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Librenix.com: The Trouble with Microsoft IE Smart Tags

Jun 18, 2001, 03:06 (31 Talkback[s])

Librenix has a piece on Microsoft's proposed "Smart Tags," (the author is against them and proposes a way in which they'd be more palatable) and a more interesting bit of related information, which is the license under which all the site's content is provided: changes to presentation details allowed by the W3C HTML specification are permitted, but "reproduction in a web browser" in such a way that URL's are added or links otherwise provided are not.

From the article:

"The addition of Smart Tags is a content change to a web page. Such a change is not merely a presentation or formatting change like those that browsers have always performed. It is a content change in a similar way as if I republished a document marked-up with the addition of my own preferred references while leaving the original text intact. On the web, however, this is complicated by the fact that embedded links are an integral part of the content.

The opt-out meta tag that Microsoft provides for websites to add to each and every one of their pages demonstrates both Microsoft's arrogance and their understanding of the power of the default. They know that the vast majority of pages will never be modified with the disabling meta tag; the amount of work necessary to accomplish that task would be staggering. Further, they realize that they can simply require a slightly different format of the meta tag to opt out in the next version of their browser, rendering previous opt-out efforts obsolete.

An obvious solution to these problems with Smart Tags is for Microsoft to switch to an 'opt-in' policy for website publishers. If a publisher believes that the Smart Tags feature is desirable to end users, then that publisher can add an enabling meta tag and allow Microsoft's derivitive works of their pages to be shown. The publisher, by adding the opt-in meta tag, would implicitly authorize Microsoft to add new links en mass to their pages."

Complete Story

From the copying policy:

"Copying and displaying our documents in a web browser is considered a reproduction of the document and is covered by this policy. Permission to reproduce our documents within web browsers, in a way consistent with this policy, is hereby granted to all without further limitation.

Modifications to the presentation details of our documents by web browsers are permitted and include all standard HTML permitted changes including, but not limited to, font, color, and line breaks. Other, nonstandard presentation modifications are also permitted.

The addition of Uniform Resource Locators (URL's) or other links not included in the original versions of our documents is considered a content change and is not allowed without specific permission. This includes changing the color or font, underlining, embedding footnotes, or using any other means of highlighting a word or fragment of our document in order to provide a link to another website or to any other content not provided for in the original document."

Copying Policy

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