A tempest is building regarding control of the Internet's backbone, as reported in this recent article in Business Week. The target of the gathering storm is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a US corporation under the direction of the Commerce Department.
Simultaneously, recent patent activity raises some intriguing issues that may "affect all Web pages involving dynamically loaded browser extensions that use external data and which feature some kind of interactivity." The patent in question (US Patent 5,838,906, owned by the University of California and licensed via Eolas Technologies) "covers mechanisms for embedding objects within distributed hypermedia documents, where at least some of the object's data is located external to the document, and there is a control path to the object's implementation to support user interaction with the object. The implementation can be local or distributed across a network, and is automatically invoked based upon type information in the document or associated with the object's data."
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