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US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service [2 Updates]
Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 02:45 PM EDT

There is a new wrinkle to the US copyright law. Hollywood usually gets whatever it wants, as you know, from Congress, but in this case, it only got most of what it wants. But the part that will interest you is this: they are asking if those making use of a new pre-registration system they are setting up will be inconvenienced if they make it usable only by Windows Internet Explorer for the time being.

I think I can say on behalf of everyone here that any governmental site that requires IE-only is unacceptable, because it locks out millions of citizens who don't have and don't want IE. I, for example, although a copyright owner, would be unable to use the new system as I don't have IE on any computer I own or have access to. I also don't want to use that browser, because it has a history of serious security flaws.

A friend was telling me just the other day about his wife's struggle to sign up for a nursing class over the internet, using an IE-only site. To register by the very short deadline, she had to go to the library and put in all her private information on a public computer using a browser known for serious security vulnerabilities. That's just not right. No one should be required to risk ID theft and other things in order to sign up for a university class or pre-register a copyright on a government web site.

Leaving that aside for a moment, the new law is, to me, an example of what happens when people do things that are, under the current laws, illegal. The more they do it, the more severe will be the laws passed to stop them.

The new law is about movies, music, video games, and other works that are illegally spread on the Internet prior to even being released in theaters and stores by the copyright owner. You'll probably recall the "Incredible Hulk" incident. Hollywood went to Congress and asked them to get rid of the requirement that you have to register a copyright to sue for statutory damages, because they were limited in civil lawsuits by the timing of the infringement, not having had time to register works that were not in finished form. But Congress didn't want to go that far, so they've set up a pre-registration system instead.

The new law, sponsored by -- who else? -- Orrin Hatch of Utah, is described in a July 22 Copyright Office Request for Comments, and was signed into law on April 27, 2005. It is called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. Title I of the act is the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, or ``ART Act,'' which addresses copyright infringement of works committed prior to their authorized commercial distribution, or pre-release infringement. They really should call it the Hollywood Studios Rights and Theft Prevention Act, because that is who asked for it and who will be using it. There are new criminal penalties for certain acts of pre-release infringement. And they've set up a new pre-registration system, so offenders can be dunned appropriately in civil lawsuits such as the RIAA is so fond of.

Let me say flat out: I can't see any justification for spreading big-budget Hollywood movies P2P, even if it were legal. I make a distinction with music, however, because it's a field where sampling makes sense. You do want to hear music before you buy it, which is why record stores in the distant past used to have ear phones and little booths so you could do just that. Studies are now showing that P2P sampling of music does inspire buying the music, because it exposes buyers to music they likely would never have been exposed to otherwise. Sampling over the internet is just more convenient than having to go to the stores and put on headphones. I don't sample music over the Internet, because I'm a paralegal and I respect the law. But I'd like to, and I hope eventually everyone will see the marketing opportunities the Internet provides.

Unlike watching movies, listening to music isn't a one-time-only activity. If you like a song, you want to hear it over and over, and that's why you still want to buy it, even if you've already heard it. It's a rare movie you'll want to see again, in contrast. And that's why I say there can't be any justification for sharing movies that are not yours to share, because you harm the creators and distributors of the work. I do recall reading that most of the movie "pirates", however, turned out to be getting their wares from Hollywood studio employees, so I don't quite see why a new law that affects the entire country was needed to deal with that in-house problem, but I'm just a paralegal with a noncommercial site, so I leave open the possibility that I'm missing something. Anyway, my point is to echo what Larry Lessig wrote: if you don't want draconian laws, don't inspire them. Thanks to movies being released over the Internet, there are now new *criminal* penalties in place. Some SCO-like entity will find a way to ruin everything for everybody now, I'm sure. Every new law has unintended consequences, and somebody will invent a twisted way to use it.

The notice and request for comments says this:

Sections 103 and 104 of the ART Act were enacted in response to the increasingly serious problem of pre-release infringement. As Senator Hatch, the sponsor of the legislation, stated upon introducing the ART Act, ``Obviously, the increasingly frequent situation of copyrighted works being distributed illegally via the Internet before they are even made available for sale to the public severely undercuts the ability of copyright holders to receive fair and adequate compensation for their works.'' 151 Cong. Rec. S495 (daily ed. Jan. 25, 2005). Senator Cornyn, a cosponsor, explained that the legislation ``focuses on the most egregious form of copyright piracy plaguing the entertainment industry today--the piracy of film, movies, and other copyrighted materials before copyright owners have had the opportunity to market fully their products.''

But now there is a follow-up notice, asking if anyone who will be using the new system minds if they use IE-only for the website used for pre-registration. They say they'll get to Firefox and other browsers eventually, but would it be a hardship to use IE for now?

Comments by those affected by the new law are to be sent by mail, not email, and must be received by August 22nd. Here are the two notices, first the supplementary notice regarding IE, and then the July Request for Comments.

UPDATE: A volunteer sent me the following, which can help the Copyright Office figure out how to expand its offerings as well as why they should:

List of Web Browsers

List of layout engines

Comparison of web browsers

The last link has a comparison chart for all known browswers, showing what each can support, and scrolling down further, there is a chart showing known vulnerabilities in each browser, and frankly any governmental agency choosing IE after viewing that frightening list needs to ask itself some serious questions.

[2nd Update:] The FSF has a page up now to collect comments on this proposed Copyright Office requirement. They will post the comments at fsf.org, and deliver them in print form to Washington. Instructions and information are at http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/copyright-comments.html

***********************

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Copyright Office

37 CFR Part 202
[Docket No. RM 2005-9]
Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims

AGENCY: Copyright Office, Library of Congress

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking

SUMMARY:

The Copyright Office is supplementing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on preregistration of copyright claims, issued July 22, 2005. That notice proposed procedures to preregister any unpublished work being prepared for commercial distribution that is in a class of works determined by the Register of Copyrights to have had a history of pre-release infringement. Today's notice seeks information as to whether persons filing the electronic-only preregistration form prescribed by the Copyright Office will experience difficulties if it is necessary to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser in order to preregister a work.

DATES: Comments are due no later than August 22, 2005. Reply comments are due no later than September 7, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

If hand delivered by a private party, an original and five copies of any comment should be brought to Room LM-401 of the James Madison Memorial Building between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the envelope should be addressed as follows: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. If hand delivered by a commercial courier, an original and five copies of any comment must be delivered to the Congressional Courier Acceptance Site located at Second and D Streets, NE., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Copyright Office General Counsel, Room LM-403, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC. If sent by mail, an original and five copies of any comment should be addressed to: Copyright GC/ I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400. Comments may not be delivered by means of overnight delivery services such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, etc., due to delays in processing receipt of such deliveries.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David O. Carson, General Counsel, or Charlotte Douglass, Principal Legal Advisor, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024-0400, Telephone (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-8366.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In accordance with the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 (the ART Act), Title I of the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, Pub. L. No. 109-9, 119 Stat. 218, the Copyright Office recently proposed implementing regulations for preregistration of eligible copyright claims. 70 FR 42286 (July 22, 2005). To be eligible for preregistration, a work must be unpublished, in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution, and in a class of works that the Register of Copyrights determines has had a history of copyright infringement.

Section 104 of the ART Act directs that preregistration procedures must be in place by October 24, 2005. 17 U.S.C. 408(f)(1). To comply with this time frame and to facilitate efficient processing of preregistration claims, inter alia, the proposed rule calls for filing such claims by electronic means only. 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.

In order to ensure that preregistration can be implemented in a smoothly functioning and timely manner, the Office now seeks comments that will assist it in determining whether any eligible parties will be prevented from preregistering a claim due to browser requirements of the preregistration system. 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.

The Office requests that responses to this supplemental notice of inquiry be made part of the responders' comments on the July 22nd Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Whether or not accompanied by comments on the proposed rule, the response to this notice of inquiry should be submitted by the due dates for comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, i.e., no later than August 22, 2005, with reply comments due no later than September 7, 2005.

Dated: August 1, 2005.
Tanya Sandros,
Associate General Counsel.

*******************************

[Federal Register: July 22, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 140)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 42286-42292]

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Copyright Office
37 CFR Part 202
[Docket No. RM 2005-9]

Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims
AGENCY: Library of Congress, Copyright Office.
ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, the Copyright Office is proposing regulations for the preregistration of unpublished works that are being prepared for commercial distribution in classes of works that the Register of Copyrights determines have had a history of pre-release infringement.

