VA-Software & Internet Legislation : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

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For the consumer, clicking "I Agree" before installing computer software is as automatic as ripping shrink-wrap off the CD case. Out of habit, you ignore the long licensing agreement that governs use of the product and begin the installation without a second thought. But at least in Virginia, the days of such carefree clicking are narrowing.

Beginning July 1, 2001, these legal agreements will take on new significance, based on legislation the General Assembly has approved and delivered to a supportive Gov. Jim Gilmore. The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, which Gilmore will sign on Tuesday, puts legal muscle behind the agreements, and it could affect everyone from the individual to the Fortune 500 company.

Suddenly, double-clicking "I Agree" could mean you agree not to sell the software license or give it away, even if you donate your computer to a school. It could mean you agree not to critically review a program, or it could mean you may be stuck with defective software that was sold as-is.

Under UCITA, it depends on the agreement language. "What UCITA does is encourage . . . all kinds of nasty terms and restrictions. It makes those enforceable. In the past, it's been a question whether they're enforceable," said Jean Braucher, a University of Arizona law professor and member of the American Law Institute, which distanced itself from UCITA after playing an early role in its development.

UCITA promises something few find disagreeable. It would set guidelines to make the exchange of software and other information transactions subject to uniform contract rules. The idea is to establish a modern guide along the lines of the Uniform Commercial Code, but with language that reflects the increasingly electronic nature of transactions.

"It establishes a formal legal framework for conducting electronic business," said the bill's sponsor, Del. Joe T. May, R-Loudoun. SNIP

-- Tommy Rogers (Been there@Just a, March 11, 2000


No problem. I just won't buy any new software, the old stuff is good enough - now that it doesn't have that y2k self destruction.

Or use free software.

-- jth (, March 11, 2000.

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