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

RAND = W3C suicide

From: Xavi Drudis Ferran <xdrudis@tinet.org>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 13:02:03 +0200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20010930130203.A513@golem>
I'm sorry to have let the deadline for comments pass by, and 
having to rush a comment at the last moment. 

Luckly, more apt people than myself have already sent comments which 
I  share about the dangers of allowing patents to affect the standards 
on which the web relies. 

There is enough harm done by companies that embrace or extend standards, 
fail to fully comply with them or otherwise seek to undermine the standard
so that their products are the only ones usable. If companies would 
be allowed to use patents to exclude free software, or simply gratis 
software from competing with their products, the purpose of the W3C
would be unachievable, and it could as well dissolve. 

I guess the reason for the W3C to inflict such a pain upon itself 
is a perceived threat that otherwise big companies will cease cooperation
with W3C and stick to their own propietary and incompatible tricks. 
That would be a loss, because it is true that big companies have
contributed important material to web standards for the benefit of all. 
But even in that case I think free software has given enough proof that
it is able to sustain a free web and adhere bona fide to W3C standards, 
so that the W3C could continue their task to build this important 
infrastructure for human progress. 

Anyway, that scenario is not all that likely. Software patents are illegal
in Europe, and nobody I know of gives too much credit to them. That is, 
some are naive enough to file and get invalid patents, but few companies,
even those that file patents, 
care to make sure they don't infringe on patents, or to look who they should 
buy their licenses from. After all, software is not patentable by its own 
nature, and those countries who fail to think about it will sooner or later
have to face the contradictions they are getting into and exclude software 
from patentability in law.

Therefore, the perceived threats to the W3C are only myths spread by 
those who would like to own the internet and restrict other people's access
to knowledge for their own profit. As in many sects, believing their 
doctrine is the first step towards self delusion, and suicide. If the 
W3C believes them, and allows patents to stop anyone from freely adopting 
the W3Cs own standards, the W3C will only be commiting suicide and killing
the internet. Nobody will be able to fully excercise their freedom of speech 
and learning, and the W3C will loose all its credit. People will no longer 
study and implement W3C standards (let alone contribute to them) if they know 
they have to negotiate/pay to big companies, they're just take the companies 
propietary systems and adapt to them, skipping the W3C "middle man". 
Interoperability and communication among people will suffer, and this will 
probably be the worst step 10 years backwards in history. Never so much 
change had happened in such a little time, and never before such a big change
has been aborted so early.

Please, give live a second chance, don't desist in your task. Don't let 
the W3C kill itself.
    
-- 
Xavi Drudis Ferran
xdrudis@tinet.org
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 08:08:52 GMT

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