The W3C and Its Patent Policy Controversy: A Case Study of Authority and Legitimacy in Internet Governance
30 Pages Posted: 13 May 2012
Date Written: August 31, 2003
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.
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