It is interesting to see the differences in approach between the ISO JPEG group and the ISO MPEG group on IP
The JPEG FAQ says
the JPEG committee have always tried to ensure in their standardisation work that the 'baseline' part of their standards should be implementable without payment of either royalty fees (volume related) or license fees (non-volume related).
The MPEG site says
Various MPEG standards have benefited from the existence of patent pools where organisations wishing to license technology included in such standards can negotiate a single license covering all the essential patents identified by those organizations which administer the patent pools.
Licenses, even peppercorn payments, are a real stumbling block for artisan developers, who were the bedrock of FOSS until the coporates co-opted it. You cannot attach payment to something you give away for free: the difficulties with H.264 are a current example of this. The solution seems to be that the codecs must be provided as part of the graphics card (which is paid for): NVidia is associated with this approach. Developers have to reach outside the self-constructed FOSS gilded cage to something posing as hardware.
It may be that this single issue of media standards licensing is what has prevented (and will continue to prevent) SOHO adoption of Linux. The question needs to be asked whether the MPEG group really has the necessary balance of interests (though I am not saying it necessarily does not: just that it is an economically, socially and technically important issue.)
While I don't think that all voluntary IT standards automatically should be RAND-z, I cannot think of any examples where I think it (RAND) has been a win for everyone, off-hand. Patents shape the direction of the R&D that corporations do, but the corporations need to do R&D to compete and live regardless of patents: innovation is in no way predicated on ownership. And certainly I think that strong market success obliterates the value and social usefulness of IP protection.
The idea that "open" = no IP in a standard is an overbalance in favor of implementers just as the idea that a single party has unequal say in a working group can overbalance in favor of a contributor.
But the practical issue is not ownership but RAND versus RAND-z licensing. I don't get Jason's point about imbalance. The paying users get a good technology and the IP-owning vendors get a good profit would be quite an eccentric definition of balance.
Spurred on by these kinds of considerations, I have sent an email to the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 secretariat today, to draw attention to the JPEG group's resolutions on IP (as linked above). I think it reflects where SC34 has long been at, but I would like it to be more explicit, and helpful for all concerned, and for the public who have heard talk of submarine patents and so on. Of course, SC34 are no more bound to pay any attention to me than to Charles Manson: but I hope NB delegations and other standards committees will follow the JPEG lead. Anyway, here is one of the resolutions:
Again, at every JPEG meeting the following resolution is also passed unanimously concerning the work of the JPEG committee's parent body within ISO, JTC1/SC29. "SC 29 affirms and supports ISO policy that requires disclosure of the existence of Intellectual Property (IP) rights or pending rights (such as patents or pending patent applications), hereafter referred to as "IP rights", associated with any technology submitted to SC 29/WGs for consideration for inclusion in any ISO/IEC standard. Specifically, SC 29 affirms the ISO policy of only considering technology that is free of "IP rights" or which is available on a royalty and license fee free basis or which is available under reasonable terms and conditions on a non-discriminatory basis. "