Pictbridge Licensing and CIPA Annoyances

16 04 2006

While trying to get Blk‘s Sanyo 7500 phone hooked up to some reasonable system for downloading images, I came across the vileness that is the ‘PictBridge’ technology. Wikipedia has an excellent article about this.

The gist is, you can’t talk to a device that uses PictBridge technology unless you pay the Camera and Imaging Products Association some… confusing amount of money for ‘certification’. Their FAQ is confusing, but they say:

An initial application fee for certification of PictBridge compliant products will cost 500,000 yen. It costs 700,000 yen for CIPA members and non-CIPA members. When a logo certification tool is purchased, an additional 1,400,000 yen for printer, 800,000 yen for digital still camera respectively is required.”

What this means is basically if I wanted to write a driver for Linux that would support a PictBridge device – I’d have to shell out $15k or thereabouts, just for the privilege of writing support for their device.

Can someone please tell me how this is a good idea for anyone EXCEPT the CIPA? It sounds suspiciously like a way to not only stifle competition on the device, but also make sure the device standard never gets widely accepted.

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