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[xml-dev] WWW /= W3C: Has W3C mission changed?

The new W3C IPR/patent policy proposal effectively writes in stone a
transformation that has already occured in the W3C. The division of WG into
either "royalty free" or the so-called "RAND" creates two distinct types of
W3C activities, those that attempt to set standards for a wider
internet/WWW, and those that have purely commercial purpose. A fractured W3C
is an ineffective W3C.

My question is why the W3C would consider the RAND activity? Such activities
are dramatically different from the traditional spirit of the WWW and
Internet which until relatively recently has been funded by government and
research organizations. The "home" of the W3C at MIT emphasizes this, and
the spirit of cooperation between academia and commercial interests.

One cannot effectively create universal internet standards without providing
these free of IPR encumbrances. By providing IPR encumbered specifications,
the W3C severely dilites its mission in promoting a truly World Wide web.
One must have a very strict policy regarding patents:

1) An entity _must_ disclose its applicable IPR up front. The policy
_should_ state that it is the responsability of the member organization to
inform its WG members of any relevent IPR and that all IPR _must_ be
disclosed at the beginning of an activity. An IPR originating from the
activity should be held by the W3C and released in a royalty free, IPR
unencumbered fashion.

2) Commercial entities that do not wish to, or are not able, to fully
disclose their IPR should be prevented access to the relevent WG activities
and internal discussions if such discussions are not otherwise publically

The W3C, in order to remain relevent, must take a leadership role in such

Jonathan Borden, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Tufts University School of Medicine

Chair, ASTM E31.25 XML Healthcare Schemas

speaking for myself