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

Royalties are discriminatory.

From: David Andrew Michael Noelle <dave@straylight.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 13:01:56 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <20011005170156.3431217B9@gauss.straylight.org>

World Wide Web Consortium
Patent Policy Working Group

Dear W3C Patent Policy Working Group:

I'm concerned about the recent Patent Policy Framework draft, which
could allow W3C members to charge royalty fees for technologies included
in web standards.

As an Open Source web developer, I cannot object strongly enough to the
inclusion of a "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND) licensing
option in the proposed policy.  I believe that the exclusive use of a
"royalty-free" (RF) licensing model is in the best interests of the
Internet community, and that RAND licensing would always necessarily
exclude some would-be implementors, especially among Open Source and
free software developers.

I personally do not have and do not foresee having the resources to pay
any licensing fee for following the standards most widely supported on
the Internet, regardless of how "reasonable" those fees may seem to a
major corporation that holds their patent.  Any licensing fee would not
only be discriminatory, it would put me out of business, because I could
not afford all of the fees for all of the various technologies I need to
make a single product work.

Small developers and the Open Source community are already fighting an
uphill battle against proprietary standards implemented by large
corporations.  Since we cannot implement their proprietary technologies,
we cannot make any products that are compatible with theirs.  If they
were to open some of their standards, but require a licensing fee that
was "reasonable" for other major corporations to pay, the internet
community might benefit from the improved interoperability of their
products, but at the expense of driving small, Open Source, and free
developers completely out of large areas of the market.  If the basic
standards that currently make the Internet possible were suddenly to
require a licensing fee, or the Internet were to evolve in such a way as
to incorporate new patented technologies as a basic requirement for
interoperability, developers like myself would effectively be barred
from any Internet development.

I applaud the W3C for its tradition of providing open-source reference
implementations and its work to promote a wide variety of interoperable
implementations of its open standards. The W3C can best continue its
work of "leading the Web to its full potential" by continuing this
tradition, and saying no to RAND licensing.


            -Dave Noelle,                 dave@Straylight.org
            -the Villa Straylight,  http://www.straylight.org
Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 13:02:23 UTC

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