W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > January 2002

Standards and Pseudo-Standards.

From: Charles Hixson <charleshixsn@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 08:09:44 -0800
Message-Id: <200201251609.g0PG9iN02098@mtc.ca.gov.chixso>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
If a "standard" turns out to be encumbered with a patent, and the owner can't 
be convinced to allow it's use gratis as needed for standard conformance, 
then the standard should be revoked. 

Sorry, but I don't see any way around this. A standard is a way of doing 
things that everybody is supposed to use to accomplish some purpose. A 
limitation on usage is an automatic effective limitation of the "standard". 
I.e., it becomes non-standard (some people are unable to use that approach). 
So the spec should be stricken from the list of standards. 

You have turned RAND into an obscene word.

If a member owning a patent knowingly proposes it for the inclusion in a 
standard, and does not make it available gratis for standards conformance 
purposes, then not only should the standard be immediately dropped, but the 
member should be barred from further participation without recompense.

If only some people are allowed to do something, then is just isn't a 
standard way of doing it, no matter what you call it. And to the extent that 
they even hedge on this the W3C should be ashamed of themselves. If a 
standards body goes against this, then that body needs to be replaced. It may 
be difficult, but they have violated the trust placed in them. 

This is not to deny that the W3C in the past done good work, and that 
they it still does good work. But I can't take its word as to what a 
standard usage is, because it is proving itself to be unreliable. 

This is what one should expect of it. Up until this year, or very late last 
year, every member was the representative of a large company, so it was to be 
expected that it would act for the benefit of those companies. The two Open 
Source members that they have added are going to be in the minority whenever 
a vote is taken. Company values will dominate this group. I can't expect 
otherwise given their structure and organization. But I can decide that they 
are not an acceptable authority for us to decide standard usage on. 

This is made more complex because most of their past decisions were acutal 
standards, and much of the web and the net has been formalized based on those 
standards. But this doesn't act to mitigate the recent decisions. The W3C can 
not be trusted. So some parallel group is needed that can act to specify 
acceptable standards. Even though most of what they would do originally would 
be to rubber stamp the pre-existing W3C standards (this one is unencumbered, 
that one is unencumbered, ...). 

It has been said by members of the W3C that a fork would be extremely bad. 
Well they are the ones who have created the fork by chaning their definiton 
process. A fork in the standards is less bad than accepting pseudo-standards 
as if they wre the real thing.

As you may be able to tell, I feel quite strongly about this.  And I consider 
the issuance of pseudo-standards as if they were the real thing to be 
unacceptable and corrupt behavior in a standards body.  It's more what I 
would expect from a marketing agency, or some other group whose opinions I 
pay no attention to.
Received on Friday, 25 January 2002 11:10:16 UTC

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