Copyright Program to Require Explorer

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Washington Post (08/25/05) P. D5; Krim, Jonathan

Starting Oct. 24, artists can go online to pre-register certain works for copyright protection with the U.S. Copyright Office, but are required to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Technologists and other experts object to this requirement, claiming it gives preference to one browser and thus restricts the open use of the World Wide Web. “It’s a replay of the bad old days when you built a Web site according to the behavior of an individual browser,” says World Wide Web Consortium policy official Daniel Weitzner. World Wide Web creator and W3C director Timothy Berners-Lee points to the growing importance of standards as people employ a widening variety of handheld devices to go online, while Ari Schwartz with the Center for Democracy and Technology recommends the government guarantee that the most number of tools and devices can be used by implementing more rigorous scrutiny of technology contracts. Berners-Lee says the firm hired to manage the copyright registration system and database, Siebel Systems, could easily create a tool to ensure that other browsers are compatible, but Siebel’s Stacy Schneider claims her company cannot guarantee such interoperability. She says Siebel follows W3C guidelines, but does not certify that its products are compliant with all W3C standards; rather, Siebel tests its products with the individual browsers its customers most frequently use. Copyright Office COO Julia Huff says the Oct. 24 deadline does not give Siebel enough time to modify its system to support other browsers. Copyright Office officials say Internet Explorer was selected because it is the dominant browser and presents the least potential problems for registrants.
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