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Re: [xml-dev] Re: W3C ridiculous new policy on patents
- From: David Brownell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: Jeff Lowery <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 13:16:56 -0700
> > The W3C labels fields as part of the commons. You
> > can still harvest from Farmer Z's field, if he/she lets you;
> > likely you'd have to pay to do that. W3C needs to be
> > preventing Z's field from being labeled "commons" if
> > it's not actually commons.
> This commons idea keeps cropping up in various contexts, don't it?
As an analogy, many people are familiar with it; it
has a few of the necessary characteristics, though
it's missing so much (modernity for one!) that, like
all analogies, it falls down if it sees much pressure.
In particular, since there's zero incremental cost
to reusing an idea, it has the same obvious failures
as any model wherein ideas can become "property".
(Vs say well-debugged code implementing ideas...)
Thomas Jefferson wasn't the first person to point
out that ideas are _fundamentally_ shared/common,
and hence unsuited to becoming "property".
> The commons idea is under threat not only from technological imperatives
> (you must use this to use that), but also economic ones (you must pay this
> to use that). Hmmm. In either case the commons is encumbered, and ceases to
> be "common", and becomes more of a governed resource.
> Is this encumberance a necessity due to technology's need to be more
> sophisticated and interoperable, or is it private or narrow interests
> pushing for their particular world view: one driven by technical or economic
> self interest?
Primarily the latter. Open Source proves that sophistication
and interoperability do not require encumbrance. Agendas
demanding control (to tilt economic or political playing fields)
need levers such as patents. As John Cowan pointed out,
one set of physical commons was destroyed not all that long
ago in order to promote/benefit private landowners.