Allowance of RAND in standards

To Whom it may concern,

It is very frustrating and disappointing that I should even have to write a 
letter of this sort. The entire concept of the Internet, even for commercial 
purposes, is the interoperatability and global collaboration using standards 
that all parties can participate with. A lack of standards would only produce 
an increase in problems resulting from such.

This is why organizations like the W3C are so invaluable in keeping those 
standards open and without restrictive measures that would hinder the 
development and participation regarding the World Wide Web. The allowance of 
"patented" software in standards would only accomplish a degradation in 
quality and create a "class gap" in who can implement these standards.

The name of your organization should be enough to prevent such thoughts from 
coming to bear on the standards you put forth. The "World" does not play by 
the ridiculous rules and laws that corporate America has managed to restrict 
its citizens with and should not have to be forced by using, what I thought 
was, a legitimate standards organization.

Any recommendations for standards should be based on their merit and should 
always be "open" and "free" (as in speech as well as fiscally). Allowing 
"patented" technology into these standards will only create a "USA vs The 
World" since there would be no reason for other countries to continue to 
adopt standards that would only be sending their money to a country where 
they don't even get to participate in the lawmaking process. At that point I 
would recommend that you create two entities. The "AWC (American Web 
Consortium)" and the "TROTWWWC (The Rest of the World Wide Web Consortium)" 
since there would no longer be a basis for considering that there actually 
exists a WWW.

This action would also likely impugn the ability for Third World and 
Developing Nations to participate and grow into the concept of Internet Trade 
and E-Commerce since it will mean that they will be held accountable to 
powers of the US at levels (financially) that could be only accessible to 
other countries on the same level. This would be catastrophic to those 
nations that are working so hard to pull themselves up. I would like to point 
out that India has been fervently working to wards just such a goal and 
something like this could severely hinder those efforts because a great deal 
of what they are working with is Open Source and would therefore not be 
useful to them in a "patented" arena.

Also, do we really want to bring about more issues like the "Great GIF 
Fiasco"? This was a ridiculous set of threats, lawsuits and court cases that 
did NOTHING to help build a better Internet. Though it did help develop a 
replacement, what did it actually accomplish. It only moved things backwards. 
A standards body has enough issues to deal with for trying to move forwards 
(and as quickly as possible in an area such as computers and communications) 
that bringing forth more restrictions and hindrances into such a body is 
just not very good practice.

I realize that many of the individuals in your organization are of a 
corporate nature. I do see this as a positive. I think that having the 
corporations that will be able to contribute greatly to such an entity as the 
World Wide Web is an excellent example of what could make the W3C perhaps the 
best example of a standards body there is. But if it comes at the cost of 
corporate posturing and development of anti-competitive practices I think I 
will start looking to see if perhaps the EFF or some other organization will 
attempt to create an alternate standards body to represent the rest of the 
world as well as those corporations who realize the greater potential in 
keeping these standards free of biased recommendation then closing it to the 
select few.

I understand and respect corporation's desires to protect their "Intellectual 
Property", but the practice of software patents was a mistake to begin with 
(and I am someone who creates such IP) and attempting to influence others 
with broken policy is horrible. If they wish to have patented protocols, 
implementations or other things drawn into widespread use it should be done 
on it's merits and ability for that company to produce and market it. Then 
they deserve everything they get in return. But for a standards body to allow 
such practice will only mean that these companies will be able to each 
contribute and cross-license (even if not officially) their contributions so 
as to "lock-out" others from even being able to participate on the WWW. The 
W3C should concentrate on actual standards and let "de facto" standards 
create themselves.

Please do not let this come to reality. It would be shameful and sad. It 
would also cause me, as well as others I'm sure, to find no more reason to 
accept what you produce as practical or even acceptable and therefore would 
disregard it.

Brian Ashe                                                     CTO
Dee-Web Software Services, LLC.        

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 19:47:25 UTC