The W3C and Its Patent Policy Controversy: A Case Study of Authority and Legitimacy in Internet Governance

30 Pages Posted: 13 May 2012

See all articles by Andrew L. Russell

Andrew L. Russell

Stevens Institute of Technology - Program in Science & Technology Studies; Johns Hopkins University

Date Written: August 31, 2003

Abstract

This paper argues that the preservation of openness and innovation in Internet technologies requires more than code; it requires institutions to govern code in a manner that is consistent with the values of a broad community of stakeholders. My specific claim is that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the body responsible for developing technical standards for the World Wide Web (Web), adjusted its mechanisms and policies in order to preserve a balance between centralized authority and decentralized, grassroots public inputs. By virtue of its efforts to accommodate larger participation throughout its recent patent policy dispute, the W3C strengthened its claim to be a legitimate, more democratic regulator of the Web.

Suggested Citation

Russell, Andrew L., The W3C and Its Patent Policy Controversy: A Case Study of Authority and Legitimacy in Internet Governance (August 31, 2003). TPRC 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2056900

Andrew L. Russell (Contact Author)

Stevens Institute of Technology - Program in Science & Technology Studies ( email )

College of Arts & Letters
Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

History of Science and Technology
3505 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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