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W3C Patent Policy Framework

From: <alan.hanna@us.datex-ohmeda.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 09:27:29 -0600
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: alan-hanna@altavista.net
Message-ID: <OF7C983D94.9EB0CA57-ON87256ADB.0052599C@us.datex-ohmeda.com>
Good people,

I think it is a terrible idea to adopt RAND licensing for any public
infrastructure.  While RAND licensing may be common with other standards
bodies, it is typically a goal of these other bodies to promote standards
in fields where patented technologies are proliferating rapidly and mutual
interference claims threaten to cause complete market fragmentation and
paralysis.  In these cases, adoption of RAND licensing can represent a
major step forward in breaking a logjamb.

In contrast, adoption of RAND licensing for components of the web
infrastructure would be taking a very open system and inserting new
impediments to advancement.  Large areas of W3C-approved standards could
become offlimits to open source development projects, because the presence
of just one RAND-licensed component could effectively limit work in all
subsidiary components.  I believe that this is ultimately not in the best
interests of the citizens of the web.

Nothing presently prevents private companies from introducing proprietary
enhancements to the web.  Other companies are free to present their own
counter-proposals, and the open source community is free to propose
completely open alternatives.  The public is served and advancement is
made.  Adoption of RAND licensed components by the W3C could slam the door
shut on the open source option, because a standard would have been
established that open source projects could not  meet without exposure to
legal action.

In my opinion, no supposed improvements to the web are as important as the
culture of freedom and openness that has already brought us as far as we
have come.  The RAND license is a terrible idea for the web and for the
W3C.

Thankyou.

Alan Hanna
1722 Pine St.
Boulder, CO, 80302
USA

alan-hanna@altavista.net
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 11:27:50 GMT

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