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Digital communication is both pervasive and vital across society. This creates a growing public interest in the technical standards that proscribe public communications. The public is demanding open standards. The rallying cry "open standards" means different things to different groups. This article reviews the different needs of specific groups of society and develops ten different requirements for open standards. To implement these requirements, changes to the rules and procedures of standardization organizations, international bodies (e.g., WIPO, WTO), and national patent office rules are proposed. Interestingly, technical changes, in the form of new standardized protocols, rather than legal or policy changes, appear to be the most important changes to meet the requirements of open standards.
Date of Publication: May 2009