Re: ISO pulls back

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Sun Oct 05 2003 - 09:33:48 CST

A couple of quick (belated) reactions for anyone following this:

1) The original news that ISO wanted to charge for use of country codes
reminded me of an ill-fated effort by the Harris Bank in Chicago a few years
ago to charge customers for asking questions of its tellers (it became the
butt of many jokes). The circumstances are different, but the notion that
anything that might be given a price should be given a price is similarly

2) As it turns out the original news was incorrect, but perhaps the reason
that people were so ready to believe it may go beyond the ambient levels of
suspicion of all large organizations. Yes, ISO does some very important
work and intellectual property should be respected, but one instance stands
out in my mind of someone who was incredulous at what he received when he
paid for a copy of ISO 6438 - and then on top of that he later found
virtually the same thing legitimately for free on the web. (This in turn
reminds me of an individual here in Niamey who tried to sell me a copy of an
outdated 8-bit font used locally for the equivalent of $400 under the guise
that it was intellectual property - I passed the deal up and later found the
font free for download on the site of a researcher helping with Unicode
translations.) If this incident was more than just an isolated case of a
customer feeling cheated, then maybe ISO has something more than a PR issue.

Don Osborn

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pim Blokland" <>
To: "Unicode mailing list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: ISO pulls back

> Christopher John Fynn schreef:
> > >
> >
> > <<There is no proposal currently being considered by ISO to impose
> > charges for use of these codes, including on the World Wide Web
> and
> > in software applications.>>
> >
> > This kind of leaves it open for them to impose charges at some
> future
> > date. It would be much more satisfactory if they stated clearly
> that
> > they would *never* charge for the use of these codes.
> Well, scrolling down in that press release, I see that the last
> sentence does say:
> "ISO will continue to allow use of its country, currency and
> language codes free of charge."
> Pim Blokland

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