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

WWW Patent Policy makes same mistake as dead dot-coms

From: Joseph Wang <joe@gnacademy.tzo.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 12:59:17 -0500 (CDT)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
cc: officers@lists.gnacademy.org, <board@lists.gnacademy.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.40.0110101256430.23712-100000@confucius.gnacademy.org>
WWW Patent Policy makes same mistake as dead dot-coms

I am speaking on behalf of the Globewide Network Academy,
http://www.gnacademy.org/.  We maintain an open source distance
learning directory and help develop open source tools to harvest and
display our data.

I would like to register our strong opposition to allowing the use of
non-royalty-free licensing in W3 standards.  In addition to the
excellent reasons that others have presented against these standards,
let me present another one.

The world is currently dealing with the aftermath of the dot-com crash.
Much of the reason for the bubble was the fallacy that the web was
primarily a tool to make money and the notion that big is beautiful.
Although it is proper to see the web from a commercial perspective,
it is wrong that this be the *only* perspective by which to look at
the web.  Furthermore, much of the vitality of the web results from
the fact that it reduces the barriers to communication and therefore
allows small organizations and individuals without large financial
means to interact and create complex social systems.

The RAND proposal falls into both fallacies.  By looking at the web
solely from a commericial standpoint, it ignores the interests of
non-profits, academia, and individual users of the web.  By increasing
the barriers to entry, this proposal systematically discriminates against
small organizations such as us who have little or no funding.  It also
legitimizes software patents which also is against our interests as we
do not have the funding to patent any new ideas we come up with.

The beauty of the web is that you can cheaply and efficiently combine
large numbers of people and technologies to create something new.  Even
if the fees for RAND were small, the very act of keeping track of who
is owed what would move the web away from many small players and
organizations massive collaborating on the net to a few large players.
This would limit the potentials of the web.  It would discriminate against
people who have little or no commercial interest on the web and move
power toward people who do.

The W3C has a decision to make.  It needs to decide if it wants to
remain relevant to the web.  The comments against this proposal are
so overwhelmingly negative, that should it be adopted, that it will be
clear that the W3C does not consider the viewpoints of the general
internet community.  As such, if the W3C adopts this proposal, it
will find itself without the support of this community and will as
a consequence lose all relevance.

Yours truly,

Joseph Wang
Globewide Network Academy

Joseph Wang Ph.D.          Globewide Network Academy
president@gnacademy.org    FREE Distance Education catalog database
http://www.gnacademy.org   Over 20,000 courses and degrees
Received on Wednesday, 10 October 2001 14:00:08 UTC

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