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Two Standards Groups Ask Vendors to Eliminate Restrictive License Clauses

(September 2003) posted on Tue Sep 09, 2003

ICC and ISO technical groups seek to promote freer exchange of profiles


Two leading standards-setting organizations are asking vendors of ICC profiles and profile-building software to eliminate restrictive licensing language that prevents customers from exchanging profiles with others or embedding profiles in job files.

The International Color Consortium (ICC) and Technical Committee 130 (Graphic Technology) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have sent a letter to vendors asking them to modify their customer licenses. The two organizations are concerned about clauses in vendors' licenses that prohibit their customers from distributing the profiles to third parties and regard the clauses as obstacles to all-digital workflows.

The letter to vendors points out that the clauses are too restrictive for workflow procedures that use file formats defined in the PDF/X family of international standards: "In some cases, these standards may require the embedding of output profiles, or both input and output profiles with the data being exchanged. Moreover, because these standards define file formats for data exchange they will normally involve exchanges between unrelated organizations. In many situations, the sender in these 'open' exchanges (such as publication advertising) may not be able to identify all of the recipients."
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The two organizations propose that vendors explicitly permit customers to exchange or embed profiles for rendering and/or processing of the specific objects to which they are related. The letter states that, "We believe this change will reflect business reality."
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The International Color Consortium was established in 1993 to encourage the evolution of a vendor-neutral, cross-platform color-management system architecture and components. NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies serves as the ICC's administrative secretariat.

Technical Committee 130 (TC 130) is the ISO panel that is developing standards for all phases of printing. (ICC: www.color.org)


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