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   Facts to Support RAND? was: Re: [xml-dev] more patent fun

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Simon St.Laurent wrote:

>In case yesterday's Eldred vs. Ashcroft wasn't exciting enough
>intellectual property news for you, may I recommend this bit of writing
>by Microsoft's David Turner:
>We urge the W3C and the Advisory Committee to evaluate the precedent
>setting RF-only nature of the proposed patent policy in the context of
>whether or not it will enable the W3C to remain a good forum for
>developing web standards.  If RF only, without reasonable exceptions is
>adopted and leads to key consumers of web-based standards, such as
>consumer electronics and telecommunications members, going elsewhere,
>will the core web standards continue to be developed at the W3C?  Will
>those web standards avoid the patents of those enterprises no longer
>participating in the W3C process?  Will those standards be used as the
>foundation for other standards?  Given these concerns and questions the
>W3C should be cautious about adopting this RF-only policy backed by some
>vocal parties whose primary interests are unrelated to the W3C's ability
>to continue to develop widely adopted web standards.
>It reads like a threat to me, but I suppose it's possible to read it
>more gently.
I don't read it as a threat, just a public example of failing to 
understand that being RF, at least in the sense that the W3C developed 
the early standards and anyone could use them without royalties, is the 
primary reason for the extremely large market for web based products now.

Can anyone cite an example of a RAND based web standard that has the 
adoption of any of the present W3C standards?

Until someone can make the case that RAND based web standards will have 
the same adoption curve as present W3C standards, the minority of 
vendors who might profit from RAND would do well to contain their greed. 
They could well be about to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs.

Instead of greedy fantasies, let's hear some facts about how RAND based 
standards are as widely adopted on the Web as RF standards. It is widely 
known that thousands  of vendors are making money with RF standards now, 
what facts show that will continue with RAND standards?

I am assuming that most vendors want hard economic facts for RF vs. RAND 
and the RAND crowd seems to be coming up far short. All I have ever seen 
is the low signal, high noise sort of stuff Simon quotes above. What the 
RAND advocates don't say is that the number of vendors who may  profit 
from RAND standards can probably be counted without taking your shoes 
off. The thousands of other vendors who have products based on W3C 
standards will have to pay for the priviledge of using what is now free. 
Seems like a no brainer to join and support the W3C doesn't it?


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature

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