DATES: Comments are due no later than August 22, 2005. Reply comments are due no later than September 7, 2005.

ADDRESSES: If hand delivered by a private party, an original and five copies of any comment should be brought to Room LM-401 of the James Madison Memorial Building between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the envelope should be addressed as follows: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. If hand delivered by a commercial courier, an original and five copies of any comment must be delivered to the Congressional Courier Acceptance Site located at Second and D Streets, NE., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Copyright Office General Counsel, Room LM-403, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington DC. If sent by mail, an original and five copies of any comment should be addressed to: Copyright GC/ I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400. Comments may not be delivered by means of overnight delivery services such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, etc., due to delays in processing receipt of such deliveries.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David O. Carson, General Counsel, or Charlotte Douglass, Principal Legal Advisor, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024-0400, Telephone (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-8366.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking implements Section 104 of the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, enacted April 27, 2005. Among other things, this new law permits owners of works in certain classes that have experienced a history of infringement prior to commercial distribution to preregister a work prior to its publication during the period when the work is being prepared for commercial distribution.

On April 27, 2005, President Bush signed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (``FECA''). Pub. L. No. 109-9, 119 Stat. 218. Title I of FECA is the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, or ``ART Act,'' which among other things addresses copyright infringement of works committed prior to their authorized commercial distribution, or pre-release infringement. It includes, in section 103, new criminal penalties for certain acts of pre-release infringement. Section 104 directs the Copyright Office to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to establish a procedure for preregistration of unpublished works that are being prepared for commercial distribution. The regulations are to be in place not later than 180 days after enactment of the ART Act, i.e., by October 24, 2005. This notice proposes those regulations and seeks public comment prior to the announcement of final regulations.

Sections 103 and 104 of the ART Act were enacted in response to the increasingly serious problem of pre-release infringement. As Senator Hatch, the sponsor of the legislation, stated upon introducing the ART Act, ``Obviously, the increasingly frequent situation of copyrighted works being distributed illegally via the Internet before they are even made available for sale to the public severely undercuts the ability of copyright holders to receive fair and adequate compensation for their works.'' 151 Cong. Rec. S495 (daily ed. Jan. 25, 2005). Senator Cornyn, a cosponsor, explained that the legislation ``focuses on the most egregious form of copyright piracy plaguing the entertainment industry today--the piracy of film, movies, and other copyrighted materials before copyright owners have had the opportunity to market fully their products.'' Id. at S498.

Copyright owners persuaded Congress that the existing rules making copyright registration a prerequisite for suit for infringement of United States works1 and a prerequisite for awards of attorney's fees and statutory damages are unduly burdensome on plaintiffs seeking relief against pre-release infringement in civil suits for copyright. Because works intended for publication usually are not registered until they are in final form and are being disseminated to the public, most copyright owners' usual registration practices make it difficult to file suit and obtain full relief in cases of pre-release infringement. Accordingly, representatives of record companies and motion picture studios sought amendments to sections 411 and 412 of the Copyright Act that would remove the registration requirement in cases of pre-release infringement. Rather than take such an action that would weaken the incentive to register, Congress chose instead to instruct the Copyright Office to create a process which would permit copyright owners of works that have not yet been published and are being prepared for commercial distribution to preregister those works.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 For the definition of ``United States work,'' see 17 U.S.C. 101. United States works include, among others, works first published in the United States and unpublished works by United States authors.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Preregistration is not a substitute for registration, but is a preliminary step prior to a full registration that will take place after the work has been published or infringed.

II. Statutory Provisions

The ART Act amends section 408 of the Copyright Act to add a new subparagraph (f), which directs the Register of Copyrights to allow preregistration 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. A person who has preregistered a work is required under section 408 to follow through with a registration of the work within 3 months after the work has first been published. The ART Act also amends sections 411(a) and 412 to provide that in a copyright infringement lawsuit, preregistration will conditionally satisfy the registration requirements of sections 411(a) and 412, but only if the copyright owner follows through with a registration either within three months after the first publication of the work or one month after the copyright owner has learned of the infringement. Where a preregistered work is not registered within the prescribed time period, a court must dismiss an action for copyright infringement that occurred before or within the first two months after first publication. See 17 U.S.C. 408(f), 411(a) and 412. However, the legislative history explains: ``By its express terms, the prohibition on infringement suits contained in Section 408(f)(4) does not apply to suits concerning infringements commencing later than 2 months after first publication of a copyrighted work that had been preregistered with the Copyright Office. Therefore, notwithstanding a failure to meet the deadlines set forth in Section 408(f)(4) (A) and (B), a copyright owner of a preregistered work can register his or her work under current law and bring infringement actions for infringements occurring more than 2 months after first publication.'' H. R. Rep. 109-33, pt. 1, at 5 (2005).

III. Eligibility for Preregistration

The legislative history offers some guidance on how the Register is to determine what classes of works are eligible for preregistration. ``Section 104 expressly requires the Register of Copyrights to issue regulations to establish a preregistration system for copyrighted works. Since works are generally not formally registered until they are in final form and ready for distribution to the public, civil remedies for the distribution of pre-release works are lacking. This section will give the Register flexibility to determine which classes of works are appropriate for preregistration. The Committee believes that a class of works with only a few instances of infringement prior to authorized commercial distribution does not meet the test of a `history of infringement' but otherwise leaves the decision to the Register of Copyrights.'' H.R. Rep. No. 109-33, pt. 1, at 4.

Of primary importance, then, is the Register's determination of the boundaries between classes of works that are eligible for preregistration and those that are not. Preregistration is limited to unpublished works being prepared for commercial distribution in a class of works that have already experienced more than a few instances of pre-release infringement.

A work submitted for preregistration must fulfill three conditions: the work must be unpublished; the work must be in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution; and the work must fall within a class of works determined by the Register to have had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial distribution. These conditions contain terms with special meanings within the purview of copyright law in general, and in one case, within the purview of this preregistration regulation.

A. Unpublished Status

To be eligible for preregistration, a work must be unpublished at the time of its submission to the Copyright Office. Otherwise, the work should be registered in published form and should be deposited with the Copyright Office for the Library of Congress. Publication in the copyright sense means ``the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.'' 17 U.S.C. 101. Others may not be so familiar with the section of the definition which reads ``the offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance or display constitutes publication.'' Id. Consequently a work can be published, for example, if it is in existence and has been offered to a group of disc jockeys for purposes of public air play. A work is also published if it has been delivered to a number of distributors for purposes of theatrical exhibition.

B. Work Prepared for Commercial Distribution

The second condition for eligibility of a work for preregistration is that a work must be in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution. Although section 103(a)(3) of the ART Act, governing criminal copyright infringement, provides a definition of ``work being prepared for commercial distribution,'' that definition applies only to that particular subsection of the ART Act and presumably has no weight in determining what is a ``work being prepared for commercial distribution'' for purposes of preregistration. However, the legislative history offers no other guidance. Certainly, to be entitled to preregistration in preparation for civil enforcement, a copyright owner must have taken some steps preparatory to distribution to the public. The question is, how extensive must those steps have been? Is it sufficient that the copyright owner has a subjective intent to distribute the work once it has been finished? If that were all that was required, then arguably all works of authorship would qualify for preregistration; presumably, it is a rare author who does not believe his or her work is destined to reach its audience. Yet, some reasonable limits must be placed on what is to be considered a ``work being prepared for commercial distribution,'' lest virtually all works be considered to fall within that category. Similarly, as is discussed below, it seems unlikely that classes of works that have a history of prerelease infringement would include works whose authors have the subjective hope or intention to distribute, but for which no arrangements to distribute have been made.

In determining what is meant, in the context of preregistration, by ``a work being prepared for commercial distribution,'' the background to the enactment of section 104 of the ART Act and the purposes of that section should be taken into account. As noted above, section 104 was the result of requests by record companies and motion picture studios for relief, in the context of pre-release infringement, from the provisions of sections 411 and 412 that require copyright registration as a prerequisite to suit and to certain remedies for infringement. Their concern, and the concern of the Congressional sponsors of the ART Act, was primarily with the relatively recent phenomenon of infringement on the Internet, e.g., by means of peer-to-peer file- sharing networks, of sound recordings and motion pictures prior to their official release to the public. One of the most striking examples before Congress related to the appearance on the Internet, two weeks before its theatrical premiere in 2003, of the motion picture The Incredible Hulk. As the ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property observed when the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported FECA, ``Pirates will always seek treasure, and where they have truly found gold is in obtaining a pre- released copy of a movie, sound recording or video game. In testimony on this issue almost two years ago, industry representatives testified that two weeks before the motion picture The Hulk was to be released in theaters, an incomplete work print version of the film had been illegally uploaded onto the Internet. In fact, reviews for The Hulk were available before its release in theaters. The harm to the market of a copyrighted work exponentially increases if the work is released before the editing or promotion for the product is completed.'' Prepared Statement of the Honorable Howard L. Berman, H.R. Rep. No. 109-33, pt. 1, at 65. See also Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2003: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives, 108th Cong. 61 (2003) (Statement of Maren Christensen, then Vice President, Intellectual Property Counsel, Universal Studios).

