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New York sues NAI over licence terms

New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has taken action against Network Associates (NAI) over alleged restrictions that...

New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has taken action against Network Associates (NAI) over alleged restrictions that the company's customer feedback.

According to Spitzer, Network Associates' software licences prohibit its customers from posting informal product reviews or tests without the company's permission.

Such provisions, Spitzer charges, constitute an illegal "restrictive covenant" which harms the public by pre-empting discussion of any flaws in NAI's products. NAI is the parent company of McAfee, McAfee.com and Sniffer.

Spitzer's suit further alleges that the language in the licence terms abridges the US First Amendment's right to free speech. Spitzer's cited as an example, a 1999 exchange between Network World magazine and NAI in which NAI demanded that Network World retract a negative review.

The suit charges that NAI justifies such restrictions by citing "existing rules and regulations" when no such rules exist and therefore is engaging in a deceptive practice.

Spitzer is seeking to prevent enforcement of the clauses at issue, as well as recover costs and penalties from NAI.

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