W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > April 2003

Internet standards must reject field-of-use restrictions

From: Ben Finney <bignose@zip.com.au>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 15:09:57 +1000
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20030422050957.GB6205@zip.com.au>


The World Wide Web was created with free software, and the vast majority
of implementations of World Wide Web standards are embodied in free

For the W3C to choose a patent policy that allows its standards
recommendations to be encumbered by field-of-use restrictions is to
choose to disadvantage all free software licensed under a copyleft
license (such as the GNU GPL).

Any such software cannot incorporate a patented technology with
field-of-use restrictions; therefore, if ever such a standards
recommendation is made by the W3C, it will never be implemented in a
great deal of existing and future software.

In such a circumstance, the only reasonable option would be for
copylefted software to implement *different* technology, not covered by
restrictive patents.  In other words, to avoid use of W3C standards
recommendations and to promote alternative standards, undermining the
very purpose for which the W3C exists.

The W3C has a choice: to allow such a harmful fracture of the Web
standards landscape, or to prevent it now by firmly declaring that all
its standards will be implementable *without* field-of-use restrictions.

I join the voices of countless others who urge you to choose the path of
standards openness, that until recently you have represented so

 \         "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all |
  `\    others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking |
_o__)                       power called an idea"  -- Thomas Jefferson |
bignose@zip.com.au  F'print 9CFE12B0 791A4267 887F520C B7AC2E51 BD41714B
Received on Tuesday, 22 April 2003 01:10:02 UTC

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