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Against Item 3 of Section 3 of the proposed Policy on Patents

From: Jay Sulzberger <jays@panix.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2003 13:05:40 -0500 (EST)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: Jay Sulzberger <jays@panix.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.51.0301031250170.27280@panix2.panix.com>

Dear Patent Policy Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium,

The buggy Item 3 of Section 3 of the proposed W3C Policy on Patents allows
for patent encumbrances of standards-compliant software.  Up to now, the
W3C has not allowed such encumbrances.  Up to now the Web has been built
with un-encumbered software.  Up to now those pushing for encumbrances have
lost in the market for web servers and have lost in any free market for web
clients.  If the buggy policy document is adopted a special advantage will
be granted to patent holders, which means, in the main, large companies and
cartels.  These large companies and cartels did not build the Net, we did
and we did it using un-encumbered software.  There is no reason to grant
these companies and cartels special privileges.  It is known that any
patent encumbrance is effective at stopping commercial and often
non-commercial development and use of encumbered software.  A patent
encumbrance need not be plain and direct to do such damage; an indirect,
obscure, and uncertain threat of patent encumbrance is usually equally
effective.  Patent encumbrances can only decrease inter-operability and
increase the barrier to entry in the market for software.

The World Wide Web Consortium has at this juncture a chance to act in the
interest of all, rather than in the imagined self-interest of a small and
economically unimportant group of special interests.  I say "small and
economically unimportant" because they are.  They are a few companies whose
combined capital is much less than the wealth of the billion people who
make use of the Web for their own private, business, and public purposes.
Of this billion, a negligible number would vote to have the Web less
competitive, less efficient, and less free than it is today.  That means
that the real stakeholders, the people of the world, are overwhelmingly
against adoption of Item 3 of Section 3 of the proposed Policy on Patents.

Jay Sulzberger

For purposes of identification only:

I am the Corresponding Secretary of LXNY,
New York's Free Computing Organization.
Received on Friday, 3 January 2003 13:12:47 UTC

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