In short, the problem identified by Congress when it enacted the preregistration requirement was the phenomenon of infringement on the Internet of works that are truly en route to commercial distribution. Therefore, in order to qualify for preregistration, the creator of a work must have taken some significant action to place the work in the stream of commerce. On the other hand, we recognize that pre-release infringement may take place even before a work has been completed. Somebody who manages to get his or her hands on the dailies2 for one day's filming of the next ``Harry Potter'' film and who posts that footage on the Internet is engaging in a serious act of infringement of that film, even if the filming of the motion picture is still in progress. One who places Norah Jones' recording of a single cut from a forthcoming album can cause serious harm, even while she is still in the recording studio completing the album.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 ``Dailies'' (also known as ``rushes'') are ``The first positive prints made from the negatives photographed on the previous day. During filming, the director and some actors may view these dailies as an indication of how the filming and the actors' performances are progressing.'' IMDb Film Glossary, http://us.imdb.com/Glossary/D

. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

It seems reasonable to set the threshold for works being prepared for commercial distribution not at the doing of any particular act of distribution, which would be too harsh a requirement to protect works destined for commercial distribution that are in relatively early stages of preparation, but rather at some earlier stage. We can identify two requirements that appear to be reasonably calculated to meet the statutory requirement that the preregistered work is truly being prepared for commercial distribution. First, preparation of the work must have commenced. That means, at a minimum, that some portion of the work has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression. See 17 U.S.C. 101 (definition of ``created'': ``A work is `created' when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time; where a work is prepared over a period of time, the portion of it that has been fixed at any particular time constitutes the work as of that time, and where the work has been prepared in different versions, each version constitutes a separate work.'').

Second, a contract must have been entered into for distribution of the work. For a sound recording, the contract would be with a record company. For a motion picture, the contract would be with a motion picture studio. In the absence of such a contractual relationship - or of some other objective evidence that the work ultimately will be commercially distributed - the determination of whether a work is truly being prepared for commercial distribution would be subjective. Moreover, it is reasonable to conclude that the signing of a recording contract or a motion picture distribution agreement will be the first step down the road of commercial distribution. We elaborate on this requirement in our discussion of the next topic: the determination of classes of works that have had a history of pre-release infringement.

C. Classes of Works Determined to Have Had A History of Pre-Release Infringement

The ART Act requires the Register to permit preregistration for works in those classes of works that she determines have had a history of infringement prior to authorized distribution. 17 U.S.C. 408(f)(2). This requires the Register to designate classes of works that she determines have had a history of pre-release infringement. As noted above, however, the legislative report confirms that the Register does not have discretion to permit preregistration for classes of works that have had only a few instances of infringement in pre-release form. H. R. Rep. No. 109-33, at 4.

The Copyright Office was involved in discussions with Congress leading up to the passage of this legislation; it is therefore aware of the cases made by record companies and motion picture studios to Congress that pre-release infringement has been a serious problem in their industries. Pre-release infringement of motion pictures and sound recordings has also been reported in the press. See, e.g., ``Suspect in Movie Piracy Is Fugitive; Man Charged with Videotaping Films at Pre- Release Screenings Flees Days before Trial,'' Los Angeles Times, Jan. 10, 2004, p. B3; ``She's Burning Up; Madonna Blasts Pirates Who Try to Steal `Life,''' Newsday, Apr. 18, 2003, p. A14. We therefore propose to include motion pictures and sound recordings among the classes of works eligible for preregistration. Because sound recordings almost always include performances of musical works, we also propose to include nondramatic musical works that are performed on sound recordings as a class eligible for preregistration. As the legislative history notes, ``a preregistration of a sound recording does not by itself constitute preregistration of the musical works embodied in the sound recording.'' H. R. Rep. No. 109-33, at 5. We do not propose that a preregistration of a sound recording would automatically constitute preregistration of any of the musical works on that recording. However, as is the case with current copyright registration practice, an applicant who is the copyright owner of both a sound recording and a musical work performed on that sound recording may preregister both the sound recording and the musical work in a single preregistration.

Although this notice of proposed rulemaking does not propose any additional classes of works, the Office seeks comments on whether there are additional classes of works that have a history of pre-release infringement. Proponents of a class of works should be prepared to document more than ``a few instances'' of pre-release infringement. See H. R. Rep. No. 109-33, at 4. And although this notice proposes to include motion pictures, sound recordings and musical works among the eligible classes, the burden remains on proponents of those three classes of works to make the case to the Office that these classes of works have indeed experienced a history of pre-release infringement. Proponents of any class should be prepared to demonstrate that there is a substantial history of pre-release infringement which is likely to continue, causing harm to copyright owners that can be ameliorated by permitting preregistration of such works.

The Office is also informed by its experience making previous determinations regarding classes of works in carrying out its responsibilities under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Pub. L. No. 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860 (October 28, 1998). The DMCA added section 1201 to Title 17, requiring the Register to recommend ``classes of works,'' if any, that should be subject to exemption from one of the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. In response to section 1201's mandate, the Register has been involved in triennial rulemaking proceedings to determine any classes of works that should be subject to an exemption from the prohibition against circumventing access control measures.

Section 104 of the ART Act was drafted with section 1201's ``class of works'' provision in mind, and Congressional guidance on the meaning of the phrase ``class of works'' in section 1201 is instructive. In that context, the legislative history indicates an intent ``that the `particular class of copyrighted work' be a narrow and focused subset of the broad categories of works of authorship than [sic] is identified in section 102 of the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 102).'' Report of the House Committee on Commerce on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, H.R. Rep. No. 105-551, pt. 2, at 38 (1998).

In the context of and in light of the purpose of preregistration - which is to afford a remedy to copyright owners of works which are likely to be subject to pre-release infringement, we believe that the proposed classes of works - motion pictures, sound recordings and nondramatic musical works - can be appropriately narrowed by focusing on the requirement that a distribution agreement be in place for the work that is being prepared for commercial distribution. To guard against the possibility of fraud, we believe that it would be prudent to include, as part of that requirement, that the distributor be an ``established'' distributor of motion pictures or phonorecords, as the case may be. An ``established'' distributor is an entity that is actually in the business of commercial distribution of the class of works and that has actually engaged in commercial distribution of several such works in the past year. Because nondramatic musical works are now commercially exploited primarily in the form of prerecorded music, the requirement for a nondramatic musical work would be satisfied if there is in existence a distribution agreement to distribute phonorecords of a sound recording that includes a performance of the musical work.

Such a requirement assists in ensuring that works subject to preregistration fall within classes in which there has been a history of infringement. We are not aware of any history or danger of pre- release infringement of works for which the prospect of commercial distribution is so remote that no arrangements have been made for authorized distribution. The fact that in enacting the ART Act, Congress was responding to concerns of motion picture studios and record companies about pre-release infringement of their works further bolsters the conclusion that the focus of preregistration should be on works for which distribution agreements already exist. To the community of Internet infringers who are eager to offer a motion picture or phonorecord for downloading prior to its official release, there is no glory, cachet or profit in offering a work for which there is no demand, and the existence of an agreement to distribute a work is a reliable indicator of such demand, as well as being a reliable indicator that the work is truly being prepared for commercial distribution.

