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1. The MPEG patents aren't U.S. IPR. Red herring, Rick.
BTW, I agree that the copyright laws are becoming ever more
absurd. Apparently so did Ginsburg but stated rightly, it is
not their job to set policy for Congress. OTOH, anyone
who thinks that the international systems for patents will vanish
in an act of good will toward the Internet or for the particular
good of open source software simply isn't in business. Stock
holders would eviscerate the CEOs and boards. Still, no rule holds
in all cases. AIDS drugs are not in the same category as Internet
product specifications. But they aren't cheap either and until
they are, means must be found among and between pharmaceutical
corporations and governments to see to it that these are provided
to those in need. The same isn't true of Pentium processors.
2. European, Japanese, etc. patent laws are just as enforced.
China is beginning to enforce these laws as well as part
of honoring trade agreements. The bad taste comes of theft.
3. The main point is that an RF-only policy, no exceptions,
simply makes the choice easy. Don't submit innovative technology
because it will be more profitable and easier to use the patent
laws. So where it might have been "the right thing to do",
now it is a business loss to do because licensing is
more profitable than paying out to create specifications for
competitors to build to.
Let's be clear: as long as the W3C sticks to "fundamental"
technology exclusively used for the Internet, the so-called
commodities, as I said before, I believe it will continue
to receive submissions. Otherwise, once one starts getting
into the applications sphere (say VoiceXML), all bets are
off. These are products, not commodities, and subsidizing
the competitor without a research budget isn't a good business
If one really wants to think that all software used
on the Internet anywhere anytime by anybody is "fundamental", then
some parts of the "fundamental Internet framework" may become
standardized using diluted, also ran technologies while the
patented technologies are sold and integrated into the Internet
anyway under the aegis of other consortia and cartels or by plain
old outselling the competition.
I don't think Turner is threatening. He is stating probable outcomes.
Over time, the W3C will be marginalized. Patented technology
too good to overlook will be stolen just as it always has been.
Lawsuits will follow. Lawyers will make money. Some businesses
without the deep pockets to keep up the fight will fold. Others
will receive hefty chunks of money for their due diligence.
What is being overestimated is the lasting sales value of the W3C
imprimatur. That is what is wrong with Patrick's assertion.
From: Rick Jelliffe [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com>
> Are the trends you think applicable from the W3C
> spec adoption sustainable in the future? IOW, is
> that a merely historical or an inevitable trend?
As more countries assert their independence from US IPR
law on technologies of national importance, I think there
is more chance that entertainment-based IPR technology
will be allowed as a trade-off against the negation of IPR
on fundamental Internet technologies.
Non-US governments will say "We simply will not accept
IPR on AIDS drugs and foundation internet protocols;
but to keep US trade dogs at bay, we will stop piracy of
the Lion King."
I think US people and people who travel in business rather
than technical/policy circles, should not underestimate the
bad taste that US IPR impositions have to the rest of the
world. W3C would be crazy to get involved in this political
dispute by allowing non-RF technology in its specs.