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Re: Richer & richer semantics?

From: Keith M. Corbett <kmc@harlequin.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 1996 15:02:13 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Terry Allen <tallen@fsc.fujitsu.com>
Cc: tbray@textuality.com, w3c-sgml-wg@www10.w3.org
Terry, are you also opposed to server cache? The publisher is only informed
of the first hit on his server.

I doubt that even a perfect extensible markup language would contribute
much toward solving the problems you've raised.  The underlying conflicts
are social and economic, not technical.

When a document crosses the line from content into user interface it's no
longer information or speech, it's a program to drive a data processing
terminal. That means, among other things, that all bits on open display are
basically up for grabs.  Open protocols facilitate stealing, closed ones
facilitate hoarding. From this angle, IMG and FRAME are no more problematic
than http GET.  When http is illegal, only criminals will transport

New client/server protocols with micropayments might provide better
incentives for publishers to remain open. Your publisher wants to publish a
price list on their Web site and to enforce contracts expressed and
implied; their clients want to preview the data and to negotiate through
brokers on price and features and to enforce warranties on performance.
They're going to want a refund when they don't get what they asked for.
Semantic markup may help here, if publishers can point to a page and say
"see it said right there we were *selling* the last page of the mystery
novel". But that kind of thing will be as popular as shrinkwrapped license
agreements and the fine print on car ads. 

Online page charges won't catch on unless the system is ubiquitous, easy,
cheap, and enforcible. Combining commerce with high bandwidth may bring
per-transaction costs down far enough to reduce the incentives for clients
to "cheat".  The newspaper distribution model may be the one to watch. When
you're selling thousands of copies at 50c and leaving bundles out on the
street you don't worry overmuch about people who clip articles and tack 'em
up on their cubicle walls. The real money is in VOLUME. 

Hmm, that's where we came in with SGML.  If we can get the lawyers and bean
counters interested there may be some role for XML ... maybe combining AI
and ecash ... I'm picturing some weird hybrid with DSSSL + agents + JEPI +
EDI  ...


At 10:15 AM 12/21/96 -0800, Terry Allen wrote:
>Tim Bray writes:
>>Hell, I want general transclusion a la Xanadu...
>which is another linking behaviour that the Web already has,
>perhaps unfortunately.
>For years now (that's eons in Web time) I've been complaining
>that involuntary transclusion works against the interests of
>copyright holders and dramatically reduces their desire to
>make copyrighted material available inthe Web environment.
>IMG was bad enough (from this angle); FRAMEs are dreadful
>(from this angle).  I don't see any simple solution, and maybe
>linking is not the arena in which a solution should be sought.
>But if this group can find a way to construct links such that
>the server of the transcluded object can detect that it's being
>fetched for the purpose of transclusion, that would be an
>immense win.  Awesome, even.
>Xanadu evades this matter by assuming that everyone has already
>signed on to a copyright protection and micropayment scheme.
>The real world is, of course, different.
>    Terry Allen    Fujitsu Software Corp.    tallen@fsc.fujitsu.com
>"In going on with these experiments, how many pretty systems do we build,
> which we soon find outselves obliged to destroy?" - Benjamin Franklin
>  A Davenport Group Sponsor:  http://www.ora.com/davenport/index.html
Received on Saturday, 21 December 1996 15:04:17 UTC

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