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Going To The Big House

Sam came over to my desk on Thursday with the December issue of Software Development magazine and said I should read the article at the back of the magazine.

I soon noticed my name in the article as the author stated “I often use Web Developer, a Mozilla Firefox extension written by Chris Pederick”. Very cool, I thought, but Sam said I should keep reading. The article continued:

It’s a handy tool, and it’s most unfortunate that, if Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) has his way, my use of Web Developer may put Chris Pederick in the Big House. Why? Because if I use Web Developer to reverse-engineer a copyrighted “MegaCorp” website, MegaCorp could complain to the local U.S. Attorney that Chris Pederick “induced” me to reverse-engineer its website’s functionality, and in doing so, violate MegaCorp’s copyright. The vehicle with which Sen. Hatch could make Pederick a potential felon is the “Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004,” a controversial bill that, as of this writing, is in its fifth rewrite. Along with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), about which I wrote last month, the so-called “Induce Act” circumvents the fair use argument for copyrighted material by making it a federal offense to “intentionally induce” someone to infringe upon the rights of a copyright holder, regardless of whether the end user of the technology is legally entitled to use it.

At first I was shocked and did not really know what to make of the article, but it will be interesting to follow the progress of this “Induce Act” and see what form of the bill is eventually passed. If you wish to read more, the full article is available online.

In the meantime, if you want me to continue to fight MegaCorp and Senator Hatch, please make sure you donate!

Web Developer 0.9.3

I have just released version 0.9.3 of the Web Developer extension. There are a number of fixes—listed in the history—as well as the addition of the same support for update notifications that was added to the last release of the User Agent Switcher extension.

I now plan on working on the 1.0 release and I will be updating the to-do list as I make progress.

User Agent Switcher 0.6.3

Version 0.6.3 of the User Agent Switcher extension has been released. The full history is available, but the two main changes in this release are the hiding of the option to automatically reset the user agent when the browser closes and the addition of support for update notifications.

The reset option has been hidden because too many people were disabling it without reading the FAQ and understanding why it was enabled by default. If you understand the problem and still want to disable the auto reset functionality then just manually set the preference ‘useragentswitcher.reset.onclose’ to ‘false’.

Mozilla Update development is apparently continuing, but in the meantime they are not accepting extension submissions via Bugzilla and I cannot do the updates myself until the developer section is activated. This is frustrating, to say the least, therefore I have changed the User Agent Switcher extension so that it no longer uses Mozilla Update to check for updates. Going forward Firefox should indicate immediately when a new version has been released. I will be making the same change in the next release of the Web Developer extension.

Extension Patches

I have released new versions of both the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions.

User Agent Switcher 0.6.2 fixes a bug where the menu was not checked when the vendor or vendor sub settings were overwritten with the default values.

Web Developer 0.9.2 contains a number of bug fixes including those from the unannounced 0.9.1 release—the history lists all the changes. This release fixes all the major issues discovered in the 0.9 release and will now be put on Mozilla Update.

Web Developer 0.9

A new version of the Web Developer extension has just been released. This is the biggest release yet and contains many new features.

As with the recent User Agent Switcher release I will also be creating a localized version containing multiple languages. I had localizations for the previous version, but there were too many changes in this new release to still use these so if you have new or updated translations simply contact me and I will add them to the localized version.