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[DotGNU]Moglen Re: W3C Patent Policy Minutes for 10/28 Meeting

From: Seth Johnson
Subject: [DotGNU]Moglen Re: W3C Patent Policy Minutes for 10/28 Meeting
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 07:17:22 -0500

Eben Moglen, Bruce Perens and Larry Rosen all deserve our
most profound thanks, since it does appear that the end
policy is royalty-free, even though it may be a contentious


Seth Johnson wrote:
> -------- Original Message --------
> Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 10:25:19 -0500
> From: Eben Moglen <address@hidden>
> Reporting on the W3C for our community raises complex issues
> for those of us who are invited experts on the PPWG.  The
> group is "member confidential," which means that there's an
> agreement not to go beyond the  public minutes and documents
> in public statements.  But member organizations, of course,
> assume that they can internally discuss matters at any level
> of detail they like.  Larry Rosen, Bruce Perens and I have
> been somewhat constrained in what we can say to what is,
> after all, the equivalent of our organization.
> With that in mind, I can say that the final decision for an
> RF-only policy is highly controversial within the WG, which
> did not reach consensus and which resolved that large
> question, and several smaller issues, on relatively close
> votes.  Member organizations that disagree with the policy
> are preparing their formal objections and their
> presentations to the Advisory Committee.  Among the
> strongest arguments they present is that even a policy
> requiring technical Working Group members, or even all W3
> members, to make their patent claims available RF cannot
> prevent third-party patents from encumbering standards, and
> that an organization that can make effective standards must
> have some method for dealing with the incorporation of
> patented technology.  Therefore, they say, work will simply
> be done elsewhere than in the W3, and some have gone so far
> as to say that they think the value of their W3C membership
> should be reconsidered.  A subtext in that discussion is an
> issue, occasionally heated, about whether the W3C is the
> creature of its members only, or whether it has a broader
> public interest to serve, and if so how the activities of
> the staff and the Director should be understood to serve
> that public interest.
> This is perfectly legitimate politics within the W3C itself,
> which must decide through the votes of its members what to
> do with the recommendations of the PPWG.  It is relevant to
> the recognition that even the proposed RF policy, which is
> not everything that the free software movement sought to
> achieve by any means, is an unstable and controversial deal
> that may yet fall apart.
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