Northeast Texas Library System
On Thu, 26 Apr 2001 05:54:23 -0700 (PDT) "Clark, Jeff" <email@example.com>
> UCITA is the Uniform Computer Information Act. It's a
> form of contract law, which began life as an updating of
> the commercial code but, when disagreement over its
> drafting ensued, broke away and became a separate effort.
> It is now undergoing an introduction and ratification
> process in all the states.
> Only two have enacted it so far--Maryland and Virginia. I
> know VA has a few modifications, most beneficial to
> libraries, but I'm not sure about MD. And a few states
> have already introduced legislation to lock out the
> introduction of UCITA altogether. About half the
> attorneys-general are opposed to it. Right now, at least.
> The idea behind UCITA is to create a uniform law to
> benefit commerce in the realm of computer software
> products. But it is so heavily weighted in the favor of
> publishers and against consumers--including businesses
> that consume software--that there's widespread opposition
> to it in its present form.
> Probably the most visible feature of UCITA is that
> it makes shrinkwrap and click-through licenses valid. And
> since DVDs are in fact a form of computer info, they
> automatically come under its provisions. That means the
> "home use only" provision on DVDs (like the one on
> videotapes) would *literally* apply, no matter what
> copyright law says. One other aspect of UCITA I'll
> mention here is that though it deals with "computer
> information", there is an option for other forms of
> product to opt in under its provisions. That's why I say
> our traditional videocassettes could come under its
> umbrella, as well as books (and not just e-books).
> Proponents of UCITA often argue that the direst nightmare
> scenarios like these will never happen. And that UCITA
> wouldn't override copyright law. But the case history for
> the latter is not reassuring... and as for the former, if
> producers' intentions are so pure that they wouldn't
> alienate their consuming public, then why not formalize
> into UCITA the provision that rights under copyright law,
> especially for libraries, would override any
> contrary specific provisions under UCITA normally
> applicable to all consumers? We essentially tried that in
> VA--and it didn't pass muster as an amendment. So we had
> to settle for a milder version of some library rights
> when acquiring computer products.
> One of the major problems with the possibility of living
> under an unaltered UCITA for those of us with media
> libraries is the nature of our collections under present
> marketing structures. Our educational suppliers, dealing
> with us as their main market, would be unlikely to
> institute unreasonable use restrictions under UCITA. But
> product we buy that is more mass market or otherwise
> specialized (all those business videos, etc.)--since
> their main markets may lie elsewhere, there may be no
> attempt to accomodate our own educational and public
> service interests. These might have to be negotiated on a
> case by case basis, at extra cost.
> Right now, though, I have a pretty good feeling that
> UCITA won't receive universal adoption without some major
> changes by the time it runs the national gauntlet. And by
> then, we'll probably end up with the kind of contract law
> we should have had in the first place if there'd been
> more compromise.
> But I could be wrong, of course. ;)
> On Wed, 25 Apr 2001 13:32:49 -0700 (PDT) Ben Achtenberg
> <Ben@fanlight.com> wrote:
> > I was hoping somebody else would ask this so I wouldn't have to
> display my
> > ignorance, but...what's UCITA??????
> > Ben Achtenberg / Fanlight Productions
> > At 08:35 AM 4/25/2001 -0700, you wrote:
> > ...That is, unless UCITA gets implemented in all the
> > >states...
> Jeff Clark
> Media Resources (MSC 1701)
> James Madison University
> 540-568-6770 (voice)
> 540-568-3405 (fax)
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