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

RAND patents

From: Greg Reagle <greagl1@umbc.edu>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 23:55:05 -0400
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011004235505.R1153@oak>
I've seen the news on Linux Weekly News (see http://www.lwn.net/) about the
new patent policy proposal.  I am very concerned about how this new policy
will affect the future development of free software (see
http://www.gnu.org/).

Some people whom I consider very intelligent and whose integrity I respect,
like Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen, claim that RAND licensing of
patented technology embodied in W3C standards will eliminate free software
production from any area of Web facilities subject to those standards.  I
don't know for sure whether this is true, but if it is then it's VERY VERY
bad.

Please make sure that any patent policy that you come up with is entirely
non-discriminatory toward free software (any royalty fee, no matter how
small, is a huge obstruction to free software).  In order to do this,
please consult with Richard Stallman (free software guy) and Bruce Perens
(open source guy).

If the patent policy that you come up with is in any way discriminatory towards
free software, is incompatible with the GPL (according to Stallman) or open
source software (according to Perens), I will be extremely disappointed in the
W3C and it will totally lose my support and the support of many many other free
software developers and fans.

The term "non-discriminatory" should not be used to refer to licenses that
require a fee, even if you consider the fee "reasonable" because
(1) Some people have more money than others
(2) Some companies have a *lot* more money than most individuals
The idea that charging money for something does not discriminate is
offensive and de-humanizing to the poor people of the world because it
totally ignores them.

In reading your "Backgrounder for W3C Patent Policy Framework"
(http://www.w3.org/1999/10/28-P3P-IntermindPatentAnalysis-PressRelease.html)
I see that the first core principle is that interoperability is important
for core infrastructure.  Well, I think it's important for all web
standards.  W3C shouldn't be dealing with any standards that don't consider
interoperability very important.

This isse is extremely important, please consider it very very carefully,
give plenty of times for discussion and deliberation, and consult the free
software community.

-- 
"All beings tremble before violence.  All love life.  All fear death.
See yourself in others.  Then whom can you hurt?  What harm can you do?"
 -- the Buddha
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 23:55:11 GMT

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