Why geeks need to get involved in policy making.
Recent events have shown the power of intellectual property in the online space. A few weeks ago, Microsoft ran into some hot waters over a patent related to patents. This week brings up a new set of challenges as the World Wide Web Consortium fights attempt to raise licensing fees on critical ISO standards. While the EOLAS issue represents some problems for a small segment of the Internet (plug-ins in web browsers), the ISO effort stands to undermine the Internet as a whole, moving forward. The back story on this is that the ISO is an international body that creates standards. In the case of the recent action, the ISO has created three critical standards: one that tells how to set a country code (ISO-3166), another that sets how to identify languages (ISO-639) and one to specify currencies (ISO-4217). Historically, the ISO has levied fees from people who wanted to buy a copy of the standard but made their implementation free to everyone. Bucking the trend of making all standards royalty free, the ISO is now considering levying fees for implementing these three critical standards covering codes for languages, countries, and currencies. While the last one will have less of…Read More