Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 17 Sep 1998 to 18 Sep 1998

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 17 Sep 1998 to 18 Sep 1998
From: Robert Maxey <Bob_Maxey -at- MTN -dot- 3COM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 17:01:43 -0600

>>I personally don't know of any case where either Compuserve or Unisys
has gone after a web developer or hosting service for using GIF images
on commercial sites. Enforcement effort--so far-- seems to have focused
on developers of image-creation and compression software that
incorporates LZW and/or produces GIFs. However:

Some observations:

1. As I understand current law regarding issues such as these, if you are a
patent or trademark holder, and you are aware that others are infringing,
then you must actively protect the work. Failure to police and attempt to
protect your rights will result in problems when the Lawyers arrive to beat
someone up. In the larger view, isn't anyone who uses the GIF format
actually breaking the law? Please, correct me if I am wrong.

2. Since many graphics programs create GIF images, and since the Web
requires them (No, I did not forget JPEG), to my way of thinking, if a
royalty or fee is due, the owners of the technology must go after every web
developer, and there are quite a few of us. not to mention, the producers
of graphics programs that allow us to create illegal artwork.

Please, gang....feel free to correct my version of the understanding. I do
not believe there is any problem with using the GIF format.

>>Most of the commercial web-site developers I know (admittedly not a lot)
>>refuse to use GIF. Some, like me, are just plain nervous. Others view it
>>as a matter of principle--see the FSF and GNU sites for the relevant

Isn't this a bit much? Not using the file format because of some perceived
potential problem? Personally, I will use them, as I have a license from
the 40 or so clip art vendors, web graphics vendors and others who supplied
me my art and graphics as well as a license to use them.

Robert "The GIF Pirate" Maxey

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