See NetAction Notes No. 38 for an update on the status of this issue.
Consumer action is urgently needed to prevent the adoption of commercial law changes that exempt software purchases from traditional consumer protection laws, and threaten the rights of software developers to make competing programs. NetAction is urging consumers and software developers to immediately contact the American Law Institute (ALI) and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) and demand that adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code Article 2B be delayed until the language can be revised to address consumer concerns.
ALI has already taken action (see NetAction Notes No. 38), but there is still time to contact NCCUSL before they consider the proposal in late July, 1998. See the sample letter below.
Send a fax to: (312) 915-0187 or write to:Mr. Gene N. Lebrun, Chair
Re: Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2B
I am writing to request that your organizations delay approval of proposed amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code until the language in Article 2B is revised to address provisions that are unfair to consumers and software developers.
If Article 2B is adopted, consumers who purchase software will, in the process of installing the software, be consenting to a legally binding licensing contract that was not disclosed to them when they made the purchase. This is unfair. Consumer protection laws generally provide that, if there are conditions or terms associated with the purchase of a product or service, these conditions or terms must be disclosed to the consumer at the time of purchase. Article 2B lets software publishers avoid disclosing the license terms until after the consumer has purchased and installed the software. Consumers who purchase software should have the benefit of the same protections afforded consumers who purchase other goods and services.
Article 2B also threatens the rights of software developers, and will ultimately be harmful to the industry. Amending the Uniform Commercial Code as proposed is bad public policy. For this reason, I urge your organizations to delay approval of Article 2B until it is revised to address these concerns.