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Freshmeat: The Dangers of UCITA

Feb 24, 2000, 01:29 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Skip Lockwood)

"The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) has a reasonable goal: to create up-to-date rules governing the buying and selling of software. But UCITA unnecessarily reverses hard-won developments in consumer protection law that we now take for granted. It also tilts the playing field in favor of large software vendors and publishers."

"For instance, legally mandated disclosure requirements and standardized terminology such as the APR (annual percentage rate) help us compare interest rates and locate important credit terms. Most product warranties are easier to understand than they were 20 years ago thanks to laws that require simplified language and distinguish between "Full" and "Limited" warranties. State commercial laws and Federal Trade Commission rules compel more truthful advertising."

"Software is exactly the kind of product for which those types of rules are beneficial. Of course, disclosures and remedies appropriate for toasters and credit cards may not be appropriate for software. But rather than refine the current rules, UCITA returns to the days before nationally-supported consumer laws."

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