Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)

Essay by fortun21University, Master'sA+, July 2004

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The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is a proposed state contract law designed to standardize the law dealing with the licensing of software and other forms of digital information. UCITA was created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). The organization is comprised of more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors appointed by the states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Its mission was to draft uniform and model laws.

UCITA was originally intended to be a revision to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). UCC is a law that was created to ensure consistent rules were being applied governing contract law from state-to-state. NCCUSL was working along with the American Law Institute in making the revision but the two organizations could not reach consensus about the scope and wording of the amendments. On July 29, 1999, NCCUSL independently approved the proposals and sent them to the states for adoption.

So the amendments to the UCC that were drafted to be the new section 2B in the code is now what we know as UCITA. The goal of UCITA is to standardize software license agreements across the United States by providing a "model" law for states to adopt. UCITA spells out default terms and conditions for licenses with shrink-wrapped or downloaded software. The only states that have ratified UCITA is Iowa, Louisiana, Vermont, Virginia

Once UCITA was proposed many industry associations opposed the amendment. These industry associations included The Newspaper Association of America, Magazine Publishers of America, The Motion Picture Association of America, the National Cable Television Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Telecommunications Industry and the Recording Industry Association of America. Because of this the NCCUSL worked out a package of amendments that was...