Re[2]: Fussy Web Developers Use GIFs

Subject: Re[2]: Fussy Web Developers Use GIFs
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 10:32:52 -0500

Goodness, I turn my back on you folks for a second and look what happens!

But let us remember that Unisys owns the technology. That they allow
some groups of people unlicensed use of the technology is not the
point because they could change their licensing rules whenever they
feel like it.

Now, before we grab our diving caps and look for the deep end of the pool,
let's stop and think, shall we?

Web developers, when they put a GIF image on their site are *not* using
Unisys' technology. Period. Someone once did use patented Unisys
technology at one point in the process, but that point is *not* when the
image was copied on to the web server. That happened earlier, when the
image was stored in a file format. It's the compression technology that
Unisys patented.

You are not now, nor will you ever be, liable for Unisys royalties for
having GIFs on your site. Period. "Possesion of GIFs" is not a patent
infringing crime. It cannot be a patent infringement, for the pure and
simple reason that the patent doesn't cover image storage, IT COVERS THE
COMPRESSION PROCESS. A file, sitting there on your web server whiling away
the hours waiting to be downloaded doesn't re-compress itself at random
intervals. It just sits there. Nothing which sits there without moving or
acting in any way can *possibly* infringe a patent. Rocks would count as
"prior art." ;{>}

Now, it's possible that Unisys could decide to commit corporate suicide
and demand a fee from your visitors for allowing them the privilege of
using the decompression process. Companies have done stupid things in the
past, after all (though I'm hard pressed to think of one a colossally
stupid as that one would be). But even if they did, you wouldn't pay the
fee; the viewer would.


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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In God we trust; all others must provide data.
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Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.


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