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

Patent Changes would cause problems - but not insurmountable ones.

From: Peter Street <lazerfx@ntlworld.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 23:18:48 +0100
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NFBBILBJILFEBOMJCFDEEEELCBAA.lazerfx@ntlworld.com>
The World Wide Web has always been free - You can use HTML, XML, XSLT, ASP,
PHP, GIF, PNG, JPG and all the other myriad formats without paying a
royalty.  CompuServe attempted to impose a royalty on the CompuServe
Graphics Interchange Format (.GIF) standard a few years ago - I still
remember the furore about that.  They did not succeed - not least because
.PNG was ready and waiting in the wings if they attempted to really hammer
the lesson home.

Linux has demonstrated that people will go for Open Source applications.  I
believe that if the W3C or any other organisational body attempts to charge
royalties for the use of the Web, the majority of business and home users
will switch to a free standard, as soon as one is available.  And Linux has
also demonstrated the willingness of major companies to back these free

For Example:  If HTML was to charge 5p (UK Values) for every page you doled
out on your webserver, would it be long before you decided to move to (for
instance) MyHTML - a competing, remarkably similar, free and compatible
standard developed by the Open Source community?  Let's say it's a fraction
of that: 5p per 1,000.  That's still a huge budget for major websites who
are serving up millions of pages per day.

Another thing to consider is that the web has been remarkably lacking in
fare sources.  Would adding another means of draining money to these sites
be a good thing?  I think not.

Open Source is here.  It is here to stay - and if you make it impractical to
use the web with patented software, there is no shortage of people willing
to write free versions.

Peter Street
Web Developer / Manager of LazerFX Productions
www.lazerfx.co.uk (Under Development - Using potentially patented XML, HTML,

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Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 18:18:55 UTC

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