Re: CompuServe Takes GIF Proprietary

Phillip M. Hallam-Baker (
Mon, 9 Jan 1995 20:49:37 +0100

In article <> you write:

|>Thus spake Steven Mikes, on 5 Jan 1995 02:05:22 GMT...
|>>I would also advise anyone who currently has or uses GIF images to
|>>convert them to JPEG or some other non-proprietary format as soon
|>>as possible. There are a number of public domain "pegger" programs
|>>that can be ftp'd from most major ftp sites that convert graphics
|>>file formats to JPEG from GIF.

I would be interested to hear a lawyers opinion on the legal standing of this.
Compuserve were aware of the possible infringement of their copyright but did
not issue a statement indicating their intention to enforce it, this sounds
very like the IBM case with respect to the PC. The point being that both IBM
and Compuserve gained a commercial advantage from the widespread use of an
interface format.

In any case the point is moot, Compuserve are not trying to claim the standard
they are being screwed by Unisys. Compuserve developed Gif in ignorance of
Unisys intending to file patent claims. (Great patent system you got in the
former colononies!) Otherwise they would probably have steered clear of it
and used somat else...

Patent rights are rather different because they are a grant of a monopoly and
hence anti trust type considerations do not apply. Non enforcement does not
affect rights to enforce later.

|>This won't help Web authors much because HTML cannot read jpegs as inline
|>images... I already use jpegs as linked images because they are smaller by an
|>amount depending on the compression factor.

Incorporating JPEG is not a big hassle.

Phillip M. Hallam-Baker

Not Speaking for anyone else.