Why we oppose WUCITA?
If signed into law in any state, UCITA will undermine consumer and privacy protections. This proposed legislation would change the rules for purchase and use of computer software and information products for businesses, individuals and non-profits. And if successful, UCITA will cost software consumers billions. In essence, the UCITA legislation validates a "shrink-wrap" or "click-on" approach to electronic licensing, superseding consumer protections, copyright law, and privacy protections. UCITA would change software and informational purchases in the following ways:
The software purchased would no longer belong to the buyer.
UCITA valids a business model under which licensees are bound to the terms in "shrink-wrap" or "click-on" agreements merely by opening a package or clicking "I agree" to a usually lengthly, complicated agreement.
UCITA allows restrictions on use to be revealed after purchase.
UCITA allows software publishers to change the terms of the contract after purchase.
UCITA allows software vendors to prohibit the transfer of software from one person to another or from one company to another, even in the course of a merger or acquisition.
UCITA allows terms that may severely limit the use of the product.
UCITA allows restrictions that prohibit users from criticizing or publicly commenting on software they purchased.
UCITA would permit invasions of privacy.
UCITA allows software publishers to legally track and collect confidential information about personal and business activities of licensees.
UCITA allows software and information products to contain "back door" entrances, potentially making users' systems vulnerable to infiltration by unauthorized hackers.
Software companies could knowingly ship defective products.
UCITA allows software publishers to deny both large and small businesses many of the current warranty protections they have under present law.
UCITA valids a business model in which software publishers may sell their products "as is" and disclaim liability for product shortcomings. Imagine buying a refrigerator or stove where the producer does not guarantee that the product will work correctly.
If the consumer wants to sue over a defective product, UCITA allows the software publisher to restrict legal action to a specific jurisdiction -- a particular county, state or even a different country.
UCITA would allow software to be disabled without notification.
UCITA allows software publishers to shut down mission critical software remotely without court approval and without incurring liability for the foreseeable harm caused.
UCITA allows software publishers to modify the terms of contracts after the sale simply by sending an e-mail -- regardless of whether the consumer receives the notification or not.
UCITA allows software publishers to remove their product, simply because usage fees arrive late.
UCITA puts consumers at the mercy of software publishers to "blackmail" users for more fees by their unhindered ability to disable or remove their product for unspecified "license violations."
UCITA would threaten existing privileges granted under federal copyright laws.
UCITA would permit an end-run around federal copyright law in mass-market licensing agreements that are used by virtually all consumers and that are the mainstay of most library and business operations.
UCITA threatens fair use privileges that allow for the provision of fundamental library services like inter-library loan, archiving and preservation.
UCITA threatens "first sale" privileges that permit donation, transfer or resale of a product.