ARCHIVED: Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act

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July 1999

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED:
Members of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) will be meeting in Denver, CO, from July 23-30 to decide whether they will adopt the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) and send it out for enactment to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. AALL has joined with the other national library associations and many other groups in opposing UCITA. We need your immediate help with this effort.

Please write to your state NCCUSL delegates and urge them to oppose UCITA. A list of delegates arranged by state is available at the Copyright Committee table in the Exhibit Hall or at http://www.cptech.org/ucc/nccusllist.html. Or e-mail a letter to Cem Kaner of BadSoftware.com at kaner@kaner.com and he will deliver it to the NCCUSL members from your state.

BACKGROUND:
In April 1999, the American Law Institute (ALI) withdrew from efforts to seek consensus with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws on drafting a revision to Article 2B of the Uniform Commercial Code dealing with "mass-market" or "shrink-wrap" licenses. While that move effectively killed the UCC 2B, NCCUSL has moved forward on its own by making some slight modifications and renaming it the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act.

UCITA is very strongly supported by software publishers and computer manufacturers, but is as strongly opposed by a wide range of groups including the library community. Our recent letter in opposition to UCITA is attached (http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/lt071299.html). If enacted, UCITA would govern all contracts dealing with computer software and the licensing of information stored in a digital format. Our letter notes that UCITA is an expansive contract regime:

  • that threatens the basic functions of libraries to purchase materials and to contract for information for our users, to make information available on a non-discriminatory basis, and to protect patrons from restrictions on the use of the materials;

  • that threatens to restrict the ability of libraries to archive digital information, including information in the public domain, for future generations of users;

  • that creates new costs and burdens for libraries and their staff; and

  • that jeopardizes the public domain, creating a new expansive intellectual property right for factual collections of information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
American Law Institute--http://www.ali.org/
Bad Software--http://www.badsoftware.com/uccindex.htm
Consumer Project on Technology--http://www.cptech.org/ucc/
NCCUSL--http://www.nccusl.org/
The 2BGuide--http://www.2bguide.com/