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Comments for the 'field of use' restriction in Section 3, Item 3 of proposed W3C patents policy

From: Jason Lee <jason.lee@mac.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 08:09:13 -0500
Cc: wwwac@lists.wwwac.org, Jason Lee <jason.lee@mac.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <0EF3F47D-1CC1-11D7-B64F-000A9567688A@mac.com>

To: Patent policy working group
     World wide web consortium

From: Jason Lee <jason.lee@mac.com>
	 Netcreations, Inc.
	 Developer, dotGNU (Free Software Foundation)
	 355 W. 41st St., Apt 5FW
	 NY, NY 10036

Re: Section 3, Item 3 - field of use restriction

Hello, I am writing to add my comments to those that are calling for 
the removal of the 'field of use' restrictions wording from the 
proposed W3C patents policy.

As a developer of software that relies on the Internet to run, my 
livelihood depends on access to free and unrestrictive software. Day in 
and day out, as it has been for years, I rely on the Internet and the 
developers that work for and on it to provide me with free access to 
quality tools that I would not find elsewhere. These tools, besides 
being free, usually come with source code and are much more stable than 
their commercial counterparts.

However, the freedom to modify and redistribute software should not be 
just restricted to Internet related software. The W3C proposed patents 
policy would jeopardize any software that would be developed for any 
particular OS, yet incorporate 'compatible' protocols used by the 
Internet. This coupling will allow compatible protocols to be usurped 
by corporations looking to leverage their IP over the common good of 
the Internet itself.

For example, Company A, a very successful operating system company - 
the biggest in the world perhaps, could develop an in-house application 
that used a modified W3c protocol to allow connections only to and from 
its products. In time, as more and more users and companies used these 
products, it is quite feasible that Company A could do a few things:

1. Prevent compatible implementations of various protocols to access 
their proprietary applications
2. Use the 'advantage' gained by the sheer number of users and 
companies to then develop applications and protocols specifically for 
their platform, thusly, locking out any competition, innovation, or 
compatible protocols/products from being developed.

On the flip side, there would be opportunities for other companies to 
possibly do similar things to other available protocols and thus, 
irradiating the 'free' Internet as we know it today.

The Gnu Public License prevents this type of situation from happening. 
The GPL specifically mandates that all code developed under it can be 
used and modified and redistributed freely as long as the source is 
included with it. Companies may sell or give away their implementations 
- as long as they include the source code as well and do not restrict 
any other authors, companies, users, entities from doing the same.

In my opinion, this is what the Internet as a core infrastructure 
needs.  For a foundation that the rest of the world relies on, this 
model ensures that everyone, all people, all entities, will have fair 
and equal access to the life blood of what the Internet is today. I 
strongly urge the W3C patent policy group to consider this when they 
review Section 3, Item 3.

The Internet is the foundation on which my professional life rests on. 
In order for it to stay that way for me and so many others in the 
world, it is imperative that no one person controls or has advantage 
over another. We should all be allowed to compete freely based on our 
merits as contributors and not by how much influence we wield as patent 
holder and intellectual property rights holders. I urge the W3C to 
close the Section 3, Item 3 loophole by requiring that all software 
written for it employ GPL or equal licenses. This will guarantee that 
those pieces contributed will remain free and in the public domain for 
the public to benefit from now and in the future.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.
Sincerely,

Jason lee <jason.lee@mac.com>
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 07:48:14 GMT

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