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

Use of `RAND' patents

From: D. Tweed <tweed@cs.bris.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 05:21:32 +0100 (BST)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.21.0110110500440.14530-100000@maxx>
I am a pretty much a general web _user_, and have no intention in the
forseeable future of writing any web access software, Free/Open Source/...
or otherwise. However, given the recent actions by Unisys regarding LZW
compression patent on the GIF format and the argument (made much more
eloquently by others' responses) that RAND patent licenses are either not
`not discriminatory' as far as the Free/Open Source/... developers are
concerned or are effectively the same as Royalty Free licenses, I would
like to voice my strong concern about allowing RAND patents in W3
standards. Not only do these seem to grant respectability to the current
system of extremely weakly granted software patents but they are also (in
my opinion) make it extremely likely that the web will in future have
areas which are no-go without closed source software. This concerns me
because (a) as a linux user I'm very aware that many companies do not see
linux ports as worthwhile, so stopping the possibility of Free/Open ...
implementations will likely stop me from using those areas of the web and
(b) given the significant number of closed source programs which
clandestinely change Windows Registry settings, open channels for sending
data back to their producers, etc I would be very wary of installing
closed source software even if it did exist for my platform.

I cannot pretend that I have looked into these issues in any significant
depth but unless the above reasoning is actually `wrong' (as opposed to
the response that `it's technically possible but you can trust the
benevolence of people that it won't happen') I'm throwing my support
behind the movement against allowing RAND patents in W3 standards.

Yours faithfully,
Dr D Tweed

PS: I don't like having to say this on an e-mail to an open organisation
but... You explicitly DO NOT have permission to archive my e-mail and use
it for blanket e-mailings by yourselves or for use as a saleable
commodity.

www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~tweed/pi.htm |tweed's law:  however many computers
email: tweed@cs.bris.ac.uk      |   you have, half your time is spent
work tel: (0117) 954-5250       |   waiting for compilations to finish.
Received on Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:23:54 GMT

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