W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > July 2002

Re: [fsl-discuss] W3C BACK to "RAND" Exception?

From: by way of Susan Lesch <tompoe@renonevada.net>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 22:35:53 -0700
Message-Id: <p05111b14b95177351c03@[]>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

[Moderator note: This email was sent To: Seth Johnson
<seth.johnson@RealMeasures.dyndns.org> and cc'd to
www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org, djweitzner@w3.org,
fairuse-discuss@mrbrklyn.com, patents@aful.org, fsl-discuss@alt.org,
developers@dotgnu.org, lists@consulting.net.nz]

Hi: To those who are in active dialogue with W3C Patent Policy 
Working Group, I say, keep going, and don't let up!

The line in the sand needed to be drawn a long time ago. It's a very 
bright line, from where I sit. Below, is a sample of the attitude of 
the W3C members:
On Tue, 11 Jun 2002, tom poe wrote:
>  Hi, Dean:  What is the status of SVG at this time?  Is it encumbered by
>  patents?

Hi Tom,
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: Yes, there are patents, but they are available on
royalty-free terms (as long as you don't sue the patent holders for
infringing your patents).
Is this enough detail?

Every single one of the W3C employees are terribly concerned that any 
ethical behavior on their part, will result in unemployment. Thus, we 
have a corporate-sponsored set of standards being promulgated by 
special interests that are acting as nothing less than a cartel.

The line is clear, worldwide standards, unencumbered by patents, or 
no worldwide standards. Easy. Clear. Without conflict. Those who 
don't speak up, waive their rights to patents, period. The burden is 
on the wrong side of the fence. Throw it back over in the garbage 
dump where it belongs.

The authority for such a position lies with the power of the W3C to 
step in front of the judge and display its' Charter.

