Knock UCITA Out

Bad ideas, like Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, don't go away on their own

Bad ideas, like Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, dont go away on their own. They need to be defeated. Were glad to see there are signs of this happening, but more needs to be done. UCITA, as it stands now, is an unacceptable vendor power-grab. It must be brought in line with existing consumer protection laws, user rights established in copyright law and even free speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This is essential before its passed into law by more states than Maryland and Virginia.

Opposition to UCITA has been coming from many sources, including big corporate IT shops, such as Caterpillar; the Federal Trade Commission; and 26 state attorneys general. Earlier this month, the American Bar Association got into the act at its annual meeting in Chicago.

The ABAs Tort and Insurance Practice Section submitted a recommendation that the ABA oppose the adoption of UCITA by any state and that UCITA be revised to protect "Licensees from unwarranted unilateral actions of the Licensor."

The resolution was not passed, but faced with this very significant dissent, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws is postponing its UCITA lobbying efforts and will consider changes to the document at a meeting this November. The ABA is also forming a task force to examine UCITA.

Here are our recommendations: Established consumer rights, such as the right to have disputes tried under protection laws passed by consumers home states, must be preserved; rights to transfer or donate software licenses after their initial sale must be upheld; and the right to sue for compensation due to product defects or failure to perform as demonstrated or advertised must be protected. Further, there must be no limits on rights to talk about a products performance or defects by end users or the media.

UCITA may have gotten the wind knocked out of it by the ABA. We hope its down for the count.