We also propose to narrow the eligible classes of works further by reference to the nature of the distribution agreements. It appears that thus far, works that have been subject to pre-release infringement are works for which there is an anticipated demand. For motion pictures, that still means that the work will be distributed for theatrical exhibition. The Office also does not propose to include motion pictures for which the distribution agreements provide only for ``direct-to- video'' or online distribution, since the Office has no reason to believe that those motion pictures, which presumably are much less in demand than motion pictures that will be distributed theatrically, have had a history of prerelease infringement. For sound recordings, that still means that the work will be distributed in physical phonorecords (e.g., CDs or DVDs). While we recognize that online distribution is becoming increasingly significant, it has not yet supplanted physical distribution as the principal means of disseminating motion pictures and sound recordings. Moreover, including works that are distributed only online would probably be overinclusive: anybody can make his or her work available for online distribution, even if there is no demand for the work. Because preregistration is intended for works that have had a history of prerelease infringement, the Office believes that including works for which the only distribution agreements relate to online distribution would be vastly overinclusive. Of course, over time that may well change and require that the Office reexamine those conclusions. We seek comments as to whether our assumptions are valid.

In considering how to determine what classes of works should be included in the preregistration system, the Office has also weighed the possibility of requiring that such works be by authors or performers who have had some track record of success, or at least who have previously had their works released for commercial distribution. While we have chosen not to include such a requirement in the proposed rules, we seek comment on whether such a requirement is desirable and workable. One reason we have chosen not to include the requirement in the proposed rules is our uncertainty as to how one would determine whether a particular author or performer has a successful track record. We seek comments on whether our proposal is based on valid assumptions.

Comments are sought as to whether the proposed classes of works are underinclusive or overinclusive, keeping in mind that the only works that are to be included are works being prepared for commercial distribution and that the Register is to designate only classes of works that have a history of pre-release infringement. Proponents of broader or additional classes of works should back up their proposals with evidence that responds to those requirements.

The proposed classes are:

1. Motion pictures subject to theatrical distribution contracts with established distributors of motion pictures;

2. Sound recordings subject to contracts for distribution of physical phonorecords with established distributors of phonorecords;

3. Nondramatic musical compositions performed in sound recordings subject to contracts for distribution of physical phonorecords with established distributors of phonorecords.

IV. Procedures for Preregistration

A. Overview of Preregistration Process

Preregistration is meant for those who wish to preregister a claim in a work which falls within a ``class of works that the Register determines has had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial distribution.'' 17 U.S.C. 408(f)(2). As a general principle, preregistration will be as streamlined a process as possible. Persons wishing to preregister a copyright will be required to apply online, and the electronic application will require sufficient information to reasonably identify the work for which preregistration is sought, but no deposit materials will be required and the application will not be examined except to ascertain that all the necessary information has been provided.

Preregistration is not a substitute for registration. It is simply a means of preserving the ability to satisfy the requirements of sections 411(a) and 412 of the Copyright Act by advising the Copyright Office prior to the publication of a work that the work is being prepared for commercial distribution, and following through with a registration shortly after publication or infringement of the work. The fact that a work has been preregistered does not mean that the Copyright Office necessarily will register the work when an application for registration is submitted.

A work that would not ultimately be eligible for copyright registration should not be submitted for preregistration. However, unlike registration, which is prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate, preregistration carries no such presumptions. For that reason, the Office will not conduct the type of examination that is done with respect to copyright registration, and a preregistration will not be subject to cancellation.

To preserve the legal benefits of preregistration, a preregistered work must be registered within one month after the copyright owner becomes aware of infringement but in no case later than three months after first publication. In this sense, preregistration is a prelude to full registration.

B. General Observations about Preregistration Procedure

1. Form PRE

The Copyright Office is creating a new form which is specifically designed to elicit only basic information. The Form PRE must be submitted electronically and will be available only in that form, on the Copyright Office's website.

2. No Deposit Copy or Phonorecord Required

Because preregistration is not a form of registration, but is simply an indication of an intent to register a work once it has been completed and/or published, there will be no deposit requirement. However, the application form should contain a detailed description of the work, keeping in mind that the description becomes an important part of the preregistration public record and that it will not be possible to cancel or expunge this record. The space limitation for the description on Application Form PRE is 2000 characters. The Office will not pass judgement on the adequacy of the description, but a court might well conclude, based on a comparison of the finished work with the description in the preregistration application, that the preregistration does not actually pertain to the work that is alleged to have been infringed.

3. Preregistration Fee

The preregistration fee will be set to recover costs to establish the new system in the Copyright Office and provide the preregistration service. In principle, the fee should cover the actual cost to the Office of processing each preregistration, and the fees collected for preregistration should collectively cover the start-up costs for creating the new electronic preregistration program, spread over a period of time. In determining the appropriate fee that would meet those guidelines, a key element is an estimate of how many preregistrations will be received each year. While it is difficult to predict how many preregistrations will be received, the Office believes a reasonable estimate would be 300. If that estimate is accurate, then in order to recoup the costs of setting up the system over a period of five years, it would be necessary to charge a fee of $250. However, the Office recognizes that $250 would be a very substantial fee, and as a result it is proposed that the preregistration fee initially be set at $100, with the understanding that the fee will be reevaluated after several months of experience once the Office has a better idea of how many preregistrations will occur.

The Office considered requiring prepayment of the registration fee as part of preregistration, in order to provide an additional inducement to follow through with a registration, but at this time the logistical problems of requiring prepayment appear to outweigh its benefits. The Office welcomes comment on establishing a system in the future whereby the applicant for preregistration simultaneously prepays the registration fee in order to facilitate and further encourage prompt registration.

4. Verification

The applicant must verify under penalty of law that he or she is an author, a claimant, or other party authorized to submit the claim for the copyright owner and that the statements made in the preregistration application are correct to the best of the applicant's knowledge.

5. Numbering

All preregistrations will be numbered with the prefix ``PRE'' and will be numbered consecutively. Preregistration claims will not be issued according to registration class, i.e., VA, PA, or TX.

6. Online Record.

All completed preregistrations will be accessible through the Copyright Office's online database by title, author and claimant. Therefore, a search for preregistration records should enable discovery of the registration record for the same work. It is recognized that in some cases, for reasons such as changes in ownership and other changes that take place during the creation of a work, the title, author and/or claimant named on the preregistration form may be different from the actual title, author and claimant later identified in the registration record.

7. Notification of Preregistration.

Upon completion of the preregistration, the Office will issue an email notification of preregistration to the claimant. Each e-mail will remind the claimant that a timely basic registration should be made as the follow-up to preregistration and that the application for basic registration should contain a reference to the preregistration number to enable the Office's preregistration and basic registration records for the particular work to be tied together through cross-entry of the two numbers.

For further verification that a work has been preregistered, it will be possible to view the record for any preregistered work on the Copyright Office's website and to print that information. At this time, the Office does not anticipate sending a printed certificate or notification of preregistration, but we solicit comments on whether (and why) such a practice would be desirable.

8. No Cancellation or Correction of Preregistrations

Once entered in Copyright Office records, a preregistration will not be cancelled. Thus, the Office will not expunge its records, for example, of an applicant's incorrect description of a work or other error. An applicant who acts promptly before issuance of notification, however, may withdraw an application for preregistration. However, it is anticipated that preregistrations will be processed shortly after they are submitted. Nor can a preregistration be corrected, supplemented, or amended after completion. Thus, for example, the Office will not accept a Form CA (supplementary registration) to correct or supplement the information in a preregistration record. An applicant who wishes to correct the record must submit another application for preregistration containing the corrected or omitted information.

9. Preregistration as a Single Work

Just as a single registration may be made for a number of self- contained works that are first published in a single unit of publication, see 37 C.F.R. Sec. 202.3(b)(3)(i)(A), preregistration may be made for all such works having the same copyright claimant if they will be first published in a single unit of publication. For example, if the same party owns the copyright in both a sound recording and the musical compositions embodied in the sound recording, both claims may be preregistered on one Form PRE.

10. Summary

To summarize, an applicant who owns an exclusive right in an unpublished work being prepared for commercial distribution that falls within one of the Register's determined classes of works may preregister that work in the name of the anticipated claimant with the Copyright Office on or after October 24, 2005, by completing Application Form PRE online and paying the prescribed fee online by Deposit Account or Credit Card.

C. Preregistration Application Form - Electronic Only

At this time, the Office anticipates that the application for preregistration will require that the applicant provide the following information:

1. Type of work being preregistered:

Motion picture subject to theatrical distribution contract with an established distributor of motion pictures; Sound recording subject to contract for distribution of physical phonorecords with an established distributor of phonorecords; or Nondramatic musical composition performed in sound recording subject to contract for distribution of physical phonorecords with an established distributor of phonorecords.

2. Title

3. Additional titles [optional]

4. Author (i.e., the person who is anticipated to be given on the basic application as author under the copyright law of the completed work when the basic, follow-up registration is made).

