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Subject: [wsia-comment] Keeping an eye on Licensing News: MS XP shenanigans and MPEG-4 Royalties

I was actually trying to keep from bringing up IPR issues before 
Requirements in WSIA and HumanMarkup gets settled, but the world is 
making that uncomfortable, so I thought I would just go ahead and 
keep you all apprised of significant, but under-reported developments:

MS claims the right to access your copy of XPPro willy-nilly:
brief blurb:
big picture:

MPEG-4 coming out of the closet, at the last minute... almost

MS checks on port 8080, so there is precious little we can do about 
it, those of us with copies of XP Pro, but since mine is only on the 
laptop I carry for mostly public presentations, I am not especially 
worried, but the precedent, if upheld whenever someone gets around to 
challenging this, will certainly have ramifications.

I will be recommending against adoption of MPEG-4 although I wish I 
did not have to do this. The last article mentions On2's VP3.2 and 
upcoming VP5, which I will investigate as an open source codec 
alternative for multimedia streaming. MPEG-4 folks I have talked to 
and who I know to be well-intentioned and upright individuals have 
claimed they (MPEG-4) would provide an unencumbered spec. This is 
going to cause me grief personally since it means I have to give up 
at least two consulting options with companies already committed to 
including MPEG-4 in their products.

Duh? Remember, if you are a ranking member of a corporate department, 
or a standards body, or working group, if you even look at a spec, 
that constitutes exposure to prior art and any subsequent adoption of 
a competing spec can be challenged, and patent rights extended to any 
profitable use of the competing spec if it resembles the patented 

This is very serious. Sorry to be a spoil sport, but even the 
proponents of various heavily encumbered specs don't seem to 
understand that they are paving the way for such lawsuits and endless 
delays in the adoption of technology which we should already be able 
to use without such undue encumbrance. This is likely to be a 


Rex Brooks
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison, Berkeley, CA, 94702 USA, Earth
W3Address: http://www.starbourne.com
Email: rexb@starbourne.com
Tel: 510-849-2309
Fax: By Request

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