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ABA Withdraws Consideration of UCITA 92

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writes "AFFECT, Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions, is reporting that the American Bar Association has withdrawn its consideration for endorsing a resolution to approve UCITA, the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act.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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  • software failures (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:54PM (#5288877)
    I'm not sure UCITA is the correct way to go about it, but I think we do need some way of assigning responsibility for software failures, and opening up authors and distributors of software for lawsuits when it does fail.

    Perhaps a professional association would help. Engineers designing bridges, chemical reactors, buildings and aircraft all have to sign the designs to say they have examined them and believe they will not fail. If they are proven incorrect they can have severe consequences, including monetary damages, loss of license to practise, and jail terms. Why do software "engineers" get off so easily?

    Rules should be placed on software use so that in "critical" systems only software that is signed off as safe can be used, and so that if software that is signed off by a professional software engineer is used, and it fails, then the signing party is personally responsible for the failure.
  • Imagine ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:54PM (#5288881) Homepage Journal
    A body of lawyers not endorsing a law that would prohibit some lawsuits? Very strange indeed.

    Seriously, would the passing UCITA result in more or less lawsuits? I'm assuming less since the room to challenge license clauses would be greatly reduced.
  • Responsibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 142825 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @01:55PM (#5288886) Homepage
    The UCITA is an attempt of software companies to get out of responsibility. It is one thing to not be responsible for every minor unknown bug, but it is completely different disclaim everything and enforce many of these all to common draconian terms in shrink wrap license agreements.
  • Re:Responsibility (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asparagus ( 29121 ) <koonce@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @02:02PM (#5288952) Homepage Journal
    This resolution is less an attempt by the ABA to stop a bad law as it is them making sure they have a loophole to sue.

    What do you call a hundred lawyers in an airplane on the bottom of the ocean?

    A good start.
  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @02:06PM (#5288992)
    There are those who genuinely believe that copyrights are some inherent property right and intend to use the internet to leverage controll of information to every corner of the planet. In this scope they have proposed UTICA, the DMCA, infinite extensions, and hardware controlls whenever possible. They just don't get that the entire value of the information age encompases the unadulterated free flow of information to everywhere and everyone.

    Unfortunatley, nowdays they are causing a massive economic problem as technology and paradigms pass them by. The software revenue giants Like Microsoft, are completely locked out of the greatest new paradigm in software - Linux and free software. The revenue giants like the movie and music industry are completely locked out by the greatest new paradigm in media - unhibited p2p. Maginify this across zillions of businesses and industries and long behold you have a massive economic problem that will not go away with the war on Iraq, but rather with the disapearance of copyrights. Getting rid of UTICA is a good first step, now all we need to do is get the weed at the root.
  • by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @02:10PM (#5289033) Homepage Journal
    This sounds great, but in the end, some type of "malpractice" insurance would have to be introduced. The cost of that insurance would spiral higher and higher until some president had to address it in the State of the Union Address to the nation.

    I don't want to have to get "malpractice" insurance. In the end, that cost will be passed onto the customer, and if the customer doesn't want to pay the extra cost, we'll have to cut some more QA work (ironically)

    --sex []

  • Re:Responsibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by asparagus ( 29121 ) <koonce@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @03:43PM (#5289822) Homepage Journal
    Ask Brutus.
  • by endoboy ( 560088 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2003 @04:00PM (#5289949)
    It's called errors & ommissions coverage. For a small medical device company, the premium runs $3 to 5 thousand per year.

    As for your statement that the insurance cost will cause you to cut down on QA--I call BS. The only reason that software companies get away with producing the crap that passes for the average code package is that they have miraculously managed to disclaim almost all liability.

    A required warrantee of merchantability (as just about every other product on the planet has) is about the best thing that could possible happen to the software industry--it's about time the coders of the world took on the responsibility that comes with claiming to be an engineering discipline.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault