Congressional bill concerning software

As I was speed-reading a newspaper last week, I pick up on a few tidbits about some bill currently in Congress that if passed into law as written would (among other things) strip consumers of a right to publicly complain about software that they purchase that fails to perform as expected…

Damm! Take away my right to complain? (life imitating the SDMB folks!)

Seriously though, are any of you SDers involved in trying to either:

  • get this bill passed


  • get this bill killed or modified?

What say you?

Contestant #3

Perhaps if we knew the name of the bill, what it says, and who proposed it, we could respond to your question in the proper manner.

Excuse my ignorance, but I thought that I asked if anyone out here was involved with it in which case I’d guess that they’d be familar with the house number of the bill…

So the question remains…are you involved with this bill in terms of supporting it or trying to kill it?

Contestant #3

“…and the wheel on the bus goes round and round…”
Do you have ANY other info on the bill other than that you read it somewhere?

…uh…yeah…I though that I had written that a key component of the bill concerned taking away the ability of a consumer to complain in public about the ineffectiveness of a particular piece of software…in fact, let me go back and see if I remembered to type that…

…hold on a minute…

Oh yes, here it is…C#3 wrote:

“that if passed into law as written would (among other things) strip consumers of a right to publicly complain about software that they purchase that fails to perform as expected…”

There you go Slythe.

Contestant #3

You have no responses other than mine because you have not provided the information needed to properly respond.
I AM trying to help.

Well, searching the Library of Congress site for any current bills related to computer software, I find bills relating to Y2K, encryption, education, internet telemarketing fraud, on-line transactions, more internet bills, more Y2K bills, child protection bills, etc., etc. Nothing about consumer rights on purchasing software.

Considering that people who have never heard of this bill might be interested in finding out more about it, perhaps you could bring yourself to provide some information on it? Like the name or the house/senate number? What newspaper was it mentioned in? What information was included in the article? Which day’s paper was it (so we can see if our local paper has any information)?

Ok…I searched…I found…here’s the dealio:

What I was trying to talk about is called the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act or UCITA.

You can get the skinny at this link:

As it turns out, I was wrong in my rememberence that this was a federal bill. Rather it is bill to be passed in the legislature of each state as endorsed by the National Conference of Commissioners for Uniform State Laws.

Among the shitty things for software consumers like you an me we have:

*Companies could legally disclaim any obligation to sell products that work – even if they knew about serious defects before the sale and didn’t disclose them

*Under some circumstances, a software vendor could summarily disable a customer software remotely if there was an unresolved dispute, even if that action disrupted and damaged the customer’s business; in theory, this would be an electronic ``repossession’’ of the product.

*Reverse engineering, used by security experts to examine software for viruses and the like, could be prohibited.

AND, the one that I mentioned in the OP,

*Buyers could be prohibited from commenting publicly about a product’s quality or performance.

Contestant #3

This just in:

According to additional research that I have done, this UCITA is also very bad juju for writers. In fact, here’s an entire website for the express purpose of explaining why you as a writer want to actively oppose this bill:

Contestant #3

Skipping past the many articles attacking the bill, and reading the bill itself, I find that, if you spend hours on the phone for tech support and finally realize that they can’t help you, when you send the game back for a refund, you will not also get a refund for the tech support.
The bill, which is 350 pages, is a list of guidelines that each state would have to pass individually. Read through it first, then contact your state rep. or congressman about it.