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   RE: [xml-dev] Patent non-proliferation and disarmament

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  • To: "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au>,<xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Patent non-proliferation and disarmament
  • From: "Joshua Allen" <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
  • Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 09:31:29 -0700
  • Thread-index: AcH6kvtjyQzbG+LPQT6v0w8lXol6FgAA+HMA
  • Thread-topic: [xml-dev] Patent non-proliferation and disarmament

> > succeed.   Patented technology shows up regularly in hardware
> > and software.
> On the other hand, we did have Compuserv and other
> proprietary access layers, and they did not become the WWW.
> So it is not speculation to pit proprietary against free for the WWW,
> more a matter of judging to what extent the WWW succeeded
> because it had a free and open basis.

I think comparing Compuserve and WWW is a wee bit unfair; at least from
a "free and open" perspective.  The WWW succeeded over alternatives
because of universal identifiers.  I don't think that patent or cost
considerations led organizations to choose WWW over CompuServe.  And
plenty of people still use AOL, so there is nothing about a
"proprietary" system that precludes participation in a universal
identifier system.

Cisco still doesn't provide source code for their routers, AFAIK.  The
very fabric of the Internet is only as "open" as the protocols that get
pounded out between Cisco and its competitors in the IETF.  No open
source reference implementations there.

If you are saying that SMTP, HTTP, etc. all succeeded because the
parties involved had a commitment to interop and worked tirelessly to
make sure that stuff worked together, then I agree.  But that is a long
way from saying that patents had no place in the origins of the net.

> > Again, "us vs them".  This is one more example of why that
> > article IS polarizing.
> The polarization is created by those grabbing rights, not the victims!

Polarization is created by politicians.  

There are few people or companies who reject the entire notion of
intellectual property.  Not many people would feel that "grabbing
rights" is a crime in itself.  There are definitely counterproductive
ways that a company or individual can "grab rights", and most people can
recognize the egregious offenses.  But the fact that companies and
individuals sometimes do stupid things is not new.  The fact that the
patent system has problems is not new.  And the fact that companies and
individuals behave selfishly is not new.  

Expecting people to renounce selfish behavior and behave altruistically
is not realistic.  Expecting society to abolish intellectual property is
not realistic.  Anyone who holds such expectations will be faced with
constant shock and indignation (when not busy looking for diamond tiaras
in the gutter), and will be pliable material for the politicians.


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