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ABA Withdraws Consideration of UCITA 92

Posted by michael
from the happy-happy-joy-joy dept.
Cognito writes "AFFECT, Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions, is reporting that the American Bar Association has withdrawn its consideration for endorsing a resolution to approve UCITA, the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act. This is a good thing. It's interesting to note that a recently filed law suit would have been prohibited if UCITA were endorsed and adopted as a common law."
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ABA Withdraws Consideration of UCITA

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  • Text of the letter (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:50PM (#5288834)
    February 11, 2003
    Contact: Carol Ashworth
    202-628-8410/ 1-800-941-8478
    Seattle, Feb. 11 -- AFFECT, Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions,
    expressed gratification with the withdrawal of a resolution seeking approval of the
    Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) from the ABA House of
    "Implicit in the decision not to push for a vote was the recognition that the ABA was not
    going to approve UCITA as appropriate for enactment by the states," said AFFECT
    President Miriam Nisbet. In recent weeks, major sections of the ABA, including
    Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Litigation, and Tort Trial and Insurance
    Practice, voted to defer indefinitely or to reject the UCITA resolution placed before the
    ABA at its Midyear Meeting. Also, the ABA's Standing Committee on Law and
    National Security last week informed the National Conference of Commissioners on
    Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), the sponsor of UCITA, that the committee could not
    support UCITA because the act's provisions could "present a significant security
    concern, potentially affecting key aspects of our nation's critical infrastructure." In
    addition, the president of the American Law Institute recently advised the House of
    Delegates that he could not support the effort to have the ABA approve UCITA. ALI
    normally co-sponsors uniform laws with NCCUSL but had withdrawn from
    recommending UCITA in 1999 because of concerns that the act did not meet ALI
    standards in several key areas.
    Nisbet said that she was pleased to hear NCCUSL assure the House of Delegates that it
    has no intention of bringing the act back to the ABA. AFFECT believes the inability of
    NCCUSL to win approval for UCITA from the ABA this year will lead to its rejection in
    Oklahoma and other states where it is currently under consideration. Nisbet said, "The
    failure to pass the ABA hurdle after almost four years of 'fixes' underscores the fact that
    it is time for UCITA to go back to the drawing board."
    AFFECT is a broad-based national coalition of consumers, retail and manufacturing
    businesses, financial institutions, technology professionals and librarians opposed to
    UCITA. AFFECT members have been following UCITA for the past decade and the
    coalition has been involved in every state where UCITA has been legislatively active.
    Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT)
    1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Suite 403
    Washington, D. C. 20004
  • by Neophytus (642863) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:57PM (#5288908)
    Some quotations about the law: []

    The software purchased would no longer belong to the buyer.

    UCITA allows consumers to become licensees who are bound to the terms of the contract provided in "shrink-wrap" products or "click-on" agreements.

    UCITA allows restrictions on use to be revealed after purchase.

    UCITA allows restrictions that prohibit users from criticizing or publicly commenting on software they purchased.

    UCITA puts consumers at the mercy of software publishers to "blackmail" users for more fees by their unhindered ability to disable or remove their product for unspecified "license violations."

    How the fuck that law was even thought up in the first place is beyond me, let alone taken seriously and implemented in two states (Maryland and Virginia). This is a severe intrusion into consumer rights and privacy and as far as I can see trys to restrict what, when and where you can do with software as much as possible.

  • Link to lawsuit (Score:4, Informative)

    by creative_name (459764) <> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:57PM (#5288910)
    Here is a link to the story about the lawsuit that could have been prevented.

    Lawsuit Link []
  • by MickLinux (579158) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @02:23PM (#5289135) Journal
    Okay, we have a Va-based LLC.

    We had problems with MS Word not working. [I don't mean not working as advertised; I mean not working. Standard corruption problems was taking out about 2/3 of our time.] So we decided we had to get away from MS Toys, and go to something real.

    We also had an old copy of Quark 3.3, legally licensed and all -- so I preferred that, but were considering Adobe Pagemaker as well.

    Anyhow, I called them, and asked them "Is Quark Xpress legal to be used in Lithuania", specifically because I didn't want to spend the money for Quark Passport, and their license was unclear. Understand that Virginia law enforces the verbal contract as well -- but that turns out to be neither here nor there.

    After calling their legal people, and talking to them, they said "by the license, it is unsupported but legal outside of the US and Canada", and essentially took me through the license to show that.

    Okay, fine and well. We adopted Quark, and went with three copies: one Passport, one Xpress, and one other passport... which turned out to be a fraudulent sale. About this time we had to go to Lithuania, so from Lithuania we called for a "valuation" to get Paypal's insurance to pay [they never did], and Quark came back and said "Wait a minute, we see that your company has one copy of Quark Xpress. That's now illegal; so to make it legal, you have to pay us another $550." I asked about contract creep, and they said that didn't matter, and they don't know who would have said anything anyhow.

    Well, part of this bill -- which PASSED in Virginia, makes it easy for software companies to modify the contract *after* you have the software, and charge an additional fee to keep using it. AND, if you don't pay up, they have the right to REMOTELY DISABLE YOUR SOFTWARE, REGARDLESS OF DAMAGES IT CAUSES, AND WITHOUT LIABILITY!!!

    Since we do have a Virginia LLC, I am going to start writing Air Traffic Controller Software.

    Anyhow, I claim "First Victim."

    P.S. In case you consider Quark to be evil after hearing this, don't forget what Adobe did to that Russian programmer who made ebooks for the blind... which is a lot worse. And your alternative to those two seems to be M$, which is not only evil--it just plain doesn't work. The other alternative is TEX, which is WYSIWYM instead of WYSIWYG, and is therefore not suitable for some usages as page layout software, at least. [It also seems to be limited to the number of fonts it can handle; at least, Scientific Word is. We really considered it, but discarded it because we could not fit our book into their predefined layouts.]

  • by mstockman (188945) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @02:27PM (#5289156)

    For some good background, read Ed Foster's columns in InfoWorld. This guy has (thanfully) been waging a war in print against UCITA since it was first proposed. Here's his latest column on this very topic (ABA consideration of UCITA):

    Gripe Line Column from Jan 31 2003 []
  • by Battle_Ratt (524562) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @05:01PM (#5290431)
    There is a "malpractice" insurance for software, it's call "errors and omissions". Our company had to get it just to rent space.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg