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The Standard: The Latest GIF Tiff

Apr 26, 2000, 22:54 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark K. Anderson)

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"On April 14, AccuWeather.com announced that it would in the next month cease distributing weather maps and other weather graphics to its clients using the GIF file format, opting to send out its images with the open-source PNG standard instead."

"The change will be transparent to nearly all visitors to the site because most Web browsers, including Microsoft (MSFT) 's Internet Explorer versions 4 and 5, as well as Netscape version 4, support PNG. However, open-source advocates are calling the AccuWeather switch-over a victory in the ongoing campaign against GIFs - which contain a file-encoding system patented in America, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Britain by Unisys (UIS) .com - and against software patents in general...."

"According to Mark Starr, Unisys' patent counsel, the terms of LZW licenses have varied as the Web has developed. One type of agreement seeks a fraction of 1 percent royalty on sales of LZW/GIF products, while another charges a flat $5,000 fee. (GIFs produced by commercial software, such as Adobe Photoshop or The Gimp, are already covered by the software vendor's license. However, software that dynamically creates GIFs to generate maps or charts on the fly generally needs to be licensed.)"

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