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Re: Free way to decompress LZW archives?

On Tue, Jul 24, 2001 at 11:17:27PM -0600, John Galt wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, Dylan Thurston wrote:
> >I recently came across some data published as a .LZW archive which I
> >want to process.  It seems that the standard program for dealing with
> >the archives, lha, is non-free.  I found a web page documenting the
> >format; is there any obstruction to producing a free
> >compressor/decompressor?  Has anyone tried to convince the authors to
> >free their program?
> http//www.cpe.surrey.ac.uk/support/faq/gif_lzw.htm
> Probably impossible.  lha is under the Sperry patent.  The Sperry patent
> should sunset RSN: it was granted in 1985, 16 years ago.
> http//www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm
> shows how long a patent is for--20 years.
> Until 2005, don't bother trying: you'll only be looking at a jail term.

Just to be clear: the term is now 20 years from time of first
application, right?  When was the patent applied for?

Anyway, thanks for the pointers!  I'll try to convince the source to
change their file formats.

	Dylan Thurston

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