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What if Tim Berners-Lee Had patented HTML?

Francis Gurry, the Director of the UN's WIPO, claims the web would have been better if Tim Berners-Lee had patented HTML and licensed it. He does so on camera and in front of shocked members of the Internet Society and CERN. Ironically, exactly this thought experiment came up for the web's 20th birthday on this August 6th.

For a more rigorous perspective, three Boston University School of Law faculty have shown that lawsuits by non-practicing entities, aka patent trolls, have cost technology companies half a trillion dollars of lost wealth over the past two decades, with little benefit to small inventors, instead reducing the incentive to innovate. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 9, 2011 - 80 comments

Dapper: an API for any website

Dapper: The Data Mapper
A recently launched service that allows users to extract data from any website into XML, and transform or build applications and mashups with that data. Described by it's creators as a way to, "easily build an API for any website... through a visual and intuitive process". Plagiarism Today, meanwhile, has cause for concern, "Dapper is a scraper. Nothing more... now the technologically impaired can scrape content from any site... the potential danger [is] very, very real".
posted by MetaMonkey on Sep 5, 2006 - 31 comments

Beatpick: not evil at all at all?

We know Magnatune aren't evil, but as web record labels go, are Beatpick less evil still? In his response to a post at the Creative Commons blog, Beatpick's David D'Atri sets out their philosophy, and highlights some differences.
posted by nthdegx on Mar 7, 2006 - 10 comments

All your plugin capability are belong to us

Eolas® Technologies Inc. owns the plugin concept. Meet US Patent 5,838,906: "The patent claims to cover mechanisms for embedding objects within distributed hypermedia documents, where at least some of the object's data is located external to the document, and there is a control path to the object's implementation to support user interaction with the object." Eolas sued Microsoft, was awarded $521 million, Microsoft is appealing, and the W3C held (Macromedia hosted) an ad hoc meeting on the recent court decision and launched a discussion list. Microsoft plans to promptly make changes to Internet Explorer. If this follows through, what are the negative and positive implications?
posted by aaronshaf on Sep 2, 2003 - 29 comments

The ThreeRing Web Mapping project

The ThreeRing Web Mapping project adds a dot to a blank canvas showing your geographic location (or that of your ISP, as best it can guess based on your IP address). They've also got a code snippet to put on your own site that automagically adds your visitors to the map. The US is already clearly defined, Europe is getting there, and Oceania is coming into view. (They've also got one of them Tag-Board thingies, which is painful to read for any length of time.)
posted by gleuschk on Apr 5, 2002 - 26 comments

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