, and not by some
small margin.

RAND would have the distinct result of ending the furthering of
technological advances on the Internet as we have come to use, know, and
love it, and force the system to be 'forked' under a completing and truly
Open set of web standards. This is a waste of time and energy, and
benefits no one but those whose pockets are lined when their services are
purchased as their customers are forced to pay out to get basic or
extended functionality from a proprietary or patented product.

Sean McPherson
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 08:51:07 UTC

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