[Seth-Trips] GIF-giving party, Friday, June 20

Seth David Schoen schoen at loyalty.org
Fri Jun 13 00:54:47 PDT 2003

U.S. Patent 4,558,302 expires on June 20.  Let's celebrate!

Lempel-Ziv-Welch is a mainly obsolete (but pretty cool) compression
algorithm which produced a great deal of mischief for free software
after being widely implemented in popular protocols and file formats.
Most famous among these is GIF, the CompuServe Graphics Interchange
Format.  Unfortunately, Unisys, the patent assignee, chose to delay
enforcing the patent until the technology had already become popular.

You can read more about this at the Burn All GIFs site (which
encourages replacing GIFs with non-patented images, such as PNGs).


Software and algorithm patented have proliferated enormously since
the LZW patent was filed 20 years ago.  Today technology companies
simply assume that everyone is an infringer -- but litigation is
avoided most of the time by a strange kind of detente and simply
hangs over everyone's head like, l'havdil, the threat of nuclear
war used to.

Now that LZW is finally entering the public domain, it's time to
celebrate.  My LZW patent expiration party will be at my apartment (1022A
Shotwell Street, between 24th and 25th, near the 24th Street BART), at
7:00p on Friday, June 20, 2003.

I can't hope to match the excitement of the RSA Patent Expiration Party.
That was a much bigger party than this will be.  After all, RSA uses huge
integers, whereas LZW produces small files.

This is a GIF-giving party.  Bring a GIF to give to a friend.

Seth David Schoen <schoen at loyalty.org> | Very frankly, I am opposed to people
     http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/   | being programmed by others.
     http://vitanuova.loyalty.org/     |     -- Fred Rogers (1928-2003),
                                       |        464 U.S. 417, 445 (1984)

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