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W3C Patent Policy Feedback

From: Jason Bechtel <jasonbechtel@care2.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 08:42:05 +0000
Message-Id: <A6E0DF48465F8C0469BC8D22F077FB5E@jasonbechtel.care2.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Dear W3C Members and Interested Parties,

The proposed policy, as it currently stands,
permits W3C members participating in W3 technical
working groups to commit their patent claims
"royalty-free" for use by implementers of web
standards, but with "field of use" restrictions
that would be incompatible with section 7 of the
GNU General Public License. Such "field of use"
restrictions, in other words, would prevent
implementation of W3C standards as Free Software.

Obviously, the GPL is only one license, but it is
the archetype of free software licenses and more
free software is licensed under the GPL than
under any other license.  It's popularity in the
realm of open standards belies its strength and
importance to the community.  Any policy that
weakens or shackles the GPL would be a threat to
the freedom of the community.

Specifically, Item 3 of Section 3 allows these
"field of use" restrictions, and must be changed
before the proposed policy goes forward.  These
restrictions are not a minor imperfection, but
rather and direct stab at the heart of free
software.  "Field of use" brings into the
argument the idea of patenting of ideas, not
implementations.  To patent the idea of a
standard and then restrict a free implementation
of that idea to one particular use punishes the
community for ingenuity, innovation, and
creativity.  It binds the creative developers who
are building the tools of the future and hinders
progress.

Please reword this Item to ban "field of use"
restrictions on W3C open standards.

Thank you,
Jason M. Bechtel



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Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 09:52:49 GMT

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