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What Is UCITA?

Five Reasons Consumers Oppose UCITA

UCITA allows software publishers to sell software "as is"; as used cars are sold in some places, meaning there is no warranty that it works right or that you can get your money back if it does not.

Many licenses require consumers to get notices from a software publisher or on-line service. Those notices may change the terms of the software or access license. UCITA allows the notice to be "received" by a consumer if the notice is only posted on a Web site by e-mail with no guarantee that it was ever read or even received.

If the consumer wants to sue over bad software or over a bad on-line service, UCITA allows the software publisher or Internet service to restrict legal action to a specific jurisdiction -- a particular state, or county -- and in some cases different countries.

UCITA allows the consumer to be trapped into agreeing to all of this after the consumer buys the software or on line service and before the user can even load the software to determine if it's what he or she wants or if the software works. Under UCITA these provisions may be placed in the boilerplate fine "print" that the consumer sees for the first time only after the consumer buys the software and takes it home (or downloads it), unwraps the box, puts the disk in the computer and starts loading the software. It is only then that the consumer will be given the opportunity to understand the rules and contract provisions that the courts will enforce.

UCITA allows the software license to say that the software cannot be reviewed by a magazine or newspaper without the software publisher's permission unless and until the courts find such a provision to be unenforceable! Even then UCITA allows the provision to remain in the contract! This will prevent critical reviews of software from appearing in newspapers or magazines making it harder for consumers to find out if software works correctly before they buy the software.

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