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

Re: We must fork the SVG standard (was: SVGA 1.0 uses RAND -> DO NOT ! implement it, DO NOT ! use it)

From: Jason Antony <jemvai777@yahoo.com.au>
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 15:40:46 +1000 (EST)
Message-ID: <20011007054046.27149.qmail@web11402.mail.yahoo.com>
To: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Cc: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org> wrote:
> Jason Antony wrote:
> > 
> > What is your justification for including a beta standard [RAND] in a
> > finalised one [SVG]?
> There is no normative reference from SVG to PPF so it meets the usual
> ules for such things. Actually there is no non-normative reference
> either.

That was not my question. What I want to know is, why was SVG 1.0 raised to
Recommendation Status [4 Sept.] while the PPF was still in draft mode as of
that day? It's not an issue of policy, but of integrity.

Going to the SVG IPR statements
[http://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements.html], we find the firms
who offer RAND licenses refer to the 5 April and 6 July versions of the W3C
Patent Policy Framework Proposal draft. Atemptting to access them
results in a 401 error. In other words, that document is locked away from
the general public.

So here's another point to consider. Why was such a fundamental change to
the W3C's licensing scheme not conducted under public review from its
earliest inception, which was at least as long ago as 5 April?

> They were in fact all asked to provide RF license. Most did. Some would
> not, and they are listed on the public page for all to see.

Yes, and reading http://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements.html we
find that four of the WG members [and implicitly a fifth] offer RAND
licenses to those who wish to implement SVG.

Now, kindly explain, in plain language, what the implications are for:

 - open source developers who wish to create SVG software

 - website developers who want to incorporate SVG in their pages

In particular, will this mean that OSS developers may be liable for
infringing the patents of Adobe, Apple, IBM, Kodak and/or Quark in the
event of them writing a program which can create SVG graphics but not pay
them the RAND license fee?

> I have not seen a lot of posters, or even many, or evan a few, who have
> claimed "serruptitious interest" on the part of the SVG working group.

If you read between the lines, the same was implied in a lot of the posts.
Coincidence goes only so far without raising suspicion.

> I have
> expended considerable effort over the last week in responding to
> comments on this list and on other lists and in private mail.

Yes Chris you have, and I appreciate that very much. However, with all
respect, most of your replies weren't addressing the core issue at hand
well, which is addressing how to deal with patents in ways other than RAND.
This sort of vagueness does nothing to inspire anyone's confidence in you
or the W3C.

> > Really? Do I have to quote W3C's goals all over again? 
> A goal is not a legally enforceable policy. Please try and see the
> difference.

At a very popular nerd website, the above statement would be classified as
'Flamebait' :-) I understand your need to serve your organisation's needs,
but that comment is truly asinine. Would moving in the opposite direction
bring W3C closer to its goals?

You must remember the W3C can't legally enforce internet standards either.
Its relevance comes mainly from the open source community, who seek free,
open standards. The success of a standard depends on the breadth of its
acceptance and implementation. QED.

Of course the W3C's funding mainly comes from corporate entities. Perhaps
that is the difference I should be focusing on?

> I would like to take the opportunity to thank those who have
> read the PPF and made specific and detailed comments on it, especially
> if they included well-argued and clear alternative wording for specific
> sections of it. This will make the job of the Patent Policy working
> groupa lot easier in processing the contents of this email archive.

Then kindly consider these insightful posts in particular:

 - 'Part II: A Concrete Alternative', by Steve Waldman

    - In section 5, Steve advocates convening a Patent Advisory Group
      to assess the validity of any patents which stand in the way of a
      recommendation released as RF. The costs for conducting
      this search and assessment will not be trivial. However, the
      dues W3C receives from its members should be used for this effort.

 - 'Three substantial comments', by Dr. K. Lenz

There are many more well-thought out points worthy of consideration. I
shall search the archive and send you them links once I get back on my
uni's delightful T1 connection.

> > It IS about the dubious validity of software patents, 
> Now personally I fully agree with you there but as I said in another
> thread on this list, W3C did not invent software patents. Nor is W3C
> sufficiently powerful that it can force all countries that allow
> software patents to abandon them. So, along with everyone else,if W3C
> cannot change this particular legislation then it has to come up with
> ways of dealing with it. So the validity or otherwise of software
> patents, while important and interesting, is off topic for this list in
> the sense that, regardless of arguments made, W3C is not actually able
> to do anything about that.
> >and that they have no place in open, global standards.
> Wheras that subject is indeed right on topic for this list.

When you split my sentence, it lost its context. With reference to your
first para:

 - you say W3C can't do anything about the validity of software patents.
   Then it should not implicity endorse their legitimacy by offering the
   RAND alternative. Far better solutions can be found in the two letters
   referred to earlier.

 - software patents *are* at the heart of this whole issue and therefore
   off-topic, IMO. Yes, I understand the W3C may not be able to do anything
   about them, but there are others on this list who can, and will take

> > It IS about the W3C commiting an act that is in direct contradiction
> > with its goals.
> That is a matter of opinion,

No, it is a matter of logic. Why do you keep denying this possibility?

> although since the PPF carefully does not
> express a preference for RF over RAND I can see how you would interpret
> it that way and how others would interpret it as a preference of W3C for
> RAND over RF.

Let me say this again: it is NOT about the *W3C* having a preference for
either form of licensing. It is about the *patent holder* preferring to go
RAND over RF for every trivial thing.

Thanks for replying. Let us hope the W3C agrees on a realistic solution
that addresses the real issues in a thorough manner.

Thanks and regards
Jason Antony 

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Received on Sunday, 7 October 2001 01:40:47 UTC

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