Adoption of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) by the states.
Software piracy, and the need of some form of protection for software owners has led to the development of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). This act was approved by a group of lawyers known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) and is now presented to the 50 states of the USA for adoption. The act itself has several components that are very controversial and there is now a large movement from the community of computer professionals and engineers to oppose it.
The main points of the UCITA stand as follows: ?ÃÂ« Software vendors will be legally allowed to shutdown a clientÃÂ¡ÃÂ¦s software upon belief that the shrink-wrapped license has been breached.
?ÃÂ« Provide a legal status to the shrink-wrapped license.
?ÃÂ« Selling or passing the software will not be allowed without permission from the author.
?ÃÂ« Allow the vendors to disclaim warranties.
?ÃÂ« Outlaw reverse engineering in any case.
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), two professional organizations have strongly opposed the adoption of the UCITA, as it will have disastrous consequences on software development. Both the organizations have written letters to express their thoughts and fears to the representatives of states. Following is part of the letter written by the President of the ACM on behalf of its members: ÃÂ¡ÃÂ§We are writing to express our concerns about the negative impact the proposed Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA) will have on small entrepreneurs, consultants, and all users of software. By allowing mass market software producers to protect themselves from liability for product defects, UCITA will encourage a race to the bottom in terms of software quality and robustness. At a time...