UK telco giant BT surprised the internet community today when it announced
that it currently holds patents for all forms of internet pornography.
“The patents apply in the UK, most of Europe and the United States. They
are fully actionable and were taken out in 1975,” company spokesman
David Potter told reporters. “Basically the idea of delivering pornographic
images over a telephone line occurred to BT engineers over 25 years ago and
we simply patented the idea.”
BT is now expected to seek licence fees from every website that displays or
has ever displayed any form of pornographic imagery.
BT’s controversial patent
The implications of the announcement are hard to predict. It is estimated that
up to 90% of all internet traffic is porn-related but only 1% of internet users
actually admit to visiting porn sites.
BT says it will start issuing the first 2 million invoices in ‘a matter of weeks’ (to be
followed-up with red copies if payment is not received within 7 days). No specific
fee has been announced but sums of around 1 dollar per viewing, per image, have
been suggested. At that rate, BT can expect to recoup roughly 700 trillion dollars
in licence fees, making it the wealthiest entity in the history of mankind and owner
of all the money in the world.
“I personally never go to any porn sites,” Potter went on, “but I think it’s only
fair that BT should be paid for its idea.”