5. Claimant (i.e., the person who is anticipated to be given on the basic application as the owner of copyright in the completed work when the basic, follow-up registration is made).

6. Claimant Address.

7. Description of the work being claimed for preregistration. (Instructions will indicate that the description should be detailed and specific in order to identify the particular work for which preregistration is sought. The maximum length of the description will be 2000 characters - approximately 330 words.) Examples:

A. A motion picture should generally be described in terms such as the subject matter it treats or a plot summary or outline; the director, if known; major actors appearing in the motion picture, if known; the principal location of filming; and any other details which would assist in identifying the particular motion picture.

B. A sound recording should generally be described in terms such as the subject matter of the underlying work recorded; the performer or performing group, if known; the genre of the work recorded, e.g., classical, hard rock, blues; the principal recording location, if known; titles of the musical compositions being performed, if known, and any other characteristics of the recording which may help in identifying the particular recording.

8. Date on which creation of the work commenced.

9. Date of anticipated completion of the work.

10. Date of anticipated commencement of commercial distribution of the work.

11. Certification under penalty of law.

12. Name of person submitting the preregistration.

List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 202

Claims to copyright, Copyright, Registration requirements.

Proposed Regulations

In consideration of the foregoing, the Copyright Office proposes to amend part 202 of 37 CFR, chapter II in the manner set forth below:

PART 202--REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT

1. The authority citation for part 202 is revised to read as follows:

Authority: 17 U.S.C. 408(f), 702

2. The heading of Part 202 is revised to read as follows:

PART 202--PREREGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION OF CLAIMS TO COPYRIGHT
3. A new Sec. 202.16 is added to read as follows:

Sec. 202.16 Preregistration of Copyrights

(a) General. This section prescribes rules pertaining to the preregistration of copyright claims in works eligible for preregistration under Section 408(f) of 17 U.S.C.

(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this section-

(1) A work is in a class of works that the Register of Copyrights has determined has had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial release if it is one of the following:

(i) A motion picture subject to a theatrical distribution contract with an established distributor of motion pictures;

(ii) A sound recording subject to a contract for distribution of physical phonorecords with an established distributor of phonorecords; or

(iii) A nondramatic musical composition performed in a sound recording subject to a contract for distribution of physical phonorecords with an established distributor of phonorecords;

(2) An established distributor of motion pictures is a person or entity that is actually in the business of commercial distribution of motion pictures and that has actually engaged in commercial distribution of two or more motion pictures within the past year.

(3) An established distributor of phonorecords is a person or entity that is actually in the business of commercial distribution of phonorecords and that has actually engaged in commercial distribution of two or more phonorecords within the past year.

(4) A work is being prepared for commercial distribution if:

(i) Preparation of the work has commenced and at least some portion of the work has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression; and

(ii) a contract has been entered into for the commercial distribution of the work to the public.

(5) A work eligible for preregistration is a work that is:

(i) Unpublished;

(ii) Being prepared for commercial distribution; and

(iii) In a class of works that the Register of Copyrights has determined has had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial release.

(c) Preregistration. (1) General. A work eligible for preregistration may be preregistered by submitting an application and fee to the Copyright Office pursuant to the requirements set forth in this section.

(2)Works excluded. Works that are not copyrightable subject matter under title 17 of the U.S. Code may not be preregistered in the Copyright Office.

(3) Application form. An application for preregistration is Electronic Form PRE. The application must be submitted electronically on the Copyright Office website at: [Address to be given in the final rule].

(4) Preregistration as a single work. For the purpose of preregistration on a single application and upon payment of a single preregistration fee, all copyrightable elements that are otherwise recognizable as self-contained works, that are to be included and first published in a single unit of publication, and in which the copyright claimant is the same, shall be considered a single work eligible for preregistration.

(5) Fee. (i) Amount. The filing fee for preregistration is $100.

(ii) Method of payment. (A) Copyright Office deposit account. The Copyright Office maintains a system of Deposit Accounts for the convenience of those who frequently use its services and for those who file applications electronically. The system allows an individual or firm to establish a Deposit Account in the Copyright Office and to make advance deposits in that account. Deposit Account holders can charge preregistration fees against the balance in their accounts instead of using credit cards for each request of service. For information on Deposit Accounts, please download a copy of Circular 5, ``How to Open and Maintain a Deposit Account in the Copyright Office,'' or write the Register of Copyrights, Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20559.

(B) Credit cards, debit cards and electronic funds transfer. The online preregistration filing system will provide options for payment by means of credit or debit cards and by means of electronic funds transfers. Applicants will be redirected to the Department of Treasury's Pay.gov website to make payments with credit or debit cards, or directly from their bank accounts by means of ACH debit transactions.

(C) No refunds. The fee is not refundable.

(6) Description. No deposit of the work being preregistered should be submitted with an application for preregistration. The preregistration applicant should submit a detailed description, of not more than 2,000 characters (approximately 330 words), of the work as part of the application. The description should be based on information available at the time of the application sufficient to reasonably identify the work. The Copyright Office will not review descriptions for adequacy except in extreme cases, but in an action for infringement of a preregistered work, the court may evaluate the adequacy of the description to determine whether the preregistration actually describes the work that is alleged to be infringed, taking into account the information available to the applicant at the time of preregistration. For motion pictures such a description should include the following information to the extent known at the time of filing: subject matter, a summary or outline, the director, the primary actors, the principal location of filming, and any other information that would assist in identifying the particular work being preregistered. For sound recordings and for nondramatic musical works, the identifying description should include the following information to the extent known at the time of filing: the subject matter of the work or works recorded, the performer or performing group, the genre of the work recorded (e.g., classical, pop, musical comedy, soft rock, heavy metal, gospel, rap, hip-hop, blues, jazz), the titles of the musical compositions being recorded, the principal recording location, and the composer(s) of the recorded musical compositions embodied on the sound recording and any other information that would assist in identifying the particular work being preregistered.

(7) Examination. The Copyright Office will conduct only a limited examination of applications for preregistration, in order to ascertain whether the application describes a work that is in a class of works that the Register of Copyrights has determined has had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial release. However, a work will not be preregistered unless an applicant has provided all of the information requested on the application and has certified that all of the information provided on the application is correct to the best of the applicant's knowledge.

(8) Notification of preregistration. Upon completion of the preregistration, the Copyright Office will provide the claimant notification by email of the preregistration. The preregistration record will also be available to the public on the Copyright Office website, http://www.copyright.gov.

(9) Effect of preregistration. Preregistration of a work offers certain advantages to a copyright owner pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 411 and 412. However, preregistration of a work is not prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright or of the facts stated in the application for preregistration or in the preregistration record. The fact that a work has been preregistered does not create any presumption that the Copyright Office will register the work upon submission of an application for registration.

Dated: July 18, 2005

Marybeth Peters,
Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 05-14516 Filed 7-21-05; 8:45 am]


  


US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service [2 Updates] | 344 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
What a great name: FECAL
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 02:55 PM EDT
Just what I'd expect from senator Hatch, a law that's named for what it
provides: Family Entertainment and Copyright Act Law (FECAL).

Ehwwww.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Correction
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:01 PM EDT
Here please!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic - OT
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:05 PM EDT
Here please. And don't forget to post HTML mode and to make links clicky.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:12 PM EDT
I think the fact that they realise that being "Internet Explorer"-only
would be an impediment to some people is more significiant. Ordinarily, may
people would have simple made it that way anyway irregardless as a few online
bank websites have without discussion. To me, it shows that Firefox
compatibility is becoming a factor (albeit not a major factor) in the creation
of new websites.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:20 PM EDT
I, for one, will write a snail mailed response as per the directions above
(including the five copies).

I also intend to register my protests on my congressional and senatorial
representative's web sites.

GL

[ Reply to This | # ]

IE only sites
Authored by: Nick_UK on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:32 PM EDT
These are not driven by design of the 'designer'. They
are driven by MSCE/MS System admins/MS web designers on MS
systems etc. that only know how to use MS web site design
tools (ala Frontpage).

MS, of course, get it to produce code (hideous amounts of
it too!) that breaks the standard so that you HAVE to use
IE to visit the site for it to work.

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

"IE-only"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:46 PM EDT
"IE-only": there's no such thing.

