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Patent Policy Comment / Objecting to RAND

From: <psevetson@netscape.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 15:30:21 -0400
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <1B673A92.6168F94B.03439BAF@netscape.net>
World Wide Web Consortium
Patent Policy Working Group

Dear Sirs,

I am concerned about the current Patent Policy Framework draft.  As proposed, this would allow Consortium members and possibly others to charge royalty fees for technologies included in Web standards. 

The inclusion of a "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND) licensing option will surely create barriers to entry of individual creators and small groups, historically the source of many of the Internet's greatest advances.  This pay-to-enter concept is a wonderful, very capitalist concept, if you are a patentholder... but is another impedance to the free flow of much information and commentary for the great mass of Internet users.

Let such concepts be relegated to a second-tier, private architecture for the entities willing to pay for it.  As it stands, it amounts to an effort to erect toll gates on a beaches/sidewalks/highways built by volunteer labor, and is repugnant because of its ****parasitic!!!!**** implications for the information society as a whole... a possible implication/extension of the rule would lead to a charge for every use of certain facilities, e.g. to the inability of any entity except the patent-holders to offer free email if a patented process becomes part of the email standard (e.g. adopting RSA's encrpytion protocols for private email)!!!

I believe that the _exclusive_ use of a "royalty-free" (RF) licensing model is in the best interests of the Internet community and our families, neighbors, and larger communities, and that RAND licensing would necessarily exclude low-end implementors, effectively eliminating low-cost software for the Web and discouraging many potential Web-users.

The Consortium has always provided open-source reference implementations. It has worked to promote a wide variety of interoperable implementations of its open standards. The W3C can best continue its work of "leading the Web to its full potential" by continuing this tradition, and saying no to RAND licensing. 


Philip L. Sevetson
142 Timber Trail
East Hartford, CT 06118-3560
(860) 568-7655

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Received on Wednesday, 10 October 2001 15:30:57 UTC

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