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re[2]: The Open Source Initiative OSI letter of comment on W3C's proposed RAND policy.

From: Jonathan Eisenzopf <eisen@ferrumgroup.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 10:22:50 -0500 (EST)
To: "Brett Serkez, Techie" <techie@serkez.net>, <eburger@snowshore.com>, <vxi-discuss@metronomicon.com>, <www-voice@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E164koJ-000697-00@smtp10.atl.mindspring.net>
This was also an issue with VoiceXML 1. At least the W3C is dealing with the issue. Personally, I'd be very surprised if the corporate contributors would be willing to hand over their IP, whose development came at a cost in $$$ and cents unless they could be certain that doing so would present a more profitable return in the future. Remember, corporations were formed to make money and they have a responsibility to their stockholders to guard the corporation's interests. Until all parties come to the conclusion that a free grant of license of their IP is the right business decision, we won't see things budge. If the W3C requires contributors to grant free license to any IP that might be contributed, then future open innovation could suffer as commercial entities pull out of the W3C and form their own groups and proprietary standards. Of course, what most of us want is free access to any and all IP that is associated with any specification or standard that we use, but unfortunat!
ely, this idea does not currently align with how corporations deal with these matters. It seems to me that the solution to this problem is up to the business and legal departments of each of the representative companies to resolve internally and with each other so that no one feels as though they're losing something of value or have lost something to a potential competitor. I hope that the W3C, its members, and the development community can work out an arrangement that will protect everyone's interests and that it can be done without knee jerk rhetoric that provides criticism without recommendations for resolving the problem. I'm also happy that the W3C is dealing with this issue now rather than later. While Eric Raymond's proposed change is well though out, it does fly in the face of commercial interest and probably won't be tolerating in a time when corporations control the Internet instead of universities and research institutions.

 >>  Eric,

 >>  > Am I a proponent of RAND?  No.  I was one of only three AC Reps that
 >>  voted
 >>  > against RAND.  However, arguments such as the one below does not help
 >>  the
 >>  > cause.

 >>  I really appreciate you voted against RAND as it stands today.  I am
 >>  encouraged
 >>  that there is finally opportunity of a rational debate on an open forum.

 >>  > This is insane!  Saying that I, as a holder of intellectual property,
 >>  lose
 >>  > my rights because *you* decided to give away *your* code is nonsensical.
 >>  >
 >>  > How about this: I decide to let people live in my house for free;
 >>  therefore,
 >>  > you must give away your house.

 >>  How would you feel if as the builder of houses you couldn't sell your
 >>  houses
 >>  if they were not built to conform to a given standard and oh by the way
 >>  the
 >>  owners of IP in that standard would determine how much you need to pay
 >>  them after the fact?  After the house building community worked in good
 >>  faith
 >>  on the standard in the belief that it would benefit all, and allow
 >>  competition
 >>  on the basis of who could do the best job building houses?

 >>  From the best that I can tell, people are contributing to VoiceXML and
 >>  using
 >>  it to build tools and products without the owners of IP yet telling them
 >>  how
 >>  much they are going to owe them until after they are done and commited.
 >>  To me, this is insane, it is an issue that should be resolved before going
 >>  forward.

 >>  If a 'standard' is being created, especially by a body such as the W3C
 >>  that
 >>  was
 >>  founded on freely implementable standards which have produced the wealth
 >>  and
 >>  opportunity of the internet for all, it either should not contain IP or if
 >>  the standard
 >>  is used in an open source implementation, the IP should be in the public
 >>  domain.
 >>  I don't believe that anybody is questioning the payment of reasonable
 >>  royalties
 >>  (which needs to be defined) when the standard is used in a for profit
 >>  product.

 >>  Public domain products and for profit products compete daily in our market
 >>  place.  Isn't the point of standards to create a level playing field, to
 >>  create
 >>  a method for customers to judge products against a standard?  To create a
 >>  foundation to build the next level of infrastructure?  To advance the
 >>  state
 >>  of the art and create a foundation were better quality products are
 >>  produced
 >>  based on competition?  Open source hasn't taken away the ability to make
 >>  a profit or competition, infact I'd argue that it has created a larger
 >>  market
 >>  for all and created tremendous opportunity.

 >>  I would contend that if a holder of IP isn't willing to allow their IP to
 >>  be
 >>  in the public domain for open source projects, their IP shouldn't be in
 >>  the
 >>  standard.  If this means there isn't a standard, then so be it.  If a
 >>  standard
 >>  is successful, the IP holder would likely realize a benefit as the overall
 >>  market would grow as would their share of it.  Enforcing an IP is nothing
 >>  more than inhibiting competion, based on the fear that the holder cannot
 >>  compete on a level playing field.

 >>  It basically comes down to this.  The holders of IP need to determine if
 >>  they
 >>  are better off maintaining control of their IP and charging for it or
 >>  contributing
 >>  it to the community to be used in standards and open source projects to
 >>  grow
 >>  and enhance the over market and their potential share of the larger
 >>  market.
 >>  The creators of standards such at the W3C need to be firm and only create
 >>  standards that benefit all, that allow the market to be enhanced.   This
 >>  is
 >>  the
 >>  basis on which the internet grown and flourished, an open community with
 >>  open standards, where people and companies are free to compete on ability.

 >>  Brett
Received on Friday, 16 November 2001 10:52:23 UTC

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