Copyright GC/ I&RComments are due no later than August 22, 2005. Here's more info on the Copyright Office website, and here's a related story on News.com. (via MeFi, thanks Ted)
P.O. Box 70400
Washington, DC 20024-0400
Reader comments: Jorge Penso says,
Other government agencies do this also fafsa requires either IE or Netscape. Mac users can only access the site through netscape. I guess they think that mac users can afford to go college without aid.
Tim Waterhouse says,
To apply for a US visa from Australia, one of the hoops you need to jump through is to book an interview with the consulate. You can do this either by paying $2.75 a minute for the privelege of speaking to a human being, or by using their online booking system, which requires IE (or maybe Netscape, which I haven't tried). Keeps those pesky Firefox users out of the country, I guess.Boing Boing pal Jim Griffin believes there's been a bit of a misunderstanding:
1. The C.O. is not saying it will be Internet Explorer only. It says they *may* implement I.E. functionality *first*, with the others to follow: "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." (Quotation from copyright office notice.)
2. It seems appropriate to me, in an odd kind of way: This reference is to building websites for Hollywood companies to preregister materials for special copyright protection: "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." (Quotation from copyright office notice.) Why is this appropriate in an odd kind of way? Because those very same people who are shoving copyright protection at us via Microsoft probably should be required to use Internet Explorer. This is what they want, this is what they get!
3. I point this out because the only thing worse than this kind of crap is the false suggestion that this kind of crap is happening. It wastes our energy and makes us look bad. We have bigger birds to feed than wasting resources on which browser, in which order, media companies are compelled to use when they want special protection for their as-yet unpublished work.
One of your readers recently commented :
"Other government agencies do this also fafsa requires either IE or Netscape. Mac users can only access the site through netscape. I guess they think that mac users can afford to go college without aid."
I work in financial aid, and I've fielded questions from mac users about this very issue; there is a biggish, mean-looking, technical screen that makes it look like non-standard browsers won't work with the FAFSA (that's the "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" for people who aren't down with unpronounceable government acronyms), but all it really says is, "we don't promise to help you solve compliance issues"; I've used Firefox, for example, with the user-facing FAFSA site and its school-facing cousin with no problems. So those starving, penniless owners of Apple computers (of which I am one) aren't necessarily doomed to the horrors of using Netscape, and certainly shouldn't be dissuaded from submitting their FAFSA online.
Matt Sweeney says,
My last contract was with a DoD organization. While I was officially the DBA, I also doubled as the back up web admin. When I first arrived to the agency I requested permission to install Firefox on my DoD computer. I gave two reasons for the request, first that it would make my work easier and two that it would allow me to validate the web site in Firefox. The security officer for the agency turned down my request on the grounds that the software was not authorized by DISA.
Now, the security officer did have a habit of saying no to any request he wasn't sure about, so I'm not positive that DISA has not approved Firefox for use on DoD computers, but it is possible that this is what is behind the support issue. It isn't that they are actively ignoring Firefox and other browsers, but that they are not allowed to use Firefox on their machines and so can not verify that the site works in Firefox.
Having spent a lot of time rooting through government sites looking for information for various contracts and RFPs, I've found that very few are not viewable in Firefox. Occasionally you'll find one where the layout is a little off, but, unless their using something like ActiveX to do something complicated, they are still readable in other browsers.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.