Tom Poe
Reno, NV

Seth Johnson wrote:
>In October of last year, Daniel Weitzner, Chair of the W3C's
>Patent Policy Working Group, was presented with numerous,
>specific and crucial questions and comments which had been
>raised by the act of considering a W3C policy supporting
>royalty licensed and patented protocols for the World Wide
>At that time, the W3C received a profound, broad expression
>of popular support for their not undertaking this direction,
>despite the pressure being brought on the organizations from
>parties seeking to get W3C endorsement for royalty-based
>The issue is returning once again, by means of back door
>"exception" proposals.
>The important question has now become: who is encouraging
>the W3C and its PPWG to introduce these provisions.  Let
>these parties explain why they feel this move is of benefit
>to the W3C, and to the public at large.
>This is a question that cannot be addressed without such a
>disclosure and presentation on the part of those seeking to
>benefit from the institution of such a policy by a body such
>as the W3C.
>Seth Johnson
>From: Adam Warner <lists@consulting.net.nz>
>To: "Daniel J. Weitzner" <djweitzner@w3.org>
>Cc: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
>Date: 02 Oct 2001 23:39:54 +1200
>On Tue, 2001-10-02 at 18:15, Daniel J. Weitzner wrote:
>>Hello Adam,
>>You've take a lot of time to provide you're views on
>>our patent policy proposal, so I hope you can spare a
>>bit more to reply to my questions.
>I appreciate the opportunity.
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Adam Warner" <lists@consulting.net.nz>
>>Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2001 12:49 AM
>>>Hi all,
>>>Having read through:
>>>"The draft policy does attempt to answer this question:
>>>In a world where patents exist and may be used to
>>>constrain conformance to standards, how should W3C best
>>>proceed in order to accomplish its mission? Even if a
>>>patent holder claims that a patent is relevant to a W3C
>>>Recommendation and that party offers a license, this
>>>does not mean that W3C (or anyone else) shares the
>>>belief that the claim is valid, or that an implementer
>>>has infringed upon it."
>>>Thanks for asking and answering the wrong question.
>>Perhaps there were other questions we should have
>>answered as well, but W3C recent experience with patents
>>established that we needed to answer this one.
>Yes, of course :-)
>>>In this respect what I originally wrote still
>>>"What isn't clear is that the appropriate
>>>response is for the W3C to condone RAND licensing
>>>terms and to actively promote non-free licenses."
>>>What I meant by that is obvious: If the W3C
>>>agrees to a Recommendation that includes RAND
>>>fees/restrictions and the official W3C logo/body
>>>is used to promote that Recommendation it can't
>>>help but promote those non-free licensing terms
>>>as well (for incorporation into our future WWW).
>>>What we need from the W3C are some well reasoned
>>>examples for why RAND licensing terms are
>>>necessary for the future functioning of the W3C
>>>and for the BENEFIT OF THE WWW (that's the
>>>overriding criterion of everyone here after all).
>>>So we can all nod our heads and go "Yeah, that
>>>makes sense."
>>I believe that we've already provided two sets of
>>answers to this question in the policy.
>Daniel as the Director of the W3C's Technology and Society
>division I understand you are more than qualified to address
>issues of Internet public policy. Please point out any areas
>of my ignorance so we can overcome those issues quickly.
>As you are also a teacher of Internet public policy I hope
>you will be able to provide some hypothetical situations
>that we can discuss--where RAND licensing is necessary--in
>more than abstract terms.
>>First is a set of general observations about how
>>the patent environemnt around Web standards has
>>changed including a number of situations in which
>>W3C working groups have already run into patents
>>not available on Royalty-free terms
>OK. This is concrete. We have hit a philosophical divide.
>Those who are looking to maintain free Internet standards
>will want the W3C to stop at this point and make one of,
>say, three decisions: work around the patent; lobby hard to
>get the respective company to provide the technology on RF
>terms (especially if the patent is held by a member
>organisation); or disband for the time being and if relevant
>(i.e. it is widely concluded the patent is specious) call
>upon the Internet community to challenge the patent.
>>and convergence between the Web and the telecom &
>>consumer electronic industries. As you know, those
>>industries and their standards bodies work in a
>>patent-intensive environment. (see section 2.1
>>Larger Role of Patents on the Web Landscape [1] for
>(Following URI [1]
>Why does convergence have to go the way of RAND licensing?
>OK it's pretty much guaranteed it will happen if the W3C
>adopts RAND licensing as a viable, sanctioned option.
>But what if the W3C is the standards body that upholds the
>RF rights of its members and the wider community? As these
>other technologies converge towards free Internet standards
>perhaps they will have to adapt to a free Internet rather
>than the other way around.
>And if the W3C is not willing to draw this line in the sand,
>what will stop another organisation with an invigorated
>moral mandate drawing that line in the sand themselves and
>others moving to support them?
>The free Internet is too wonderful an ideal to give up so
>easily. The only reason we are having a conversation now is
>because of free Internet standards enabling me to be an
>independent publisher at extremely low cost. As media
>industries converge towards the WWW they will desire to
>increase the cost of independent publishing. W3C sanctioned
>RAND licenses will help to achieve that objective.
>"2.Rise in patent issuance."
>Which can be dealt with by the grant of RF licenses by W3C
>Is the W3C concerned that they will lose their member base
>if they do not allow RAND licensing? (NB: Is there somewhere
>I can view individual member contributions to the W3C?)
>"3.Experience of Internet-related standards bodies: A number
>of standards bodies including W3C, IETF, the WAP Forum, and
>others, have encountered potential barriers to acceptance of
