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Copyright Office: Everyone Uses MSIE, Right? 101

richardtallent writes "Tim Bray caught that the United States Copyright Office's upcoming copyright pre-registration web application apparently only works with Internet Explorer, and they are seeking written comments from anyone who might have a problem being forced to use IE. Slashdotters, start your snail-mail."
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Copyright Office: Everyone Uses MSIE, Right?

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  • Be Respectful! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kajoob ( 62237 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:02AM (#13278707)
    Can I just say that if you do write in, don't flame. Be intelligent, clear, concise, to the point, and most of all RESPECTFUL. This isn't a rant, this is a opportunity to voice a legitimate gripe. Since they're requesting our opinions, they'll likely listen - let's not blow it.
  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:06AM (#13278738)
    I'm willing to bet it's a combination of these factors and not out of malice or of spite for Firefox and other browsers. No need to get /.'s collective panties in a bunch, I'm sure they're willing to fully cooperate with said users to develo pa solution that satisfies all parties.
  • by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:09AM (#13278788) Journal
    I simply tell people that IE's been discontinued for the macintosh. Everyone recognizes the Mac as a different platform that other people use, and the fact that IE is no longer shipping on it is a good motivator. Simple, easy to understand for non-techs, and respectful.
    • Might also be useful to point out that the Unix version of IE is no longer available either.
      • Yeah, and it seems the Linux version of IE isn't available anymore, nor was it at any point unless you count Wine'd IE.
        • Well I was thinking you can illustrate that not only is market share for IE going down because of things like Firefox, and people switching to other browsers, but the platforms that IE used to run are also no longer being supported. e.g. Solaris, HP-UX, Mac OS[0]. Not only that but whatever features they are considering that "require" IE will probably alienate a large section of Windows users as well.

          [0]Well, sorta. You can still get it, AND it comes pre-installed in OS X, but when was the last update
          • It seems then that a decent reasoning behind making this system non-IE based would be that a decent number of people either don't use 1) an OS supported by IE or 2) a version of IE that will implement these "technologies." The USPTO could end up being just plain annoying to the decently large number of people using Firefox, Opera, Links or any other browser and even those who use older versions of IE. Fire up that there pen & paper!
          • it comes pre-installed in OS X

            Not anymore it doesn't. At least it didn't with my copy of Tiger, and I did a default installation.

    • Another possibility is to mention that IE7 renders the page different than IE6 - and leave the question whether they want to "design for IE6", "design for IE7" or design according to standards.

      When people state that they are "designing for Internet Explorer", it is pretty easy to ask what version they are "designing for". When they get uneasy about the upcoming (and apparently unexpected) IE7 and the memories of (poor design with) several stylesheets, several conditional scripts, the DOM/standards argument
    • Copyright GC/ I&R

      P.O. Box 70400

      Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400

      Dear Sirs,

      Regarding your request for comments1 [] regarding “The Copyright Office is supplementing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on preregistration of copyright claims” announcement. I would like to state my comments as follows with regard to the exclusive use requirement of the Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer web browser for electronic-only preregistration forms.

  • Anyone who actually cares about their web application reaching a larger audience will automatically make an effort to get firefox, netscape working regardless of what the law saids.

  • by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:11AM (#13278807) Homepage Journal
    for mail:
    Copyright GC/ I&R
    P.O. Box 70400
    Southwest Station
    Washington, DC 20024-0400
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and make sure the copyright office doesn't get told about it. Two birds in one stone.
  • Just how much did the Mozilla Foundation contribute to the Bush/Cheney campaign compared to Microsoft?
  • by freality ( 324306 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:24AM (#13278930) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago they probably would have assumed IE and skipped the public comment process. Now there's too many creatives using macs.

    Now, asking for 5 copies of a comment letter is like saying "Unless you're a corporate lawyer representing a major publishing house, keep your comments to yourself. You serf."

    And no, they don't care about Linux users since it's the office of copyRIGHT, not copyLEFT.. that office is located at
  • can we just slashdot the patent office website into oblivion? i think they'll get the idea.
  • Security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadren ( 891416 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:26AM (#13278955)
    Perhaps it should be mentioned that it's odd that Homeland Security said that it's best to use an alternative to IE, and the same government is requiring IE.
    • That is a damn good point and one I completely forgot. I will have to remember to mention that the next time I clean 700 viruses and 250 pieces of spyware of my relative's computer (those numbers are NOT exaggerated).

      As much of a PC person as I am, my new stock suggestion to relatives is "if you can't build your own PC, but a Mac."
    • That's because we now need a Central Homeland Security Agency. Its purpose would be to oversee the operations of the Department of Homeland Security, and all the other agencies of subversion created under the Bush Administration.

      It's what Dick Cheney is working on now but won't tell anybody. ;-)

  • Remember kids, getting a copyright without Internet Explorer on a Microsoft operating system is the first step towards piracy. Look what happens when Amazon puts out a patent. Those are made on Apple computers. First thing after they are anounced they are proven to be weird. Don't take chances USE MICROSOFT!
  • by Tachikoma ( 878191 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:33AM (#13279035)
    . . .only permitting people who drive stationwagons to enter the postoffice parking lot? What genius CIO thought it would be a good idea to limit people who can use this to one, albeit large, sect of people? If I said "hey boss, lets make a great web app, but lets only let MSIE people use it because I'm incapable of making it available to more than one browser and MSIE is the whore of internet browsers and lets anything in" he would laugh at me. Then fire me. And then laugh a lot more. And then have a heart attack, but that's just my CIO...

    "I'm sorry ma'am, you can only apply for a patent if you only have 1 leg."

    "But I have two legs, its much more effiecient and I'm much more stable!"

    "Two legs huh? That's nice but my give-a-shit is broken today, so you're going to have to handicap yourself like everyone else to use this. And you have to get in the back of the line."
    • . . .only permitting people who drive stationwagons to enter the postoffice parking lot?
      And the worse is that they don't make station-wagons anymore... Just minivans and big-ass SUVs...
    • only permitting people who drive stationwagons to enter the postoffice parking lot

      Only permitting people who drive Fords to enter the postoffice parking lot. And lets restrict admittance to the building to people wearing Nike shoes while we're at it.

  • At this point in the process of developing the Copyright Office's system for online preregistration, it is not entirely clear whether the system will be compatible with web browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5.1 and higher. Filers of preregistration applications will be able to employ these Internet Explorer browsers successfully. Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims.

    Sounds like they hired the developers under the common practice of the "lowest bidder"

    • And they'll probably rehire the developers to fix the code so that it can work with other browsers. Sounds like a new business plan to me:
      1. Code website to standards but add IE only hacks that break support for other browsers.
      2. ???
      3. Profit!
      4. Get rehired for twice the price and spend 5 minutes removing IE only hacks.
      5. ???
      6. Profit!
      • Of course you could turn this around if you prefer alternative browsers.

        Build a site that works fine in Firefox/Opera/Safari/Etc. and breaks/crashes IE. All you would really need to do for this is design the site using CSS2.

        Then when they come to complain hand them a supplemental contract to add IE support.

        Might be a bit more work then what the parent proposed, but it's a lot more likely to work.

        Just make sure the initial contract doesn't require IE support :)
  • has anyone found a way to submit comments via he web? Having to submit comments in writing is silly, and inconsistent with what other US government agencies do.

    Assuming the site only works for IE, that means, chances are that the site is in violation of federal law.

    I urge people to check all .gov and .mil sites in the US and urge them to comply with section 508. If they fail to do so, they may be vulnerable to a lawsuit in Federal Court.

  • Maybe the "United States Copyright Office's upcoming copyright pre-registration web application" was a pro bono work from "MS Business Solutions Development Group" with help from the "Win2003 Server Group"?
  • Of course you must first validate that you are using a GENUINE Microsoft operating system.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was pro-bono by Microsoft (or some scandalous way of getting some microslave do it)
    The old way of 60 patents a month just wasn't cutting it, now with an IE method, they can bump up to 90.

    Seriously who patents clicking of the mouse. Software patents blow.