Or there is, but it's a translation for: very badly designed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • "IE-only" - Authored by: A Swedish Lurker on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 07:00 PM EDT
  • "IE-only" - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 07:13 PM EDT
  • "Firefox-only" - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:53 AM EDT
    • "Firefox-only" - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 03:18 AM EDT
    • "Firefox-only" - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 03:37 AM EDT
"who else? -- Orrin Hatch"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:49 PM EDT
Groklaw claims to be non-political, and I think it would be very wise to
continue that tradition. I realize that pro-copyright regime politicians have
been in both parties (Hatch as well as Hollings, and probably the current
Republican President as well as the former Democratic President), but it could
all too easily happen that Groklaw becomes (unfairly) lumped in with one side or
the other (the "liberals" or the "conservatives"), and that
would in the long term almost certainly harm its mission. Please be careful PJ.

p.s. I think that it's obvious which side of this divide the Free Software
movement, founded as it is on the Enlightenment ideals of scientific pursuit of
truth, sharing of knowledge, making progress, and working for the greater
benefit of all, would naturally be associated with. It's too bad those features
are undesirable for half of the US voting population.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:55 PM EDT
Only hundreds of you not Millions

[ Reply to This | # ]

Legality of downloading music?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:56 PM EDT
"I don't sample music over the Internet, because I'm a paralegal and I
respect the law."

It sounds like you believe that sampling music over the Internet is necessarily
illegal.

This is a significant thing to have concluded, and since you are obviously
thoughtful about copyright law, I am very interested, if you'd care to
elaborate, why you are so sure of this.

If somebody gives me a copy of a song, maybe over the Internet, maybe over our
home network, maybe on a CD, I do not believe that I have done anything illegal
either by receiving the copy or by listening to it. I certainly do not think I
have done anything immoral.

[ Reply to This | # ]

siebel?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 03:59 PM EDT
i believe this is tied to the siebel crm system they are using.

sum.zero

[ Reply to This | # ]

inspiration
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:17 PM EDT
i hate to complain, but to simply lay the blame for bad laws at the footsteps of
p2p filesharers is unjust.

many laws these days are passed explicitly for the benefit of corporations,
against the interests of the people. because of this and the ongoing assault by
these same corporations on their own customers, many people feel pushed to
commit acts that are now illegal in order to express their discontent. these
people have no voice in government. what are they to do?

while i disagree with the distribution of pre-release films, i believe a case
can be made for sharing of titles that you have purchased, much as you can loan
your dvd. as people have to sometimes compromise in order to promote the
economy, sometimes the corporations should compromise in order to promote
personal property rights.

sum.zero

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nutz!
Authored by: inode_buddha on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:35 PM EDT
Nutz! It's not *that* hard to put together a site that uses just straight HTML,
text, and a bash script to handle the forms.

---
-inode_buddha
Copyright info in bio

"When we speak of free software,
we are referring to freedom, not price"
-- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

In Other Words ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:37 PM EDT
The U.S Government is paying millions of dollars for someone to develope the new
system, only to find out that no compatability checks have been done cause the
person doing up the new system only knows how to do up websites and software
using MS point and click tools.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Motorist uses 'hacker defense' to beat ticket
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:40 PM EDT
<a Perhaps if they use IE the
href="http://news.com.com/2001-9373_3-0.html?tag=nefd.aon/">Hacker
Defence"</a> will be open to all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interessting statistics
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:41 PM EDT
The german online IT-newsservice Heise has a small report on the use of P2P and
how much is traded of what:

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/62728

The link included points back to the original english report from the company
CacheLogic:

http://www.cachelogic.com/news/pr090805.php

What is not in that page (i guess because that information is only for
accredited journalists) is that CacheLogic, according to Heise, estimates that
60-80% of all worldwide Internet traffic is from P2P.

Imagine this. SIXTY TO EIGHTY PERCENT!

That figure hit me like a ton of bricks. Think of all these satellites orbiting
the earth and all these deep sea fiber cables. Just to commit crimes (more or
less).

And when you really think about it the remaining 40-20% is probably pornography
of some kind ;-)

Linux_Inside

[ Reply to This | # ]

Great
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:47 PM EDT
No kidding this is GREATTTTTTTTTTTT!

Think of it this way.

If you lock millions of potential customers out of your
movie house because they are wearing the wrong shoes then
all the guy across the street has to do to become rich is
to let those people in to his movie house. Now there are a
number of movie houses on the street. There is Hollywood,
Ballywood [India], Italy [Clent Eastwood - Good Bad & The
Ugly], UK, France, Brazil, Japan, Chiana, Russia, Scandavia
plus a few other not to mention the ones that will develop.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Great - Authored by: Nick_UK on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 05:20 PM EDT
    • Great - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 07:18 PM EDT
      • Great - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 08:59 PM EDT
        • Great - Authored by: MathFox on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 06:51 AM EDT
          • Great - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 09:33 AM EDT
  • Great - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 06:59 AM EDT
US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: ceverett on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:56 PM EDT
The legislation is a lovely example of that all-to-human tendency to do the same
thing over and over, harder and
harder in the face of failure.

Yes, that makes them idios, but we've all been in the same boat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The more they tighten control
Authored by: kawabago on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 04:59 PM EDT
The more ground the entertainment industry will lose. This new law will spur
more people to engage in other forms of entertainment on the internet and forget
about tv and movies altogether. In a year or two the industry will realize that
with this new law even more people are not buying their products, so they will
demand even more stringent laws to protect their industry. About the time they
have scared away the last customer, the entertainment industry will finally get
it. But it will be too late and they will become a historical footnote.

---
TTFN

[ Reply to This | # ]

And in other news...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 05:02 PM EDT
IE-only for a government web site makes as much sense as GM-cars only on
Interstate highways. Both are bad public policy.

Web activity is governed by standards, as is automotive design. Government web
sites are paid for by the taxpayer, as are highways. Both government web sites
and highways should allow "vehicles" that meet applicable standards,
and disallow others.

If anything should be banned, it's IE

[ Reply to This | # ]

How complicated can pre-registration be?
Authored by: boban on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 05:47 PM EDT
I mean, how complicated can the job they need to do be so that they simply have
to use IE? Looks like thirty minutes to one hour of PHP coding to me.

If anything, I know of PHP applications that perform a lot more complicated
tasks than processing one HTML form with their copyright pre-registration data.

Maybe groklaw folks could do that for free, to help out the goverment. And
educate them a little on what they're missing :)

Boban
(a non-US PHP programmer)

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 05:47 PM EDT
Lets see ... Senator Hatch is a lawyer. What do lawyers do best? They serve
other lawyers. Amazing how fast those elected to serve us can turn a service
into a dis-service.

Has to make you wonder what retard (meant in the nicest way) made this decision
and the criteria they used.

Hummm... New web project ... lets use the least developed (no new development
done since 2002), most vulnerable (VBS, ActiveX & BHO come to mind)
non-standards compliant browser that is only supported on a single OS (IE 5.x
for Mac is no longer supported) for this project.

Do our elected officials only listen to big companys who have lots of money? Do
they have any consultants to do research to make sure they are doing the best
thing for the citizens of our country? Do they only do things that benefit them
and/or the companys with the big money?

Oh, thats right! I live in America. Sorry for the stupid questions.



[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: John Hasler on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 06:11 PM EDT
More useful than letters to Senators and Congressmen complaining about this
specific issue would be a campaign for a law requiring all government Web sites
to be fully standards-compliant.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: urzumph on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 06:26 PM EDT
I don't sample music over the Internet, because I'm a paralegal and I respect the law. But I'd like to, and I hope eventually everyone will see the marketing opportunities the Internet provides.

That's a bit of a misnomer. The reason you can't sample music over the internet is you don't have permission, and the artists/labels have the law on their side. Assuming you have the pre-requisite permission, sampling over the internet is perfectly legal.

Now, as a person participating in a free market economy, if your supplier doesn't give you what you want, or their product lacks the features you are after, you simply change suppliers. I sample music legally from Magnatune, and to my layperson's understanding, it's all perfectly legal.

And that's why I say there can't be any justification for sharing movies that are not yours to share, because you harm the creators and distributors of the work.

Yes and no. This is very interesting. I know that I almost never buy DVDs (usually see movies in the cinema). However, the only 2 DVDs I have ever bought were Season 1 and 2 of Red vs Blue which I had already obtained and watched, perfectly legally, by download from their site.

Lastly, I would suggest that perhaps Anime is another exception - Anime is often not available (by any legal means) in the country where it is downloaded. When it is available legally, I usually watch it - I took the whole family to the opening of the Cowboy Bebop Movie in cinemas, despite having a copy on the HDD at home.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 06:42 PM EDT
Just a thought from the non US side of the pond and taking a leaf from PJ's own
book......as this is a government website and it's unlikely to be easily
accessed by the disabled (screen readers and so on...), could one not complain
that it unfairly discriminates against the disabled?

