From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
An open standard is a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed (e.g. open process). There is no single definition and interpretations do vary with usage.
The terms "open" and "standard" have a wide range of meanings associated with their usage. There are a number of definitions of open standards which emphasize different aspects of openness, including of the resulting specification, the openness of the drafting process, and the ownership of rights in the standard. The term "standard" is sometimes restricted to technologies approved by formalized committees that are open to participation by all interested parties and operate on a consensus basis.
The definitions of the term "open standard" used by academics, the European Union and some of its member governments or parliaments such as Denmark, France, and Spain preclude open standards requiring fees for use, as do the New Zealand, South African and the Venezuelan governments. On the standard organisation side, the W3C ensures that its specifications can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis.
Many definitions of the term "standard" permit patent holders to impose "reasonable and non-discriminatory" royalty fees and other licensing terms on implementers and/or users of the standard. For example, the rules for standards published by the major internationally recognized standards bodies such as the IETF, ISO, IEC, and ITU-T permit their standards to contain specifications whose implementation will require payment of patent licensing fees. Among these organizations, only the IETF and ITU-T explicitly refer to their standards as "open standards", while the others refer only to producing "standards". The IETF and ITU-T use definitions of "open standard" that allow "reasonable and non-discriminatory" patent licensing fee requirements.
Open standards which specify formats are sometimes referred to as open formats.
Many specifications that are sometimes referred to as standards are proprietary and only available under restrictive contract terms (if they can be obtained at all) from the organization that owns the copyright on the specification. As such these specifications are not considered to be fully Open.
- Open system (computing)
- Open specifications
- Conformity assessment
- Specification (technical standard)
- Vendor lock-in
- Network effect
- Free software