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Followups on the W3C Patent Policy from Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen, and Microsoft

Oct 01, 2001, 12:30 (42 Talkback[s])

Adam Warner wrote in with a few interesting links regarding the W3C's request for comments on its policy toward patents, including comments from Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen, and someone from Microsoft.

Here are a few of developments that are interesting.

The Head of Communications for the W3C posted to your forum:

(I just came across it).

John Gilmore EFF:

A Microsoft representative has posted to strongly support RAND:

"A short note to express my strong support for the RAND patent changes

"Patents are a critical part of our Intellectual Property system and a
key underpinning of our capitalist economy.  Remove patents and you
remove the incentives for people to invent/create new IP.  Why create
new IP when you have to risk it as part of the W3C procedures? Instead,
the W3C should uphold, protect and encourage patents as they create and
support true innovation by providing tremendous positive economic

This looks like it could be a hoax. It's just too blatant. But the
message ID looks legitimate.

Who is Alex Simons? (I remember the name from somewhere). A Google
search turns up:


"Microsoft has always been a company that thrives on championing ideas,"
says Alex Simons, 30, a nine-year Microsoft veteran who is now a
product-unit manager for bCentral. Not every idea finds a home at
Microsoft. But there are no rules about whom an employee can pitch to,
no penalties for wasting a VP's time, no stigma attached to backing a
rejected idea. 


Plus Richard Stallman also posted:


In addition, Eben Moglen also posted a comment, as noted by Chuck Mead. Writes Professor Moglen:
"I write on behalf of the Free Software Foundation to oppose the the W3C's adoption of a patent-friendly standards policy.

The World Wide Web cannot exist as a global and uniformly-available facility of human society without free software. Apache, Perl PHP--and literally hundreds of other immediately recognizable aspects of web technology--have been outgrowths of the free software production model. Without free software, the web would be a commercialized outgrowth of a few proprietary software producers, and it would be incapable of serving, as it now does, as a force for global egalitarianism.

Because the Web employs no technology not based around completely open standards, software implementing every single facility of Web life can be produced in the free software model, and is therefore available for free modification and improvement all over the world, supplied at the marginal cost of distribution to any programmer--no matter how financially constrained--who wishes to produce new facilities and opportunities for users."

Professor Moglen's complete comment.

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