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…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.

Preregistration of Certain Unpublished Copyright Claims, 70 FR 44878 August 4, 2005

Translation: part of the U.S. Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of
2005 allows copyright holders to register copyright in certain sorts of works before the works are published. The idea is that the copyright for certain sorts of works (such as movies and songs) is frequently infringed before those works are published, publication being the usual point when copyright protection begins. To combat this phenomenon, the Family Entertainment
and Copyright Act of 2005 includes as Title I the Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of
2005 which allows copyright holders in those sorts of works to ‘preregister’ them prior to publication, which affords them legal protection from pre-publication infringement in the U.S.

As part of their implementation of the law, the U.S. Copyright office is implementing an electronic preregistration system. This system will eventually support Internet Explorer 5.1 and higher, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7. However, it is initially planned that this system will only support Internet Explorer 5.1 and higher.

This is, in fact, something of an improvement on the current system, which requires Internet Explorer 4 or Netscape Navigator 4 on Windows or Solaris. At least the new system will support a Mac browser (there was no IE 5.1 for Windows; only for Mac), and will eventually support several.

Even so, it falls far short of web best-practices. There is no earthly reason why this system couldn’t be developed to support virtually any browser using progressive enhancement techniques. That U.S. taxpayer money is being spent on a system that fails to follow basic web best practices is disappointing, to say the least. Worse, it flies in the face of the U.S. government’s own accessibility regulations.

Send comments, along with five copies, to Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400. Additional contact information can be found in the original notice, linked above.

Many thanks to Larry Staton, Jr. of Holihan Law in Maitland, FL for the heads-up and to our own Holly Marie Koltz for tracking down the links.

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