“The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress has found itself in the middle of some heated online debate about a proposal to limit full use of a new copyright registration Web site to only one browser,” Joab Jackson reports for Government Computer Weekly. “Critics decry that the choice of the browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer, shuts out users of other less popular browsers and operating systems such as Linux and Apple Computer’s Macintosh. They allege that the agency is ignoring the World Wide Web Consortium’s standards for formatting Web sites in favor of designing the site with one vendor’s product in mind.”

Jackson reports, “The office says its browser choice is limited by the commercial software package it will be using to manage the registration system, as well as the time needed to test other browsers. Under the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005, Congress mandated that the Copyright Office put a copyright preregistration system in place by Oct. 24. Additional browsers could not be tested in time for the initial rollout. ‘There was, and is, no intent to endorse a particular vendor. The office’s goal is to make the system available to everyone, and therefore to enable frequently used browsers,’ said Marybeth Peters, the Register of Copyright.”

“To some extent, the outrage may be misplaced, as the Copyright Office is primarily interested in feedback from the individuals who will actually use the system in question. The system will limited to a select audience—namely, those individuals and companies who will be allowed to preregister a work before it is officially distributed, a small group still be determined by the office. Moviemakers, for instance, may want to copyright an expensive work in production long before it hits the theaters,” Jackson reports. “Also, reliance on Internet Explorer should be short-lived. The Copyright Office team plans to upgrade to a newer version of the Siebel software which supports other browsers such as Netscape 7.2., Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla 1.7.7. Peters said that even the present version of the Siebel software ‘may work well with other browsers,’ but the office has not tested other browsers with the software. ‘The office intends to test as many browsers as it can identify and make all possible adjustments in the code to facilitate use of them. It’s a question of resources,’ Peters added.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a question of resources? What, you guys don’t have enough of our tax money? Obviously, it’s really a question of intelligence. Here’s an original thought for The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress – drop the Siebel software and use a product that also works with the type of browser and computer most likely to be found on moviemakers’ desks, on the set, and in their backpacks: Apple Macs using the Apple Safari browser. How’s that for efficient use of resources? Okay, now scurry back to your cubes and commission a study or twenty.

Why is the obvious problem, the limiting Siebel software, so important to The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress that it wants to force the people that the Office is supposed to serve to jump through hoops? Who picked the Siebel Software and why? How much did it cost? Who got paid and when? What did The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress know and when did they know it? And shouldn’t The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress be working to serve ALL of the people?

Contact the The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress (which interestingly works perfectly fine with Apple’s Safari borwser) here: http://www.copyright.gov/help/

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