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Patent Policy on web standards - my concerns

From: <simeon.morgan@ideas.com.au>
Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 12:39:56 +1000
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF86B24D58.B0FB182D-ON4A256ADF.000C58DA@ideas.com.au>
Dear reader,

I am writing to put forward my concerns with regard to use of RAND licensed
technologies in the web standards.

I believe that use of RAND technologies in web standards could have the
effect of pushing small providers (such as the average citizen with access
to a web server) from being able to provide web content to other users to
the fullest potential of the internet. I fear that using patented
technologies will have the long-term effect of causing small personal web
content to be limited in the technologies it uses while still conforming to
web standards, allowing only larger players (probably commercial entities)
to provide the full plethora of web services.

Also, with groups not centric on profit (such as universities,
not-for-profit organisations etc.) licensing of RAND technologies may not
be an efficient or viable option, preventing them (especially university
information technology departments) from providing the best public
information and resources possible.
At a time when universities in Australia are attempting to cost-cut, I feel
the added burden of RAND licensing could make education even more costly
and difficult when not only do the technologies being served require
licenses, but also additional licenses for those studying those
technologies running personal servers and similar in an attempt to futher
extend their knowledge.

Up till now, the internet has tended to remain by and large a blissfully
patent free environment, in so far as wherever there is a patented option
of technology, an equivalent non-patented technology generally exists that
may be used as an alternative.

On a side not, it is also possible that RAND licensed technologies could
end up being discriminatory if significant safeguards are not put in place.
For example, if a patented technology is used in a web standard can a
corporate entity be trusted to account for provision of that technology to
all available platforms?
In this way, unpatented and openly documented technologies have the
significant advantage that it puts the responsiblity for support under any
given system to the users of that system, and provides the basics they
would need to develop support for that system. It also provides the ability
for competition in provision of the technologies, ideally allowing for
improvement and optimisation of the software supporting the technology over
time.

For these reasons, I urge the w3c not to permit RAND technologies, nor any
other patented technologies, to seep into web standards.
Thank you for your time and attention.

Simeon Morgan
Software Developer
IDEAS! eCentre
Melbourne, Australia
Received on Sunday, 7 October 2001 22:42:41 GMT

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