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

Proposed new RAND Policy

From: Russ Magee <rmagee@home.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 20:33:59 +0100
Message-ID: <3BB773A7.8090803@home.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Dear Sirs,

As a developer it greatly concerns me that the W3C is considering allowing
for-royalty, patented algorithms/protocols into the W3C standards process.
I feel this be detrimental to the further development of the Internet,
as a whole, for the following reasons:

1) Compatibility. If a patented process is used, and organizations do not
   wish to license said process for some reason, an incompatible alternative
   to that process will likely arise; we already have too many 'standards
   wars' between competing organizations in the world of software.

2) Free Software. Despite the reassuring words 'non-discriminatory
    licensing' mentioned in the RAND policy, who is to decide what, exactly,
    is a fair price? A fee of $5000 USD for a license to an algorithm,
    charged to everyone who wished to use it, would qualify as non-
    discriminatory; yet it would most certainly freeze out any developer
    who was writing a program as Open Source/Free Software. This policy
    could be used by certain motivated parties as a means to make it
    effectively intractable to develop W3C standard-compliant software
    without being backed by a large corporate body. This goes against
    the established principles of the Internet which have served all of
    us so well until today -- that of free, open standards encouraging
    cross-platform interoperability.

   It is my sincere hope that the W3C consider either of the following:

1) Discard the RAND clause completely, retaining the current view (as I
   understand it to be) that all patented, for-fee processes are NOT
   valid for consideration as W3C standards; or

2) The clause be modified to state that not-for-profit, Free Software or
   Open Source organizations, as well as individuals not working on behalf
   of any commercial entity must be exempted from any patent license fees
   for using W3C standards; and that any commercial entity submitting a
   patented process for W3C standards consideration agree to these terms.

Russ Magee,

Instructional Assistant/Systems Administrator,
Mount Royal College,
Calgary, Canada
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 22:34:36 UTC

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