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

Comment on "reasonable and non-discriminatory" patent system

From: Ryan Myers <borisian@planetquake.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 15:53:19 -0700
Message-ID: <000701c14a02$b31b8600$0200a8c0@uller>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
I'm writing in to advise against the certification of commercially patented
formats as W3C spec.  I remember too well the .GIF revolt, where although
using GIFs on a webpage were free and perfectly spec, Unisys was charging
people left and right based on generating "illegal" GIFs using a
non-licensed piece of software - and the fact that Unisys' licensing terms
forced many pieces of free software out of play due to the exorbitant
licensing costs.  I remember threat letters being posted on Slashdot and
pages dedicated to the "Burn Your GIFs Campaign", changing to PNG as a new
format.  We've recently seen a similar exodus with Fraunhoffer driving
nearly all MP3 software to developers outside the US, and the increasing
number of people using and supporting the open Ogg Vorbis standard.

Patents are fine and well - but only when the companies that own them use
them responsibly, and the Internet has a well-earned reputation for bringing
out the worst in both people and money-hungry corporations, especially in
the recent economic climate where many internet-related companies are
charging anything or doing anything possible to stay afloat.

Please, keep W3C's existing policy of free, open formats only.  It keeps the
power of creation in the hands of the developers and the artists, rather
than the economists and the detached CEOs of corporations, and preserves the
free spirit of the Internet in a time recently threatened by post-terrorist

- Ryan Myers (borisian@planetquake.com)
- http://www.pointofnoreturn.org

I'd put my money where my mouth is, but my mouth keeps moving. -Larry Wall
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 18:52:57 UTC

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