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From Rob Weir <...@robweir.com>
Subject Re: Open Standards and Open Source
Date Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:23:09 GMT
On Sat, Feb 14, 2015 at 1:39 PM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> To: Apache friends
> I'm going to be at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2015 in Santa
> Rosa next week. If there are any Apache folks there, please say hello. There
> is an extensive legal track with some really good speakers and topics.
> (Sorry, I believe it is too late to register.)
> I'll be speaking on Thursday about Open Standards, a topic that has
> occasionally interested the participants on this legal-discuss@ list. I'm
> mostly avoiding patents in my talk because important software standards
> organizations in the US already have strong royalty-free patent policies.
> Instead, I've been focused recently on the gymnastics performed by some
> standards organizations and their major large members to avoid giving open
> source communities the copyright to create derivative works. I will also
> discuss how these policies contradict the same companies' own arguments in
> the Oracle v. Google lawsuit, which is also about the effect of copyright
> law on open standards.

Hi Larry,

I thought the distinction was:

1) Open source as a basis for innovation, to build upon

2) Open standards as a codification of best practices, for
interoperability in a given domain

If I fork an open source project and improve it (or make it worse for
that matter) I influence only users of my fork.   But if I fork, say,
the HTTP standard, then I potentially harm a network of producers and
consumers of that protocol, by introducing incompatibilities.  I also
hurt the brand behind that standard by detracting from the public
perception of interoperability.

That isn't to say that the technology behind standards cannot and
should not be improved, but that a published standard is a "slice in
time" of that technology stream, intended to give stability and

IMH (and personal) O, the "golden median" here would be a licence that
allows derivation, but only in clearly technically incompatible ways.
 For example, if you are going to design an incompatible Wifi
standard, then don't put it on the same frequencies as existing Wifi
standards and certainly don't use the name of an existing standard.

Do you disagree that this distinction and goal
(interoperability/stability) is important?   If so, how else would you
achieve that goal?



> I'm reading an interesting book about The Innovators: How a Group of
> Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter
> Isaacson. He writes:
> "These patent disputes [about the invention of the computer] were the
> forerunner of a major issue of the digital era: Should intellectual property
> be shared freely and placed whenever possible into the public domain and
> open-source commons? That course, largely followed by developers of the
> Internet and the Web, can spur innovation through the rapid dissemination
> and crowdsourced improvement of ideas. Or should intellectual property
> rights be protected and inventors allowed to profit from their proprietary
> ideas and innovations? That path, largely followed in the computer hardware,
> electronics, and semiconductor industries, can provide the financial
> incentives and capital investment that encourages innovation and rewards
> risk.... In 2011 a milestone was reached: Apple and Google spent more on
> lawsuits and payments involving patents than they did on research and
> development of new products." [Citing Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr, "The
> Patent, Used as a Sword," New York Times, Oct. 7, 2012.]
> Lawrence Rosen
> "If this were legal advice it would have been accompanied by a bill."

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