US software licensing law loses support

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) has withdrawn its support of a controversial software...

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) has withdrawn its support of a controversial software licensing law and will no longer seek its adoption by state legislatures.

One top official of the Chicago-based group called the action "unprecedented" and said it stemmed from intense, wide-ranging opposition to the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA).

"Clearly we are experiencing directed intense and incessant politics and strong opposition, without suggestion of concrete alternatives, from some consumer groups, insurance companies and libraries, and the allies they have accumulated," said NCCUSL president King Burnett in a letter sent on Friday to the organisation's commissioners.

Burnett said NCCUSL had become "embroiled in a political debate with unusual dimensions". But he reiterated support for UCITA, noting that it will remain in place as a legal resource.

Carlyle Ring, who headed the now disbanded UCITA drafting committee, said the act will remain influential because it was adopted in two US states. He said it will continue to serve as a point of reference for courts considering such issues.

UCITA opponents said they would continue to fight the licensing law, which sets default rules for software contracts, saying that these rules give suppliers too much power.

Patrick Thibodeau writes for Computerworld

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