Web standards draft ditches royalties

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Web standards draft ditches royalties

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released a new draft patent policy that reverses its original decision on royalty payments and endorses free specifications.

The W3C said that the new draft places a "strong and explicit commitment" to royalty-free standards. The group's first patent policy draft was criticised heavily for endorsing companies' rights to collect royalties for standards endorsed by the W3C.

The group said that it revised its patent policy draft after receiving thousands of e-mail messages expressing concern about the royalty fees. Advocates of open-source software were particularly unsettled by the possibility of royalty rates being attached to international Web standards.

Although the group has changed its stance on the matter, it still has to work out how to deal with technology that is only available for a fee.

The W3C said that it is now seeking further public comment on the new draft. At least one more public draft will be released for review this year, and then a final draft will be presented to the W3C Advisory Committee Review.

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