>standards because of licensing requirements perceived as
>That's how many people view reasonable and
>non-discriminatory fees and audit requirements, especially
>those who are accustomed to the free standards and software
>of the Internet.
>"4.Popularity of business method patents: Beginning with the
>State Street decision in the United States and continuing
>through high-profile litigation between Amazon.com and
>Barnesandnoble.com, business method patents have become
>increasingly significant factor in the ecommerce
>I'm a New Zealander. How much sympathy do you think I have
>for United States business method patents? But regardless,
>what has this to do with RAND licensing? If Amazon.com (to
>quote your example) wants to work with the W3C to promote a
>Recommendation then I'd sure hope they'd generously provide
>an RF license to (say) their single-click patent. And I'd
>also hope the W3C would never dream of incorporating it on
>more than RF terms.
>The W3C's arguments are weak. They are not sufficient to
>displace the history of free licensing that has made the
>Internet what it is today.
>We also see no analysis of how RAND licencing may affect
>different sectors of the Internet community, especially
>those in the free software community.
>What's strange about the Patent Policy FAQ? It contains
>three sections on implications: "Member Implications,"
>"Working Group Implications" and "Legal Implications."
>Here's a guess for why this policy change was off people's
>radar (apart from the terrorism of last month): You
>completely forgot to study "Internet Community
>Implications." I bet, for example, that if the FAQ had
>mentioned this could affect the free software community
>someone would have spotted it before me (please point out
>where it does if I've missed it).
>Secondly, where is the rigorous economic analysis of the
>benefits to the community you serve of RAND-style licensing?
>And by the way that economic analysis should include
>investigation of how the dynamics of standard setting will
>change within the W3C because of some members' preference
>for RAND-style licensing. I'm not the one who wrote this:
>'From a licensor perspective, everyone would prefer the
>comfortable choice of a "RAND commitment" (which need not
>identify particular licensing fees or terms).'
>It's your PP FAQ:
>That economic analysis should be made public to allow
>independent comment.
>>This first set if answers points more to trends than
>>concrete situations, so the policy offers the second
>>set of answers by creating a process which requires
>>that just the question pose be answered when we
>>create an activity.
>>Section 5.1 of the policy requires that:
>>"Activity proposals and/or draft charters proposing
>>licensing modes must state clear reasons for
>>selection of the licensing mode proposed. Members
>>commenting on these proposals during the Advisory
>>Committee review process should state reasons for
>>their views on the appropriate licensing mode given
>>the specifics of the Activity, relevant market,
>>along with any other factors." [2]
>>With this, I believe we have assumed the burden of
>>answering the question of the wisdom of RAND or RF
>>for each activity that we start.
>"Trust us, we know what we're doing." The answers above are
>more concrete than this.
>What "relevant market[s]" are we talking about? If the W3C
>envisages these markets may not provide for free WWW
>participation you better let us know now.
>>The question will be asked an answered again by
>>the entire development community when they go to
>>implement a specification created in either a RAND
>>or RF group (I expect that many will refuse to
>>implement specs they believe to be chartered in the
>>wrong mode) and each time a Working Group published
>>a public working draft (every 3 months) for public
>>comment. W3C certainly may make the wrong decision
>>in some cases, but I'm confident that we'll heard
>>about it and hope that we'll learn lessons about
>>how to make these choices.
>Well a power struggle is going on here because I'd rather
>the W3C not have the ability to make the "wrong" (RAND
>track) choice. But that's because of my preference for free
>Perhaps you could point out the constituency that wants RAND
>licensing. Let them put their hands up and be counted (a few
>of them already have, in this comment archive and by their
>unwillingness to provide the W3C with licenses on RF-terms).
>The W3C is trying to serve two masters. I can understand how
>difficult that is.
>I have just spent some time trying to come up with some
>really elaborate examples of how a higher-level service can
>become a lower-level one over time (since this would refute
>your theoretical underpinning for RAND: "Recommendations
>addressing higher-level services may be appropriate for
>licensing on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND)
>But then I see Ron Arts has just given a beautifully
>succinct example:
>"Another problem is the low/high level separation. If you
>look at the history you will notice that what currently is
>high-level, can in a few years be seen as low-level (for
>example: HTTP used to be high level but is now included in
>the linux kernel). Accepting a high-level standard under
>RAND may sound reasonable, but will result in a few years in
>a low-level standard under RAND."
>We could imagine that media services might become a part of
>kernel operations in the future as well. What is your
>comment on this phenomenon?
>I can't remember the author/post but someone also brought up
>the very important point that high level services may also
>need to be processed at a lower level (for example by
>converting it into another format). So even if encoding
>ability was free and decoding ability was intended for, say,
>consumer electronics devices (where the W3C also believes
>convergence in this area may justify RAND licensing) it
>would impact upon the server infrastructure as well.
>I look forward to reading your comments on this matter and I
>also invite others to respond to our respective comments.

Hollywood's BPDG Group ?!?
	Never heard of them. What did they do in technology
except manage to put on their tie without accidentaly killing
themselves ?!?
[ modified quote from  dm@zensunni.demon.nl ]
Received on Wednesday, 10 July 2002 01:35:57 UTC

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