ZDNet: Stallman: 'Patent Licenses Discriminate'
Apr 24, 2002, 17:30 (22 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)
"In order for standards to be useful for the general
computer-using public, the standards must be freely implementable
"In order to give free software a chance to compete, the
standards must allow free software implementations. Many standards
bodies do not insist on this--they promulgate patent-restricted
standards that the public cannot freely implement and that don't
allow free software at all.
"These standards bodies typically have a policy of obtaining
patent licenses that require a fixed fee per copy of a conforming
program. They often refer to such licenses by the term 'RAND,'
which stands for 'reasonable and non-discriminatory.' That term
whitewashes a class of patent licenses that are normally neither
reasonable nor non-discriminatory. It is true that these licenses
do not discriminate against any specific person, but they do
discriminate against the free software community, and that makes
them unreasonable. Thus, half of 'RAND' is deceptive and the other
half is prejudiced..."