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Re: Proposal for defining acceptability of RAND licensing model.

From: David Woodhouse <dwmw2@infradead.org>
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001 18:07:05 +0100
To: Daniel Phillips <phillips@bonn-fries.net>
Cc: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <6821.1002301625@redhat.com>

phillips@bonn-fries.net said:
>  I found your analysis very clear and compelling.  However, I do not
> agree  with your conclusion. 

>  There is no minimum acceptable level for incorporation of non-free
> licences  into public standards, just as there is no such thing as
> being a little bit  pregnant.

I agree completely. 

I believe that the only point on which we differ is that my argument is
based on the _assumption_ that the final definition of the 'RAND' licensing
model will indeed be reasonable, and will indeed be the minimum acceptable
level for W3C Recommendations.

One has to assume that the W3C believe this to be the case, and any 
argument to the contrary is an orthogonal discussion.

My point in the mail to which you responded was that _regardless_ of the
precise details of the agreed minimum (and of whether we agree with that
assessment), the W3C should be trying to ensure that RF licences are used as
much as possible, and the minimum acceptable licence is used only where it's

I shall now follow you down the path of your digression... 

In fact my assertion, stated more completely in an earlier mail to the
list¹, is that any licence which imposes a per-unit fee is discriminating
against free (gratis) software, and that any licence which imposes a
per-product, per-version or per-developer fee is discriminating against the
development model of Free (libre) Software. Neither of which could be
described as _either_ reasonable or non-discriminatory. 

Therefore, any 'Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory' licence must, by
definition, grant unconditional and fee-free rights for the development of
Free Software to implement the standard in question.

Personally, I happen to believe that an RF licence is the minimum acceptable

But that does not, and should not, prevent me from stating my belief that
the W3C should encourage RF licensing over and above what _they_ finally
declare to be their minimum acceptable licence.


¹ http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-patentpolicy-comment/2001Oct/0753.html
Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 13:07:07 UTC

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