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

Following the Money Trail / Going Backwards on Democracy

From: Frank Grave de Peralta <fg@speakeasy.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 13:15:34 -0700
Message-ID: <001201c14dda$7e96b5e0$b5b35140@fg>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>

Following the Money Trail / Going Backwards on Democracy 

The biggest threat to democracy today is not communism, 
it is unbridled capitalism. Capitalism is an integral component 
of any democratic society, but when the interests of capital and 
democracy conflict, democracy must prevail. Unfortunately, it 
seems capital is winning more of the arguments. 
Corporate interest have made a mockery of our patent and 
copyright system, now they are after democracy's newest tool, 
the web. 

The AOLs and Microsofts of the world would like to turn the web 
into another "push technology" with them doing the pushing. 
They would destroy the most democratic medium in history, 
just to make a buck. By making patented technologies "the standard", 
they lock in new monopolies and subscription-like revenue streams 
while minimizing competition and closing the door on independent 
development projects. But, even more insidious, is the long term 
effect on the medium as a democratic tool. As the web evolves, 
if it becomes increasingly necessary to use patented technologies 
to reach a sufficiently wide audience, more and more independent 
publishers will disappear. The web will morph into something like TV 
with only a relative hand full of people having access to mass 

The w3c's intension to shuffle this in under the radar is obvious. 
In light of the timing with the Terrorist Attacks, the w3c's actions 
come off as opportunistic and disingenuous. 

The internet and www are in desperate need of a democratically 
elected and publicly financed governing body to set standards. 
One with the authority to punish violators of the standard. 
If you can not comply with free and open standards, you should 
not be allowed on the net. 
As it stands now, the w3c is basically a corporate consortium. 
Check out the membership list: 
A lot more corporations than anything else on this list. 
Check out the membership Eligibility and Fees Table: 
Some-what discriminating, wouldn't you say? 

The w3c is not acting in the public interest. The question we have 
to ask ourselves is: 
Do we want the internet to be a public medium or a private one? 
Before you decide, have another look at the crap on TV. 
Public discourse in the U.S. has been in trouble since the advent 
of TV ( read "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman ). 
The internet provides a unique opportunity to change that. 
Let's not blow it! 

We must mobilize to force the w3c to become a democratic 
institution, or we must replace it with one. 

Frank Grave de Peralta 
Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 16:10:37 UTC

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