Virginia ground zero in vendor war

Virginia is ground zero for a high-stakes political battle against a controversial

law — the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) — that's

pitting users against software vendors.

UCITA would deregulate product licensing and covers software, multimedia

interactive products, data and databases, and Internet and online information.

It further allows vendors to disable software remotely as a means of repossessing

products; makes shrink-wrap licensing terms more enforceable; prevents license

transfers from one party to another without vendor approval; outlaws reverse

engineering; and lets vendors disclaim warranties.

Virginia's legislature is on the verge of sending UCITA to the governor

for his expected signature. It may be the first state to adopt the measure

as part of move to make the state attractive to high-tech businesses.

But many of Virginia's major employers are involved in a lobbying counterattack,

winning one important legislative concessions: Delaying implementing UCITA

until July 2001, after a committee of user companies and vendors reviews

the law.

The National Conference of Commissions on Uniform State Laws adopted UCITA

in July. The conference recommends commercial code law and sends it to the

50 states for their adoption. Only a handful of states have introduced the

measure.

—Computerworld

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