Do Not Adopt The Patent Policy

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     As a web developer, I do not believe it is in the best interest of
the Internet community for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to adopt
the proposed patent policy.  Indeed, I believe the Patent Policy Working
Group's (PPWG's) first core principle, "Importance of interoperability
for core infrastructure, lower down the stack..." sidesteps W3C's
responsibility of creating total web standards by carving up standards
into (lower stack) open areas and (higher stack) proprietary areas. 
This conflicts with the W3C organization's first goal, to "make the Web
accessible to all by promoting technologies that take into account the
vast differences in culture, education, ability, material resources, and
physical limitations of users on all continents".
     If W3C does adopt this patent policy, it will just be a matter of
time before the line between lower stack and higher stack operations is
blurred, (most would argue it is already) creating an ownership to basic
web functionality.
     I also believe the proposed policy will inhibit open source
developers from implementing W3C standards.  Although the reasonable and
non-discriminatory (RAND) terms call for the "payment of *reasonable,
non-discriminatory* royalties or fees" (emphasis mine), is the W3C to
judge what is reasonable and non-discriminatory?  I can see possible
instances where an open source developer is locked out of implementing
RAND licensed technology because the cost of licensing it is more than
he or she can afford.  This returns us to the "material resources" in
W3C's first goal.
     The creation of the Internet was possible because of its open
nature.  Patented or proprietary standards are not standards, and would
have ruined the Internet or web when being created.  Future innovations
should likewise be allowed to flourish in open environments where all
may contribute. 

     (These views are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of
my employer.)
- --
Bernie Hoefer
PGP e-mail is welcome!  Get my 1024 bit signature key from:
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"The more I know, the more I realize how much I do not understand."
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Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 19:16:30 UTC