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

Royalty bound patents in web standards

From: Steve Ball <steve@smtnet.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 20:34:17 +0100
Message-ID: <3BB773B9.1030706@smtnet.co.uk>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
The work of Tim Berners-Lee and the W3C have been vitally important in 
the development of Internet standards that allow web browsers from many 
vendors to access web sites running on many vendors web server software. 
This is because the core web standards have been clearly defined and 
presented with a requirement that they can be used without the need to 
pay 'reasonable' royalties that are likely to run into $1,000's. This 
freedom allowed non profit organisations such as the Apache group to 
become the software behind most Internet web sites.

If the policy of the W3C changes to allow members to create standards 
that require developers to pay royalties then this will kill all Open 
Source Free Software projects such as the Apache project (the web server 
behind 60% of Internet web sites), and Mozilla, the only viable choice 
of web browser in a Microsoft dominated world.

Free (as in beer) projects have no per copy revenue from which pay per 
copy license fees.

In a world where license fees are payable for standards based web 
servers and web browsers there will only be one player.. Microsoft. When 
Microsoft have a monopoly of web servers and web browsers they will not 
need the W3C!

I believe that this is a very stupid decision for the W3C and for the 
Internet as a whole, since it will take away the choise of consumers or 
at the very least dilute the importance of W3C standards since Apache 
and Mozilla will not be able to charge license fees, so will have the 
choice of shutting up shop, or ignoring the patented W3C standards. I 
suspect they will simply ignor any patented 'standards' and create 
unencumbered alternatives.

If the W3C maintains its current RF policy then the Internet can avoid 
the fragmentation that plagued Unix for many years and can avoid the 
Internet turning into a proprietary network, running Microsoft standards.

Steve Ball

SMT Network Solutions Ltd
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 15:36:07 UTC

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