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RE: [xml-dev] Re: W3C ridiculous new policy on patents

From: Bart Schuller [mailto:schuller+xml-dev@lunatech.com]

On Thu, Oct 11, 2001 at 08:55:59AM -0500, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>> If a company has the funding, they can defend the open software 
>> projects from which they derive their profits.  That is a 
>> cost of business for them just as it is for all of us in 
>> this business.  They can also seek patents for that which 
>> they intend to have future rights.  If they intend to do 
>> that with intent to grant RF RAND, I think a W3C policy 
>> that is clear with respect to the terms of such would be 
>> welcome to the management of such a company.

>You keep talking about business. There's more in life.

Yes, but we aren't talking about life here.  We are talking 
about the RAND policy of the W3C.  If you want to talk about 
life, Marvin is over in the corner talking to Zaphod about it 
every day.

The W3C is a commercial consortium with an obligation 
to protect it's members interests.  That is what they do.  You 
may belong to a charitable software foundation.  If so, que bueno.

>Tell me, what is the cost of having a hobby? 

Mine cost me about $1500 last month for a used and discounted 
Mackie 480-S and a Roland JV-1080.  That was an unusual month 
but it has been an unusual year of retooling for a different 
kind of gig than I played in rock.  The Godin was expensive too. 
I need to get those costs down.  The IRS won't be happy if I 
don't have the money to pay them when they demand their cut 
of my "hobby income" and my wife is unhappy when I use 
money from my day gig.

>Everyone with an off the shelf PC can start programming.

Yes.  That is well supported given any number of frameworks, 
open source, and commercial products.

>There's also a vast amount of scientific research and Open Source
>software to build upon and expand. 

Yes.  A lot of that was paid for by the tax dollars collected 
by the IRS.  Funny how that works.  From my hobby to your PC.

>Yet a lot of the obvious enhancements
>get patented.

I don't think so.  Some do but the patent office isn't quite 
that stupid.  This argument does reflect an attitude that 
is prevalent (software is free speech) and one can argue 
the merits of that.  Still, it once again reinforces the 
contention that without a sound patent policy to ensure 
the interests of the W3C's members, the W3C is derelict 
in its responsibilities.  The text of that is to be 

>Why is it so hard to see that asking people to pay these same considerable
>business costs of yours just so they can *give away* things *they write*
>is wrong?

You are personalizing.  I am not the one writing the patent policy and 
I hold no patents.  But in any case, if they are giving away the property 
of others, they are stealing.  Robin Hood is an attractive figure, but 
still a "hood".   I give away songs on the Internet but retain the 
copyrights.  I can afford to do that.  In fact, that is pretty much 
where the hobby money goes just like my songs: to the PCs of others: gratis.
I don't demand Madonna do that.  If you can get her to do that, it will be 
entertaining.  Paul McCartney is giving away profits from his new 
release to the NY funds.  I commend such. Paulie can afford it 
and still fly pizzas from NYC to his home in England.  I am happy 
for him.  He is entitled.

>Or is every hobbyist entitled to their own bigco who'll pay the lawyer's
>fees to attack bogus patents?

Every hobbyist is entitled to give away that which is theirs to dispose 
of in the manner and to whom they see fit.   They aren't entitled to 
do that with the property of others.  

You can't make the wrong thing the right thing just because you want 
it to be so.  The WWW mythos has persuaded many to think there are no 
costs for it.  That is quite wrong.  It is just that the people 
who seem to be clamoring for a cost free web aren't the ones 
paying the costs.

The Internet is NOT a commons.  It never has been.  That was a dream 
some had and promoted to others.  They forgot to mention the 
millions of dollars spent by the US to develop it and then 
present it as a gift for commercialization in 1990/91.  Every 
university machine, every router, every PC out there cost 
someone something.  Do what you will with what is yours to do it with 
but the costs for the 'net are being passed on to the consumers. 
Ask Yahoo about their new business model.