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

RAND Licensing

From: Tres <class5@pacbell.net>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 05:17:28 -0800
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-id: <3DDCDCE8.7060008@pacbell.net>

I support your decision to not allow RAND licensing and thank you for 
it.  Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory is a piece of M$ FUD!  This type 
of license is extremely discriminatory to the one true competitor of 
Microsoft and other corporations that would like to have total control 
of the flow of information over the Internet.  Free(dom) software has to 
have its freedoms intact for it to continue to be free($) and more 
importantly for the developers to have the freedom necessary to 
implement any and all of the W3C's web standards.  The price arena is 
important as any license fee would render the final product unfree 
financially speaking and more importantly strip the important freedoms 
from it:  distribution, copying, modifying, etc..

The price arena is not the only one that matters though.  If M$, or any 
other company, wants to hinder the ability of an open group of 
developers to get together and develop an application that uses a 
standard way of communicating on the Internet (the WWW or any other 
protocol) the imposition of ANY kind of fee, royalty, or surcharge would 
work fataly well.  Right now the development model is:

1) Write up a cool new piece of software.

2) Announce -- "Hey check out what I wrote!"

3) Distribute -- Post it on your box, mail it out, post it to a news 
group, etc..

4) Ask for feedback -- Receive mailed files, links to other people's 
boxen, read the news, etc..

5) More Programming.

6) Goto step 2.

Right now the most important steps are 2, 3, and 4; these are the steps 
that differentiate the open and free methods of doing things from the 
closed and proprietary.  If a licensing scheme was ever implemented a 
fee would not be the only onerous provision that could be put in the 
'reasonable' license that would destroy the ability to legally perform 
steps 3 and 4.

If the license fee was only $0.00 but it contained a requirement that 
the number of copies distributed be tracked.  People would be reluctant 
to turn over weblogs showing distribution, news groups couldn't be 
tracked, and should people's email be logged to see if they sent a copy 
to whoever.  Now consider the need for those first level receipiants to 
pass the code along.  Who should they report the usage to?  Most of the 
developers that would be contributing to a project in this open fashion 
place a high value on thier privacy and their rights.  They would be 
reluctant to provide any information at all.  What if it not only 
required the number distributed to be tracked but:

-	All users to register possibly requiring the completion of a lengthy 
-	Required registered users to relinquish all current, possible, and 
future legal claims against the company.
-	Grant the original rights holder the right insert spam into his 
protocol that you are using.
-	Force users and distributors to relinquish any of their rights to any 
other IP that may be used in the same application as that patented standard.
-	Allows for the license to change without notice at any time in the future.

I applaude your decision to keep all of your standards friendly to free 
and open software. I think providing an example implementation of all of 
your standards would also be a great example to set for the other 
standards setting organizations out there.  Getting more sites to use 
you as a brand would also be excellent.  Imagine if companies attached a 
logo the said "Best if viewed with a W3C compliant web browser. This 
site is Version x.y compatible" instead of the Explorer and Navigator 
tabs that are at the bottom of many web pages.  You could provide a bot 
or spider to crawl their website and check for compliance and require 
its usage as a condition of putting your logo at the bottom of a page.

Again -- thank you for your integrity in this matter.

Tres Melton
Received on Friday, 22 November 2002 09:10:04 UTC

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