Posts tagged "OpenStand"

The Internet, Standards, and Intellectual Property

The Internet Society recently issued a paper on “Intellectual Property on the Internet“,written by Konstantinos Komaitis, a policy advisor at the Internet Society. As the title of the paper indicates, the paper focuses on only one policy issue – the need to reshape the role and position of intellectual property. The central thesis of the paper is that “industry-based initiatives focusing on the enforcement of intellectual property rights should be subjected to periodic independent reviews as related to their efficiency and adherence to due process and the rule of law.”

The author cites the August 2012 announcement of “The Modern Paradigm for Standards Development” which recognizes that the economics of global markets, fueled by technological advancements, drive global deployment of standards regardless of their formal status. In this paradigm, standards support interoperability, foster global competition, are developed through an open participatory process, and are voluntarily adopted globally.” These “OpenStand” principles were posited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Society, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Komaitis conveniently overlooks the nearly 700 other organizations (formal and otherwise) that develop standards. And that nearly all industries depend upon standards. And that governments are aware of the power of standards to create economic policy and drive and sustain economic growth. Instead, the author focuses on one small aspect of standards – intellectual property.

Another issue conveniently overlooked is how to fund standards development. Komaitis asserts that “…industry-based initiatives ….should be subjected to periodic independent reviews… ” He misses the fact that industry funds nearly all of the standards organizations in existence. Absent industry funding for participants, charging for standards, and acceptance of standards in product creation, would cause the entire standardization arena to become extinct.

The author seems to be arguing for a revision of intellectual property rights (IPR) rules in standardization – when, in fact, there is no real demand from the industry as a whole. Komaitis is really asking for an “intellectual property rights carve out” for standards related to the Internet. Looking at the big picture, the plea that it is necessary to rejigger world-wide IPR rules to prevent putting the State or courts “in the awkward position of having to prioritize intellectual property rights over the Internet’s technical operation…” seems trite and self-serving.

There is a claim that “the Internet Society will continue to advocate for open, multi-participatory and transparent discussions and will be working with all stakeholders in advancing these minimum standards in all intellectual property fora.” Perhaps the Internet Society could look at what already exists in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the World Trade Organization (WTO) or perhaps even the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to see how a majority of the “stakeholders” worldwide already deal with these issues – and then maybe get back to actually solving the technical issues at which the IETF excels.

Carl Cargill
Principal Scientist


Adobe Supports OpenStand

On March 9th, at the Open Future  reception at SXSW, Adobe announced support for the OpenStand  initiative. Our rationale for this was simple – OpenStand is good for the Web, good for users, and good for Adobe. It increases innovation, openness, and allows greater participation in evolving the Internet.

The Internet is built on standards. These standards come from all sorts of organizations – some formal and supported by governments, some less formal and created by industry associations, and some driven by users who believe in collective action. OpenStand takes a simple position on these organizations – if the organization is open, transparent, balanced, has due process in creation, and has broad consensus – then the organization and its specifications are legitimate.

The approach advocated by OpenStand seems to be intuitively obvious; good technical standards which are accepted and implemented by the industry should be judged not on their origin, but rather on their utility to the industry. A poor standard with a “proper background and backing” is still a poor standard.

The Internet is ubiquitous – from mobile phones to tablets to desktops – all form factors, all types of information, design, and literally “everything”.  It is a golden age for creative display and use of information – all driven by innovation, which then is “standardized” so users can access it and interoperate with complementary services.

Adobe has contributed significantly and will continue to contribute to efforts to document and test these innovative activities in conjunction with W3C with the Web Platform Docs (WPD) project and Test the Web Forward.   We have also (along with Microsoft and Google), supported the HTML5 editor as this standard moves to completion and we are also active in WebKit specs, as well as in formal metadata standards. All of these venues are important – and all build the ability of the market to innovate, grow, and change. And that’s what OpenStand is all about, which is why Adobe has chosen to support it.

Carl Cargill
Principal Scientist