"The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is
pending state legislation that will validate software licenses that
excuse software vendors from responsibility for "buggy" software.
It will even allow vendors to prevent users and reviewers from
publicly discussing a product. Both the ruling by the Supreme Court
of the State of Washington and Microsoft's demand to Slashdot.org
to remove Internet postings about one of its products are evidence
of a disturbing erosion of customer protections in state contract
"The Supreme Court of the State of Washington ruled that
"not our fault" language contained in a shrink wrap license for
software was valid, even if the customer never read the disclaimer
and the software company knew about the defect before the product
was sold. In the Washington case, a construction company made
a $1.95 million error in a bid it submitted to build a medical
center because of a defect in the software. The construction firm
discovered the error only after the bid had been accepted. The
construction company sued the software developer and distributor to
recover the $1.95 million and the court ruled that a liability
waiver in the shrink-wrap license provided complete protection to
the software company."
"UCITA would make the Washington Supreme Court's ruling law
in every state that adopts the legislation. According to Skip
Lockwood, director of 4CITE (For a Competitive Information
Technology Economy), "UCITA takes away software firms' incentive to
pre-test their software in order to distribute bug-free programs.
Software companies can ship programs with known defects, secure in
the knowledge that UCITA will shield them from liability."
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