September 8, 2000
Donald S. Clark, Secretary
Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159
600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20580
Subject: High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, FTC File No. P994413
Dear Secretary Clark,
NetAction respectfully submits the enclosed Comments in response to the Commission's May 11, 2000 Federal Register notice soliciting public comments concerning warranty protection for computer programs and other computer products and services marketed to consumers. NetAction is joined in this submission by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and CompuMentor.
NetAction is a San Francisco-based nonprofit public interest organization working to promote the use of technology for effective citizen action, and to educate the public and policy makers about technology policy issues.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) is a Palo Alto-based public interest alliance of computer scientists and others interested in the impact of technology on society, working to provide the public and policy makers with realistic assessments of the power, promise and limitations of computer technology.
CompuMentor is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to act as a bridge to the information age for schools and organizations serving low-income communities.
As Prof. David R. Rice points out in the enclosed comments, the "protections" that the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) purports to provide for individual consumers are substantially greater than what is available to other software purchasers, including nonprofit organizations, schools, and other public institutions. UCITA's licensing terms are so restrictive, in fact, that they threaten to diminish the potential benefits of technology.
We urge you to invite Professor Rice to participate in the October Public Forum so that he may elaborate on the legal issues he raises in these comments. NetAction would also welcome an opportunity to participate in the Public Forum if our circumstances allow for travel. In any event, we thank you for the opportunity to bring these concerns to the Commission's attention.
Audrie Krause Executive Director
Six (6) copies of Comments
Diskette with copy of Comments