    Not just written responses, but justifications! Smart to make it writing though, seriously, who knows how to write these days?
  • What this is (Score:3, Informative)

    by SwiftOne ( 11497 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @12:10PM (#13279371)
    The article doesn't make it very clear what this is talking about, but here's what I've pieced together from the various links:

    * "The ART Act amends section 408 of the Copyright Act to add a new subparagraph (f), which directs the Register of Copyrights to allow reregistration for any work that is in a class of works that the
    Register determines has had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial distribution."

    In other words, if in danger of infringement, you can register your copyright in advance. (Remember that under U.S. (and many others) law, you HAVE copyright from the moment of creation, but REGISTERING lets the government know. I'm guessing from context that they normally only let you register upon publication.

    So this is enacting a law to let studios sue more easily when their movies get pirated on day 0.


    * "Therefore, this notice seeks information whether any potential preregistration filers would have difficulties using Internet Explorer (version 5.1 or higher) to file preregistration claims, and if so, why. More generally, in the interest of achieving support for browsers in the Office's preregistration processing environment, this notice inquires whether (and why) an eligible party who anticipates preregistering a claim on the electronic-only form will not be able to use Internet Explorer to do so, or will choose not to preregister if it is necessary to use Internet Explorer."

    So: Unless you are someone who is going to file one of these, they don't care about your comments. Slashdotting the postal system isn't likely to get a response. (Of course, they COULD respond to the comments anyway, but they aren't asking for them)
    • On the flip side, preregistration allows a creator to secure their claim prior to entering negotiations with a publisher. Then you don't get years of litigation about which stuff you did before you signed the contract and which stuff you did afterwards. This is just one more step towards putting distributors in their place, which is that of a business providing a service to the creative talent, rather than a business that employs the creative talent.

      I imagine that wasn't the intent of those who lobbied fo
  • This is bullshit! I can't believe a government website would be allowed to make a site only viewable to one brand of browser, and only one OS. Then again, the US Patent office is clearly lacking in the computer skills they need from the kind of shit they've let get copywritten. >:(
  • 1. Linux is free (as in beer).
    2. Windows is not free.
    3. The applicable statute and federal regulation establishes a right for any developer of a work in the covered class to preregister that work for copyright.
    4. Requiring the use of a web browser only available with a non-free operating system amounts to the requirement of an additional fee. This fee is not permitted by statute, because the Copyright Office is not given permission to cause fees to be collected by other agencies. Nor could any subsid
  • Date
    #-triple space

    Copyright GC/ I&R
    P.O. Box 70400
    Southwest Station
    Washington, DC 20024-0400
    #-Double space
    To whom it may concern:
    #-Double space
    #-Double space
    Seperated by double spaces #-Double space
    #-Triple space (for signature)
    Print Name
    Return Address Seperating by single spaces
  • by bsdbigot ( 186157 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @12:46PM (#13279707) Journal
    The anti-copyright crowd and the anti-MSIE crowd are pretty much one in the same. A Venn diagram [] of the two would probably look like a basketball in a red/green stereoscopic photo. Where's the problem? People that don't/won't use IE are likely never to transact any business with the Copyright Office, other than to deluge them with comments about how if they ever were to file for Copyright protection, they would have to *gasp* use a technology that is readily available? Unbelievable.
  • rtfa? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mullein ( 37149 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @12:58PM (#13279819)
    From the federal register link in the /. article:

    "Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims."

    It doesn't seem that they plan on restricting usage to IE users only, and in fact sounds more like they have the position, "it might work on firefox, but we haven't tested it."
    • What's stupid is that they're missing Safari/KHTML browsers. Safari right now has the #3 slot behind Firefox, and ahead of Netscape. In addition, it's the system default web browser for MacOS, so almost all Mac users are using it. (Just like almost all Windows users are using IE because it's the system default; it doesn't help that Firefox on Mac sucks ass.)
  • It is so kind for them to ask. In other places I've seen IE-only solutions being done out of ignorance.
  • Will you be happy when they make it a simple cross browser form where you can upload a MS Word doc? :)

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"