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


From: Kevin B. McCarty <kmccarty@Princeton.EDU>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 16:20:39 -0400 (EDT)
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0109301600100.19209-100000@fedora.Princeton.EDU>
Dear W3C:

I would like to thank you for your role in the standardization and growth
of the open WWW thus far.  Please be aware that my vehemence is directed
solely at this recently proposed Patent Policy.

It should be clear from the mailing list archives that the vast majority
of people responding are against it.  Why?  Your definition of a Reasonable
And Non-Discriminatory license says that it "may be conditioned on payment
of reasonable, non-discriminatory royalties or fees."  This is meaningless
and tautological without a better specification of "reasonable" and

Many (I would guess most) of the individuals who publish on the WWW do so
for their own satisfaction (personal web pages), for sharing their work
with others (e.g. authors of Free Software), for allowing the distribution
of information (universities), or for charitable reasons (e.g. the Red
Cross).  These individuals cannot afford any licensing scheme which would
be easily within the reach of the corporations who appear to have bought
themselves seats on the Patent Policy Working Group.  (Where are the
representatives from the Internet community on this working group??  The
FAQ gave only a list of corporations.)  As at least one other person has
pointed out, the only licensing policies which would be non-discriminatory
to these members of the community are 1) royalty-free, or 2) fee is a
fixed percentage of the profits.

I urge you to revoke this proposed patent policy.  The only truly open
standards are free ones (in both senses of the word "free") which should
be driven by the desires of everyone using the WWW, not just a few large
companies hoping to make more money.  The WWW has developed so much with
the previous royalty-free standard that changing it now would be an act of
sheer idiocy.

Kevin McCarty
(writing for myself, not for my institution)
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 16:20:41 UTC

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