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

Re: Is there a way out?

From: <dank@kegel.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:25:25 -0700
Message-ID: <3D407AD5.408C2652@kegel.com>
To: "Gary Lea (by way of Susan Lesch)" <G.R.Lea@btinternet.com>
CC: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

"Gary Lea" wrote:
> In the particular context of W3C's work and history, I can really understand
> why people are upset about any possible move away from RF and towards RAND
> licensing ...

Good, glad you understand where we're coming from.

> but you have to bear in mind the broader context i.e. that many
> international and national technical standards organizations have already
> had to permit some variant on this option for many years (e.g. ANSI, ITU,
> etc., etc.) just in order to survive in the face of the growth of
> consortia/trade association/industry association-based standards development
> bodies. ...
> At the end of the day, be clear about what is at stake here: if a decent
> compromise is not found between public and private interests, W3C could be
> bypassed by private sector standards developers and just left to wither on
> the vine. It deserves better than that.

The W3C is already being bypassed; Macromedia Flash is a proprietary, closed
standard defined by code from Macromedia (see 
http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/licensing/fileformat/ ).
Think Macromedia would have gone through the W3C if the W3C was more
friendly to closed-source proprietary formats?  Maybe.

The question is, do you want to save the W3C by encouraging closed-source,
proprietary formats like Flash, or formats (like MP3 or perhaps JPG)
that require royalty payments?

Given that a free alternative is *always* possible, I'd say "no".  
We owe it to the user community to hold out for free standards.

The alternative is to cave in and become a tool of big corporations
whose only interest is in extracting cash from consumers.

I guess the question is: is the W3C there for the users, or there
for the patent holders?
- Dan

- Dan
Received on Thursday, 25 July 2002 18:21:52 UTC

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