What is UCITA
UCITA stands for Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. On July
29, 1999, it was approved overwhelmingly by a group of lawyers called the
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). This
particular group of lawyers has way too much clout, as many states rubber
stamp any proposed legislation NCCUSL approves.
Simply put, UCITA does the following:
Next: UCITA and software piracy
Allow "Self help" for software vendors. Software vendors will legally be
able to remotely shut down a client's software if the vendor believes the
customer has violated the shrink-wrapped license. Imagine negociating with
Microsoft for a better deal when you know they have the legal right to
shut down your mission critical operations for any percieved breach of
No "pass alongs". You cannot sell or give away the shrink-wrapped software
you buy without the software vendor's permission (oh sure they'll give
you permission). Planning a merger? Remember it's possible that you'll
have to buy all new copies of MS Office and other proprietary software
for every desktop.
Gives shrink wrapped licenses a legal status. Now they're automatically
enforced in court. Including limitations on the customer's ability to speak
or write about the product. Did someone say First Amendment?
Allows vendors to disclaim warrantys. Now we get into legalized fraud.
Simply demonstrate great software, promise great software, and sell a bug-infested
mess with an in-the-box license stating there's no warranty. Bate and switch.
As I read UCITA, UCITA makes this behavior legal.
Outlaws reverse engineering. Once UCITA becomes law, your data can be,
in effect, held hostage by the software vendor. This creates a financial
incentive for Microsoft, the day UCITA is passed, to create a new .doc
definition. Only now other vendors will not be able to reverse engineer
it to import it. If that document is important to you, you must keep Microsoft
Word forever. At any price. With any bugs. Microsoft Word is just one example
-- this is true of all proprietary software.
Copyright (C) 1999 by Steve Litt