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

RAND will fragment the web

From: Case, Scott <Scott.Case@ca.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 13:40:09 -0400
Message-ID: <21AAC260C0BCD411AE9B009027AA4DE70683F99D@usilms03.ca.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
I'm not completely parranoid but I do have to wonder how this whole idea came about.  
With talk of Microsoft hiding patents regarding .NET technology along with the very blunt statements from MS stating that GPL licensing is bad and should be stopped - I have to wonder who the major backer of this is?  This seems to fit their goals very well.

If you have standards under RAND and open-source alternatives what will happen?
Big companies might promote the RAND standards & little people will follow the open-source alternatives? Say good-bye to interoperability.  How is the open-source movement affected by this?  Potential to put some major brakes on development there I might guess.

If RAND is adopted, I see some large corporations proffiting immensely and open-soure & small development shops suffering even more.  And in the end - consumers will suffer because only high priced software will be available.  The programming community will suffer - large corporations with deep pockets are not the only places where software is produced (yet).

I now have to wonder who is really driving the W3C - must be people with money.  I now have to wonder about the quality of any standard coming out of W3C.  I will now have to ask whether any particular standard exists because it truly benefits the community or because someone had enough influence to have it put in place.  

The patent system is already broken.  Now you want to tie technology standards to a broken system.  

My understanding is that RAND implies that patented technology could be standardized only if an existing open solution does not exist.  Who decides whether existing open solutions or existing patented technology are fit for a particular standard? The W3C. Who is the W3C - a bunch of members from various companies and organizations. Those members that are authors of the patented technology or are major partners of them will probably do what they can to promote a patented solution - even if it does not benefit the user community as much as an open solution.  $$ rule in this kind of situation and I think most people realize that.

Maybe I missed something but these are my initial thoughts - now I will do some more research on it.

Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 13:41:33 UTC

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