Why FRAND is bad for Free Software

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Should patents that cover standards be licensed royalty-free (as W3C recommends), or should should they instead be licensed under so-called "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" (FRAND)?

FRAND is a misnomer as the terms are often unfair, unreasonable, and highly discriminatory, particularly for Free Software. In reality FRAND is only fair and reasonable to a small circle of the most powerful software companies.

Paying royalties of 0.000001 Cent per copy to implement a standard might look fair at the first sight, but such a fee would make it impossible to distribute a program as Free Software. Free Software safeguards the right to share with others. Therefore, when Free Software companies sell their software they cannot know how many people will eventually end up using it. It becomes impossible to estimate the total amount of royalties owed to patent owners; Free Software businesses will be unable to compete with their proprietary competitors and Free Software as a whole would be undermined.