MozillaZine

mozilla.org Comments on W3C Patent Policy Proposal

Wednesday October 10th, 2001

mozilla.org today posted a response to the World Wide Web Consortium's Patent Policy Draft. Many in the open source community oppose the W3C's current proposal on patents, as they feel that it will allow corporations to control standards, rather than an independent W3C. You can also view the other responses, as well as post your own.


#1 AOLTW involvement

by illsleydc <illsleydc@bigfoot.com>

Wednesday October 10th, 2001 3:47 AM

You are replying to this message

It is gratifying to see that out of the many responses to this issue, some can be well thought through and very persuasive. I am also glad to see the position taken by the signatories in opposing RAND licensing. It would have a very negative impact on all open-source projects as they may be liable for some form of fee, and paying any kind of fee per copy of moz would be far too costly to think about.

This issue doen't just affect mozilla.org, but also AOLTimeWarner. As major participants in the W3C they have gained massively through the years from effective, open, free, unencumbered standards. This all stands to disintegrate in front of them. The concept that, for example Microsoft develop Passport into a decent authentication system and get it approved by the W3C is entirely possible within this proposal, and indeed before it. The difference occurs when Microsoft are able to control how this "standard" is implemented and distributed.

If this policy change occurs, we could find ourselves in the LZW position, where a standard exists, is very popular and suddenly, with the next version there are restrictions in place(I know this isn't what happened with LZW but the effect is the same), or some future XML technology includes patented ideas. This would not only undermine peoples confidence in RAND licensed "standards" but in the RF standards as well. It could also have the effect of certain companies "controlling" parts of the web which use certain technologies. The situation whereby AOL customers cannot access a Microsoft site because of Microsoft using "standards compliant" web pages may seem like a joke now but in the future it actually could happen.

I would take this opportunity to call on any staff@aoltw to attempt to put pressure on your company to officially oppose the RAND licensing proposals because it will be harmful for the web, their customers, and ultimately AOLTW shares when the currently "open" web becomes the "Reasonably opŁn" web.