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The Register: Consumer friendly FTC may demand software works to spec

Nov 02, 2000, 20:25 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Lea)

[ Thanks to Doug Bostrom for this link. ]

"Consumers may soon get a better deal for packaged software, and be able to buy it instead of licensing it under onerous terms. Despite the strong lobbying efforts of US packaged software publishers, the US Federal Trading Commission (FTC) could well come out on the side of the consumer."

"The restrictions associated with software licensing have produced something of a consumer backlash, because outright sales give consumers far more rights, and this view may have found some sympathy at the FTC. Against all expectations, it now looks as though the controversial Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA - a so-called model law intended for enactment by every state, the pre-cursor of which was called Article 2B of the Uniform Commercial Code) may not be rubber stamped by many state legislatures."

"...Software publishers are a bit shy about coming forward to defend UCITA, and tend to work through trade associations like the Washington Software Alliance (global sponsors: Preston, Gates, Ellis - Bill's Dad's law firm no less). The WSA made some very contorted arguments in favour of UCITA, suggesting that requiring warranties on packaged software would threaten the vibrancy of the US economy, and make it hard for small software companies to survive. The WSA soon gets to the heart of its global sponsor's concerns: "The open source... software movement is one of the major sources of competition to the Microsoft operating system" and sets about castigating Red Hat's licence which, after all "gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the library."

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