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Re: [xml-dev] RAND issues
- From: David Brownell <email@example.com>
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 12:48:47 -0700
> I think that the W3C should adopt a policy of involving itself
> only with RF patents, recognize that this is difficult and
> complicated, and just deal with it.
A lot of the comments I read on the W3C patent-policy list
made exactly this point. I strongly agree with the goal of having
all W3C specifications be free of licensing fees.
Though when I read that TR, I had a sense of dissonance
with their usage of the term "Royalty Free". I'm curious
whether anyone else's experience with contracts matches
that usage. In my experience:
- Royalty == per-unit fees, often a function of volume
- Royalty-Free == hefty up-front fees, volume-neutral
- Zero-Cost == no money changes hands
That W3C TR was the first place I've _ever_ seen the
term "Royalty Free" used to mean "Zero Cost". Usually
the logic has gone like: "We expect too much volume to
submit to a royalty schedule, so let's buy out of royalty
streams by paying more money up-front with a Royalty
Given that, hearing the Free Software (and Open Source:)
advocates lobby for "RF" licensing, the only alternative
identified by W3C, gives me the willies. Hefty up-front
fees are as bad as Royalties. But "ZC" is fine.
Is there some sort of semantic game-playing here, or is
this just a case where different groups of lawyers mean
different things by "Royalty Free"? And if the latter,
shouldn't W3C use a less ambiguous term?