Web creator urges US Copyright Office to adopt open standards

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Web creator urges US Copyright Office to adopt open standards

Responding today to a notice from the US Copyright Office that persons applying for copyright online should use Microsoft Internet Explorer – or else provide reasons in writing explaining why they could not – Tim Berners-Lee, credited with the idea for the World-Wide Web, has published an open letter to the Office rethink its policy.

Representing the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Berners-Lee writes, “As a background to the Copyright Office’s decision to attempt to offer services over the Web without the use of standards, it is important to keep in mind the Web was born and achieved widespread use only because of a commitment to open, vendor-neutral standards. The early Web faced the threat of fragmentation through the actions of competing browser vendors. These actions actually jeopardized the broader adoption of the technology…In addition to the numerous practical impediments that the proposed vendor-specific, non-standard implementation will pose, we believe that the strategy of designing a government Web service around a specific piece of software as opposed to seeking conformance with existing and widely used voluntary industry standards is contrary to Federal information policy.”

Read the entire text of the letter(