Indeed does the US not have anti-discrimiation (disability) laws for just such
things?

Could it not also be construed as restricting free speech?

Just pondering......

=====================
Stir well and leave to simmer for several days.......


[ Reply to This | # ]

Opera?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 07:26 PM EDT

Opera for both Windows and Linux can identify itself
as MSIE 5.0. Would this be enough to bypass the IE-only
requirement, or is there more to it than that?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Opera? - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 08:16 PM EDT
    • Opera? - Authored by: PJ on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 10:15 PM EDT
    • Opera? - Authored by: Bill The Cat on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 01:11 AM EDT
  • Opera? - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 08:19 PM EDT
  • Opera? - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 02:34 AM EDT
Uh, i might have gotten that wrong
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 07:52 PM EDT
In the original Heise artikel there is this sentence:

"Weiter hat CacheLogic festgestellt, dass BitTorrent zunehmend für legitime
Inhalte genutzt wird und eDonkey erste Wahl für den Tausch von Videodaten
ist."

I would tranlate this to:

"Furhermore CacheLogic has found that BitTorrent is increaingly used for
legimate content and eDonkey is first choice for videos."

This is not quite the same as i said in my former post, but it amounts to the
same, i guess. For instance, would you, personally, place your vacation videos
with the family to any P2P-network? And if so, why? And if the amount of video
is more than 50%... "Video" means Hollywood, i have no doubt about it.
Therefor my assumtion has merrit, i guess...

And, yes, of course you are right: never trust any statistic you havend faked
yourself ;-)

Linux_Inside

[ Reply to This | # ]

Movies
Authored by: Arker on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 08:54 PM EDT

Unlike watching movies, listening to music isn't a one-time-only activity. If you like a song, you want to hear it over and over, and that's why you still want to buy it, even if you've already heard it. It's a rare movie you'll want to see again, in contrast.

I think this is simply because Hollywood is making horrible movies. If I don't want to see the movie a second time, then I didn't want to see it the first time. There are many movies I've watched over and over again. Classics, like 'Barry Lyndon' 'Chinatown' or 'Touch of Evil' for instance. But Hollywood no longer makes that type of movie. Instead they make this junk that they have to spend millions on advertising to get people to see, and then no one wants to see a second time. Which is probably why they're so mad about P2P. Now people can download the newest thriller, stop it 10 minutes in and delete it, instead of going to a theatre where they'll torture themselves by watching the whole thing just because they paid money to get in.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Maciarc on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 08:54 PM EDT
Ms. Peters,
Rather than potentially alienating an expanding portion of your intended registrants, you could make the web site comliant to W3C standards. You would only need to create the website once and it will be usable for all.

---
IANAL and I don't play one on TV, this is just an "anti-SCO Philippic."

[ Reply to This | # ]

A suggestion for US objectors to this
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 09:51 PM EDT
Could I recommend that all of you US people who post objections to this include
a promise in your letter to hold the US govt responsibile for any data loss etc
etc caused by having to use IE. Given IE's history the potential expense of this
may cause 2nd thoughts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"ART Act"
Authored by: gumnos on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 10:17 PM EDT
"Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, or "ART Act"
(emph. mine)

It seems that you have the A, R, and T accounted for, but you don't have anything about "Prevention" taken into consideration. I propose that it be referred to as the "ART Prevention Act".

-gumnos



[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: lazy on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 11:26 PM EDT
This is truly a ridiculous sonding request. It's almost
as if they know they're doing something stupid. On the other
hand, I'm sure the people that paid for this designer legislation won't have a
problem at all with the request. After all, have they ever released a DVD
decoder for Linux?

-lazy

---
vote with your wallet, not with your hands.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Stumbles on Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 11:47 PM EDT
Well we are going back to the Henry Ford days of you can have black or
black.

---
You can tune a piano but you can't tune a fish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IE Paranoia and Inconveniencing Oneself
Authored by: DrHow on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:06 AM EDT
PJ's idea of keeping IE off of any of her computers may protect her from its
vulnerabilities, but it strikes me as an unnecessarily extreme solution. Even
when you do have it installed, IE cannot hurt you unless you use it to visit a
Web site which contains malicious scripts. If you know the Web site is OK,
there is no risk to visit it with IE. If a (poorly designed) site only works
with IE, you really _need_ to use that site, and you have banned IE from your
machine, then it strikes me that the inconvenience you suffer is more
significant than can be justified your successful act of adhering to a policy of
completely avoiding MS's buggy browser based on principle.

I use Firefox myself, but I still have IE installed on my PC. Furthermore, I
have installed in Firefox the Launchy extension which makes it easy to swing
over into IE whenever I visit a Web site which I trust but which does not seem
to be working correctly with Firefox. Alas, this happens often enough that I
would be severely inconvenienced if I did not have the IE fallback. Of the
sites I use, the one which surprises me the most for not working correctly with
Firefox is Sun's Java Developer's site.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:35 AM EDT
I do not see how requesting compatibility is any different than printing
government forms/information in multiple languages.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not just for big budget Hollywood movies, PJ
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 01:27 AM EDT
PJ, you state that you don't see the point of swapping big budget Hollywood movies on the internet, and you're absolutely right.

But then there's the recent examples of the Global Frequency pilot and Heat Vision and Jack, two tv series pilots that were passed over by the networks that produced them.

bkd

[ Reply to This | # ]

Draft letter to Copyright office
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 09:03 AM EDT
I've posted a draft letter to the Copyright office against the idea of a single-browser only web site. Find the OOo version here. [Take it easy on my server, this isn't /.] Please revise and improve. I'd really like to see argument two improved. A supporting quote or data would be great. Please revise / add / replace complete paragraphs. Additional arguments are also welcome though I feel a two-page limit is reasonable. Post changes here or email via whois. I'll revise again Sunday night for those who wish to see the improved version. -rweait

[ Reply to This | # ]

Need for pre-registration?
Authored by: tknarr on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 09:25 AM EDT

I certainly wouldn't want an IE-only pre-registration site. Among other things, I don't think I should be required to use the single most security-problem-prone browser in the world, on the single most security-problem-prone OS in the world, to interact with the government. The government shouldn't be demanding that I open myself to those kinds of risks. On the other hand, I also don't see why pre-registration's needed to address the problem. Just modify the law on copyright registration slightly:

  1. If registration occurs within some short timeframe (say 30 days) of first public release, the work shall be deemed registered back to the time of creation for purposes of determining damages in a copyright-infringement case.
  2. Defendant in a copyright-infringement case can rebut the above by showing that at the time of infringement the copyright-owner had no intent to release the material and the release and subsequent registration was for the purposes of increasing damages in the copyright-infringement action. If the work was unreleased for a sufficient period of time (say 2 years from the time it's form was finalized) and the release and registration occurred after the infringement and within a sufficiently short period of time (say 2 months) prior to the start of the infringement action, this would be presumptive evidence that the registration was only for the purposes of increasing damages.
That would seem to close the loophole without requiring anything more than normal copyright registration, certainly without requiring a whole new pre-registration system to be set up at taxpayer expense.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does anyone remember the ADA?
Authored by: akempo on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 09:36 AM EDT
You know, that other little referred to law already passed by Congress that says
all government websites will be accessible to those with 'disabilities'. How
does making the site IE only allow those who fit the ADA profile but without
Windows able to access the site? Seems to me like the government is setting
itself up for a lawsuit for violating the ADA. Besides, there are others, along
with myself, who no longer have a Windows box to use IE on.

Just my perspective.

IANAL.
akempo

---
Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, small minds talk
about each other. Eleanor Roosevelt

2b | !2b = question

[ Reply to This | # ]

I watch many movies more than once
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 10:43 AM EDT
"Unlike watching movies, listening to music isn't a one-time-only activity.
If you like a song, you want to hear it over and over, and that's why you still
want to buy it, even if you've already heard it. It's a rare movie you'll want
to see again, in contrast."

As a videophile I must respectfully disagree with this comment. I own a library
of hundreds of movies - all of which I have seen - and I watch them again
whenever I can. And not all of them are "rare."

Maybe you *personally* don't watch a movie more than once, and that's perfectly
fine. But I think it's a stretch to be asserting your personal entertainment
preferences as a statement of fact or conventional wisdom.

