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

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>From: Rich Salz [mailto:rsalz@datapower.com]

>I said he wouldn't have created the Web if 
>patents got in his way.  You believe someone else would have created the 
>web?  "Undecideable."

I believe it or something like it was inevitable.  That was the 
field I worked in.  We all knew what was coming.  Freeware 
accelerated it.  That is so.

>Basically, I tried to show how open source got us to this point.  I 
>believe it's reasonable to extrapolate web future from web past, so open 
>source will continue to be important.  You disagree, fine, I just tried 
>to show *why* many believe that.

I don't believe it is unimportant.  I don't believe its importance 
creates a need to do away with all patents or even standards and 
specifications based on licensed technology.  I believe that a 
policy which cannot admit that possibility marginalizes the organization 
that enforces it.  I believe we are not necessarily looking at 
the fracturing or balkanization of the web, but of the standards 
and specifications organizations.  I believe history has examples 
of this including the creation of the W3C itself.  The WSI-O may 
be a healthy emergence.  It will enable those who need to operate 
under different policies to do so while still maintaining the 
liaisons considered necessary for ensuring interoperability with 
royalty-free specifications and standards.

>> Those benefits are not special privileges.

>I don't understand the difference.

Because they apply to everyone, not just open source groups.

>> So the MIT patents are of no value to the Kerberos problems?  

>Right; MIT has no patents on Kerberos, nor did Needham and Schroeder who 
>first documented their creation in a _CACM_ article.

And patents would not have been a means to protect them?

I am reminded of Robert Ballard's consternation after the 
initial discovery of the Titanic wreck.  He and others believed 
it to be a grave and therefore did not bring back artifacts. 
Later it was explained to him that had his expedition returned 
with even one, they could have claimed salvage rights and protected the 
wreck site from the later expedition that did return with artifacts,  
claimed salvage rights and now exploits those artifacts for 
their full economic value.    We can argue a long time about 
the rightness of that tactic, but not that it did exist and had 
Ballard understood it, could have easily achieved his goals.

>> The Open Source Community will have to work out a means to license 
>> patented technology.  That is an obvious fact.

>No, it's undecideable.  After all, it hasn't had to happen yet.  The OSS 
>community can continue to use its "political capital" to influence 
>business decisions. It's worked surprisingly well so far, it will be 
>interesting to see how things progress.

It isn't working at all.  The patents are still being filed.  The 
Napsterites did have to close down the sites.  The "information 
must be free" advocates lost their battles in court.  Right now, 
if they are using patented technology, they are living on the 
kindness of strangers.  Investors should be wary of them.

>> Anyway, a lot of this is going to be moot.

>Only if you've already given up.  Luckily for the world, many haven't.

I've not given up anything of value.  I've determined for myself 
what is of value.   Others will as well and what each does 
with political capital will be their own choice.

I don't argue against right choice; I argue for the principal 
of choice.  If the choice of the W3C is to issue only royalty 
free standards and specifications, this is admirable.  If other 
organizations are formed to issue RAND standards and specifications, 
this is understandable.   If these groups choose to work together 
to ensure interoperation of the technologies so specified and 
standardized, this is desirable.

None of those are mandatory, and that is a good choice too.



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