Web Standards & Patents: Write to W3C!

UPDATE & CALL FOR ACTION: In response to developer protests, W3C has extended the review period to 11 October 2001. We urge all Web developers and users to read the Patent Policy draft and mail comments to the W3C. "Substantial comments" will be weighted more heavily than sarcasm or cries of outrage. [Read comments so far.]

News & Opinions
OpenPhD: Breaking News
Scripting News: Breaking News
Michael Rose: Will the Web remain democratic?
Richard Stallman: Royalty-free standards only
The Register: W3C denies misleading world
The Register: IBM risks Linux strategy with RAND demands

WaSP to W3C: Extend the Deadline!

1 October 2001: The Web Standards Project is calling upon the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to rethink its proposed RAND Patent Policy. We believe said policy will stifle innovation and restrict competition, penalizing individual Web authors and users, small businesses, and the Open Source community.

At the very least, The Web Standards Project expects the W3C to extend the deadline for comments before rushing ahead with a policy that seemingly runs counter to the cooperative nature of Internet development and to W3C founder Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the Web as an open, equitable medium for all.

W3C announced the Policy in August with so little fanfare that nobody noticed. The development community only became aware of the proposal on 30 September—the very day the W3C stopped accepting comments. The W3C homepage makes no mention of the proposal or of the 30 September cutoff date. It's as if certain W3C members had pressured the organization to "bury" the proposal in order to sneak it past a community that was sure to object to it.

Moreover, since 11 September, the world's attention has been focused on terrorism and the specter of global war. Yet the W3C proceeded with its 30 September deadline as if nothing had happened on 11 September. It is unfair and unrealistic for the W3C to give us one day to comment upon a proposal that could so profoundly change the Web.

WaSP respectfully asks the W3C to scrap this policy or at least extend the deadline for comments. We also urge developers to join their peers in letting the W3C know how they feel about patenting Web standards.

Developer Protests & Comments:
30 September
1 October ff.

The Web Standards Project