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RE: [xml-dev] RAND issues

Excuse me if I cordially disagree.

MPEG is NOT just Sony and Motorola, and those two are not currently 
playing their trump cards and acting as you suggest they might, and 
as they certainly can, if they don't mind a big PR snafu and a bunch 
of bad press, which they do. That would also effectively kill the 
MPEG working group, and then what are you going to do with those 

  -0500 10/5/01, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
><aside>Software patents bother me too but we have explore
>all sides of this.  I think it does come down to
>where the patents are applied, so in some cases
>RAND could be a healthy thing.  Better to have some
>policy than to pretend it isn't an issue regardless
>of the outcome.</aside>
>MPEG/MHEG spits in the the W3C's general direction.
>They are quite capable and willing even to take
>their ball and go home to a very luxurious court
>when they don't get their way with regards to technology
>that touches their patents.  They can do that and
>never feel a pinch of restraint because the W3C
>has not historically affected them.  MPEGs are hot.
>They don't want the W3C imprimatur nor do they need it.
>They operate with a patent pool that is very lucrative.
>They operate in an environment in which the numbers
>of files that are created using patent bearing technology
>are one of the hottest types on the web today and likely
>to grow as the bandwidth continues to support ever larger
>and highly integrated multimedia.

Oh yes they do want the W3C imprimatur, although they can live 
without it, but RAND won't supply that. What RAND does is hang the 
Sword of Damocles over everyone and hope that no one is the first to 

Perhaps it is better to go ahead, let that happen and let the 
consequences play out so that we can get this behind us on all fronts 
and get the facts on the ground out before everyone's eyes in plain 
sight and the clear light of day.

The W3C is flawed seriously. I suspect in the days to come there will 
be a tremendous debate over when we ought to grandfather such ad hoc 
organizations and when we ought to start over fresh with a clear 
mandate from governments and BigCo's both.

We're due for a lot of chaos regardless.

>My guess is the outcome of this controversy will be
>the cheapening of the W3C imprimatur.  This is a situation
>where the software developers, thralled, open, or merely
>independent will be ignored in the medium term.  The
>markets will decide and they are likely to decide based
>on the quality of the content.  For every specification
>that the W3C and open source members can come up with,
>the patent-bearing developers can come up with two and
>if standardization through the W3C is unavailable, they
>have alternatives.  In effect, if the RAND is stalled,
>the W3C will have overplayed its already weakening hand
>and will become a monastery doing useful piece work.

Balkanization is good in this context. Interests that are common will 
stick together, and then we can identify how best to get the 
standards work done.

>This is real balkanization but is it any more serious
>than having RealPlayer files and mpegs?  Is it worse
>than having Java support given it is a wholely owned
>Sun product?  Is it worse than all of the PDF files
>or the Flash files? Is this a case where a cadre of
>web developers who have benefited from the research
>of their predecessors in a bubble market are now faced
>with the real costs of that development continuing?

Well, I disagree with the foregoing and agree with the following. Go figure.

>While that cadre can be very vocal, an industry and
>a global economy faced with a recession that the
>philosophy of that cadre helped engender are not
>likely to be given much credence even if given a
>lot of press.   Look up the quote from the CEO of
>Intel about the need for companies to profit by
>their intellectual property.

Of course they need to profit from their Intellectual Property, but 
not at the expense of whole technologies, which is the point I would 
like to make. We need standards so that intellectual properties can 
compete on the basis of excellence, performance, and intelligently 
meeting consumer needs, not who got there first with the best 
lawyers. The laws need to be changed so that invention is redefined 
and no one gets the incredibly stupid idea that they can patent or 
copyright, say, the human genome? Life isn't free, but neither does 
Genetics, Inc. own it.

>The web is simply plumbing.  Water still flows from
>the tap for the cost of the utility hookup.  Filters
>cost money.  Bottled water costs money.  Their is
>no patent on water, but the packaging and piping costs.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Tim Bray [mailto:tbray@textuality.com]
>Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2001 7:22 PM
>To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
>Subject: RE: [xml-dev] RAND issues
>At 02:19 PM 04/10/01 -0500, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>>This position eliminates most MPEG/MHEG liaison efforts, yes?
>If those standards are encumbered in such a fashion that they
>can't be implemented without paying royalties, then, yes, I
>believe the W3C should steer clear.  If the people who are
>promulgating these things want the benefits [rapidly-expanding
>market, serendipitous arrival of new software tools out of
>the blue] enjoyed by developers in the Web context, then
>there's a price for that and it's spelled with two letters: RF.
>If they want the imprimitur of the W3C, for whatever that's
>worth, I think the price should be the same. -Tim
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Rex Brooks
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison, Berkeley, CA, 94702 USA, Earth
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Email: rexb@starbourne.com
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