GIF announcement from CompuServe
Mon, 2 Jan 1995 07:21:23 +0100

Just a couple days ago CompuServe, Inc. made an announcement that for all
pratical purposes kills GIF as a format usable by the WWW and in HTML-based
email, etc.
Basically the provisions of their announcement are:
1) GIF uses LZW compression which is patented by UniSys. CompuServe has
permission to license people to use LZW in GIF but they have many very scary
provisions of their agreement (which I will post in full tomorrow):
2) They are charging a license fee of $.15 per copy or 1.5% of the gross
sale price of your product, whichever is greater. All users of your software
must be registered before they can get your software. This essentially means
that freeware and shareware CANT USE GIF.
3) Even more importantly, GIF can only be used in conjunction with the
CompuServe information service.
4) If you sign their license agreement, if for any reason in the future the
agreement is broken, including their one-sided termination of the agreement,
you must stop using GIF code, images, and return to them any copies of the

I can go on at much more length about the details of all this stuff, but my
conclusion is that GIF is gone as a standard image format. All of my
information comes from official documents posted by CompuServe on their own

Alex Hopmann
ResNova Software, Inc.