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[FYI] WIPO called by ASPs


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Keeping Up With the Software Joneses  

By Alexander G. Higgins 

The Associated Press 

G E N E V A, May 3 — Some of the biggest names in computers and 
communications have asked the United Nations to help regulate a 
system they claim will ease the headache and cost of keeping up with 
software advances, spokesmen said today. A consortium including AT&T, 
IBM, Microsoft and about 460 other companies say software that runs 
on powerful computers accessed via the Internet — instead of loaded 
on each PC — will be widely available in two years from so-called 
application service providers.   

ASPs Becoming Mainstream “A year ago when I talked about ASP I was 
from the moon,” said Traver Gruen-Kennedy, consortium chairman. “By 
this time next year, this will begin to feel mainstream. A year after 
that, we will look around and say, why didn’t we do this years a 
long, long time ago.” The corporations are working with the United 
Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization to set up a way of 
avoiding or settling contract disputes with customers. The group, 
called the Application Service Provider Industry Consortium, turned 
to WIPO earlier this year to help cope with legal complications 
stemming from the international nature of the Internet, said Gruen-
Kennedy, an executive with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,-based Citrix 
Systems Inc. Users may use a network server in one country, software 
in another and a data center in a third country, he said. Francis 
Gurry, director of the arbitration and mediation center at WIPO, said 
the U.N. agency, set up to protect copyrights and patents, already 
has experience in resolving Internet disputes — over the rights to 
trade marks in Web addresses. WIPO is looking to create a dispute 
settlement that is fair, quick and inexpensive, he said.  

Two Forces Behind ASPs Two forces are driving the ASP idea. Software 
manufactures want to eliminate piracy of their word processing and 
other programs. Users are tired of the seemingly endless “treadmill” 
of buying new versions and ever more powerful computers.  

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