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Will Strange Patents Squash the Internet?

From: Steven Clift <clift@freenet.msp.mn.us>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 13:21:37 +0000
Message-Id: <199710071822.SAA06191@freenet.msp.mn.us>
To: online-news@planetarynews.com, ietf@ietf.org, www-talk@w3.org, webcasting@broadcast.net, COMMUNET@LIST.UVM.EDU

Boy, the list of patents that people are getting these days seem to 
be way too obvious to be thought of as property.  At a very basic 
level it seems to me that someone is about to essentially receive a 
patent for at it case level a set of e-mail distribution lists that 
are designed with some structure - now that is original.

What does the Internet Society, the IETF, the W3C and others do in 
reaction to these patents that seem so far out?

How does one formally submit comments into this process?  Can the 
White House issue some sort of executive order to bring some light 
into what is happening or create special rules for patents related to 
the -basic- functions of the Internet?

Following up from my post on metadata and after reading a few 
articles on digital television it struck me that a well designed 
meta-data system could allow people to preset the broadcast pushed 
bytes that people would want their set-top boxes/"TV" to store for 
later use - this patent would make that concept something you would 
have to license - come on.  From a electronic free speech or 
electronic free assembly perspective these patent contraints will 
only dampen the democractic potential of the Internet. 

Steven Clift
Democracies Online

Good Morning Silicon Valley alerted me to this:

http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,14970,00.html

			   Push patents
               raise issues for
               industry 
               By Alex Lash
               October 6, 1997, 6:45 p.m. PT 

               Push technology company
               Intermind is about to
               receive a patent it hopes
               will force Microsoft
               (MSFT), Netscape (NSCP),
               and other push players to
               pay royalties, its president
               told CNET's NEWS.COM
               today. 


- clip -

The patent covers any
               situation "when a publisher
               and subscriber exchange a
               control structure or
               metadata that automates
               consistent delivery of
               information," Intermind
               cofounder Drummond Reed
               said. "You don't just get a
               new flow of info; you get a
               whole variety of ways to
               control that flow."

               Reed's description of the
               patented technology sounds
               like the function of the
               Channel Definition Format
               (CDF) file that Internet
               Explorer 4.0 supports or
               the mechanism Netscape's
               Netcaster uses to update
               channels. Reed and
               Gardiner are counting on
               that similarity to create a
               new revenue stream for
               their struggling company.

- clipped - 
-------------------------------------------------------
     Steven L. Clift, Director, Democracies Online
     3454 Fremont Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 USA   
     Tel: 612-824-3747  E: clift@freenet.msp.mn.us

  http://www.e-democracy.org/do/ - Democracies Online
  http://freenet.msp.mn.us/people/clift/ -  Home Page
-------------------------------------------------------
Received on Tuesday, 7 October 1997 14:25:40 GMT

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