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W3C tells US Copyright Office: IE is not the only fruit

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The US Copyright Office wants to limit the number of browsers that can submit online forms to its site. The agency has proposed that, temporarily at least, it will accept copyright claims via forms submitted from only Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape browsers.

Perhaps it is just feeling very retro, but whatever the reason, the W3C is not impressed, according to a report from InfoWorld.

In a letter to the Copyright Office, Tim Berners-Lee and Daniel Weitzner, W3C director and W3C technology and society domain leader respectively, wrote: "The proposed system would be contrary to at least the spirit of federal information policy adopted by the E-Government Act of 2002."

The office says that it does intend to be compatible with a wider variety of browsers, such as Mozilla, Firefox and Safari. It said that it is developing its systems using off-the-shelf Siebel Systems software which has only been tested with IE and Netscape.

Julia Huff, the Copyright Office's COO said that the agency was under tight time constraints as it is obliged to have a pre-registration system up and running by 24 October. "It [our system] may work well with other browsers, but they haven't tested those yet with the version of the Siebel software we're using right now."

She went on to say that the agency plans to upgrade next year, to a version of the Siebel software that does support other browsers.

Meanwhile, Berners-Lee and friends, called for a vendor neutral approach from the agency, and warned that single browser compatibility would restrict access to the agency's services. Many MacOS, Linux and Unix users wouldn't be able to access the service, and disabled users could also have difficulties, Berners-Lee said. ®

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