Fruitcake

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on wrong single browser for - Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 11:16 AM EDT
" they are asking if those making use of a new pre-registration system they
are setting up will be inconvenienced if they make it usable only by Windows
Internet Explorer for the time being."

This is the correct question.. with the wrong browser.. Since there are
people who CAN'T run IE, and, since Firefox runs on almost every system you can
think of using, & is truly free (unlike IE which has large, hidden costs
(run windows??, Ha!, run IE, Ha!^infinity!)), IT is obviously the one browser
which should be used, if we are to be limited to a single browser.

Apologies if this has already been said (I suspect/hope it has). But saying it
again (insert that ^infinity thing here ;-)) may be what is needed.

bobby

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:02 PM EDT
I would like to know as a taxpayer why any government office uses microsoft
products for the public to view.

they should be using the one that runs on all platforms and costs the less. I
don't care about roi or tco because that does not apply with the government.
This is long term and a permanent solution. they should be using what is free so
everyone can use the same thing. the only thing they should pay for in upgrades
is hardware and the time to do it. although with oss the time would be null
because you could automate it a lot easier than you could with windows.

I think we should all write our representative and tell them as a taxpayer you
demand we use open source software and stop getting locked into proprietary
standadards.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:03 PM EDT
I am a government IT employee, and what they are saying is illegal (we are told
this all the time.) Government employees are not able to (by law) endorse one
commercial product over another, and that includes Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Even though it seems to happen often that a government website is developed that
doesn't work well with anything other than IE, it is illegal for a government
employee to say that everyone accessing the site must use Internet Explorer.

As a government IT employee, I find this to be unconscionable. The employees
who even suggested making the site IE only should be removed from their office
and not allowed to participate in government service again. It would be no
different than a government organization endorsing Coke by stating that they
only allow their employees to by Coke products.

I wonder how they plan on dealing with the government EIT requirements (Section
508), if they only plan on supporting Internet Explorer (on last check of
Microsoft's EIT website, Internet Explorer was not fully section 508 compliant,
which is a no-no for government procurement, though there are exceptions to the
rule.) Of course, neither is firefox, but IE only would prevent another product
which is fully section 508 compliant from being used.

[ Reply to This | # ]

P2P Movies
Authored by: Greebo on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:04 PM EDT
I have to say that i disagree with PJ on a few points here :

Let me say flat out: I can't see any justification for spreading big-budget Hollywood movies P2P, even if it were legal.

I live in europe in a non English speaking country. We have one English Cinema here (which is a flea pit), and a lot of the big budget movies don't make it to us. So i have two options. 1. Wait for the movie on DVD, or 2. Get it P2P.

The second option is illegal, so i wait. If there was a legal alternative, at the right price, Hollywood would be raking in my dollars tomorrow.

Also, Documentaries, TV Series etc, in English, are almost impossible to find here. All the Media companies should realise that there is a big market for P2P distributed content, if only they could find a legit way to distribute it, and at the right price.

You do want to hear music before you buy it, which is why record stores in the distant past used to have ear phones and little booths so you could do just that.

My local record store has that. You don't in the US anymore? Weird.

Studies are now showing that P2P sampling of music does inspire buying the music

Yes. It does. I've sampled music over the net, and bought more Albums because of it.

Sampling over the internet is just more convenient than having to go to the stores and put on headphones.

Nope. I disagree with this. I can listen to a lot more music tracks, in a shorter time, than it takes me to find the track on p2p, download, listen, find next track. Plus in a music store i have the advantage of Albums catching my eye that i might not otherwise have seen.

Unlike watching movies, listening to music isn't a one-time-only activity. If you like a song, you want to hear it over and over, and that's why you still want to buy it, even if you've already heard it. It's a rare movie you'll want to see again, in contrast.

I disagree. I have lots of movies that i watch over and over. Mainly for the same reasons you listen to a music track over and over... the way it makes you feel.

And that's why I say there can't be any justification for sharing movies that are not yours to share, because you harm the creators and distributors of the work.

I agree, but the Movie Studios are partly to blame for the piracy in the first place. Take my situation for instance. There's a *lot* of content that comes out in the UK that i would like to see that i just can't get here. So what are my options ? P2P? Get a friend in the UK to tape it on VHS and ship it to me? Or just not see it.

On the other hand the Movie and TV studios could get a clue and realise that there are a lot of people out here who don't want to pirate stuff and do want to pay a decent price for the media. What i don't want is a DVD that is crippled by Adverts i can't skip, subtitles i can't disable, or content that is over priced.

---
PJ has permission to use my posts for commercial use.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Me too - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 02:55 AM EDT
US Copyright Office Requests Comments on IE-Only Service
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:21 PM EDT
It couldn't be because Microsoft has agreed to implement DRM in the new Vista
software? could it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What the "father of the web" says about this sort of thing.
Authored by: bmushnick on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:21 PM EDT
Anyone who slaps a "this page is best viewed with Browser X" label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.

    Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996

Emphasis added. See also the Viewable With Any Browser Campaign.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Accessability
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 12:33 PM EDT
Does not government entities also have some special responsibilities when it
comes to accessability as well?

I imagine most blind people would be surfing with text-only browsers like lynx.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Negris and thin client --- did he really coin the term?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 01:42 PM EDT
According to SCO's recent press release, Tim Negris (SCO's new appointment)
invented the term "thin client".

Try this:

http://www.google.com/search?q=negris+%22thin+client%22&hl=en&lr=&st
art=0&sa=N

As far as I can see, google only finds a few pages referencing Negris and
"thin client".

1. A number of copies of SCO's press release, or articles quoting from the
same.

2. A very few extraneous hits that happen to contain these words for other
reasons.

3. One single news story, published in April 2005 (i.e. many years after the
term "thin client" first appeared), that credits Negris with coining
that term.

And yes, guess what, that story is by Maureen O'Gara
http://linuxbusinessnews.sys-con.com/read/49226.htm


So I guess the questions are:

(a) Did Mr Negris really coin the term "thin client"?

(b) And if he did coin this term, why is never credited with coining the term,
prior to April 2005

(c) And since there are a lot of other google listed pages than mention
"thin client" ("about 1,330,000" according to google). How
could only 17 of these pages mention Mr Negris (43 if counting duplicates)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ - regarding legal sampling of music
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 12 2005 @ 01:58 PM EDT
PJ, You should try Magnatunes for legal, in fact, encouraged music downloads. The site owner pays 50% of the proceeds from the music on the site to the artists. Downloaded albums are five dollars a piece, or you can order a CD, or license for a business. Janis Ian suggested this site as a model for how artists could get out from under label slavery.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No you can't
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 13 2005 @ 07:01 AM EDT
Re: I think I can say on behalf of everyone here that any governmental site that
requires IE-only is unacceptable, because it locks out millions of citizens who
don't have and don't want IE.

That's like protesting against a car park because it doesn't provide for
citizens who don't have or don't want cars, but prefer to travel by train. Or
protesting against services for old people because they lock out young people.

By all means ask for support for other browsers, but don't require any
government service to be equally suitable for every citizen, because you'll find
that none of them can be.
- Pete Austin

[ Reply to This | # ]

Are we taking the wrong stance on this?
Authored by: Stiggs on Saturday, August 13 2005 @ 01:39 PM EDT
I see this as being an opportunity for us, not to be
critical and contrary but to be helpful and supportive. The
copyright office could have released an IE only website
without batting an eye but they recognized that they should
support other browsers as well, but clearly don't know how
to go about it.

Rather than criticizing them, we should be applauding this
line of thinking and offering them help to make it a
reality. What would further our cause more: making them
wade through a sea of email, snailmail and phone calls
vilifying them or helping them develop the website both we
and they want on the timetable they are held to? I can
imagine they are currently regretting ever opening this up
to discussion, and if this is the case we are pushing them
away from diversity and FOSS when we should be using this
(and every) opportunity to draw them in.

The open source community has demonstrated that it is
incredibly resilliant and capable of defending itself from
aggressors (Groklaw being a wealth of evidence to that
effect) but we should be careful of whom we fight,
particularly when there is the potential to make an ally.
There is little doubt in my mind that within the readership
of Groklaw alone, there is the expertise to help the
copyright office achieve their goal and I feel we should be
doing exactly that. Isn't the desire and ability to help
others by sharing our knowledge and expertise what started
the open source movement in the first place and isn't that
what has made it so great and so very worth fighting for?

But those are just my rambling thoughts.

Stiggs.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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