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Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act

The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is a proposed law to create a clear and uniform set of rules to govern such areas software licensing, online access, and other transactions in computer information. It is intended is to bring the same uniformity and certainty to the rules that apply to information technology transactions that the Uniform Commercial Code does for the sale of goods. In particular, UTICA attempts to clarify and/or codify rules regarding fair use, reverse engineering, consumer protection and warranties, shrinkwrap licenses, and their duration as well as the transferability of licenses.

The UCITA has been extremely controversial and has been opposed by a number of consumer groups and the attorney generals of many states because it is said to considerably weaken consumer protections, reinterpret contracts/licenses in such a way that is — in the opinion of these critics — to be unduely favorable to the software producers and disregarding the reasonable entitlements of consumers. While UCITA was submitted in 1999 as a proposed as a Uniform Act by the body of Uniform Law Commissioners it was withdrawn in 2002 as being too controversial. Questions have also been raised regarding the inability of existing laws to cover computer software licensing and sales transactions — most critics of this act believe there are adequate mechanisms to not only protect consumers, but software manufacturers as well.

Because of opposition, UCITA has only been passed in two states — Virginia and Maryland — efforts to pass the law in other states have been defeated.

See also: List of Uniform Acts (United States)

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