Licensing Legislation Said to Imperil Academic Freedom
UCITA8/9/2000; 6:16:21 PM 'Imagine that an architecture professor distributes to his distance-education students digitized photographs of the palace at Versailles, warns the students about the images' poor quality -- and then gets hit with a lawsuit from the software company that provided the pictures. 'The company accuses the professor of violating the terms of the license agreement, which prohibits customers from publicly criticizing the product. A judge rules in favor of the company, citing UCITA, a new law that makes ubiquitous software-licensing agreements readily enforceable.'A great comment from a UCITA supporter:'UCITA advocates counter that the criticisms are inaccurate or based on improbable consumer nightmares. "There's a lot of mythology out there," says Mark Plotkin, a Washington lawyer who tells his corporate clients to support the law's passage. 'He says UCITA also benefits consumers because it makes clear what their rights are when they purchase electronic information.'Yeah, sure... you have the right to depend on us for protection is about all the consumer gets. Perhaps there are benefits to UCITA, but in light of the immense powers granted to the vendors, who cares if we were tossed a few carrots?
UCITA group backs off provision -- somewhat
UCITA8/9/2000; 6:09:24 PM 'The group that drafted the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA) has backed off slightly from one of the more controversial measures in the proposed software-licensing law -- a so-called self-help provision that allows vendors to remotely disable the software they sell to users. But that may not be much solace to corporate users. 'At its annual meeting, which ended last Friday, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) agreed to end the self-help provision for mass-market software sold via retail channels. However, the provision remains in effect for other types of software such as customizable applications that are purchased by companies.'Well, it's a start, I suppose, but I find these so-called "self-help" mechanisms to be morally reprehensible in light of the fact that the vendor incurs no liability for using it. In fact, I doubt that protection would stand up in a court of law in a sufficiently importent case, with enough people getting hurt.
Pollster loses restraining-order request in spamming case
Spam & E-Mail
8/9/2000; 6:02:06 PM 'A U.S. District Court judge in Rochester, N.Y., yesterday denied a request from market-research firm Harris Interactive Inc. for a temporary restraining order that would have forced an antispam organization to take the company off a list of e-mail spammers while a lawsuit filed last month by Harris is heard.'
Polling firm drops AOL from spam suit
Spam & E-Mail
8/9/2000; 12:04:32 PM 'Harris Interactive Inc. has withdrawn a federal lawsuit accusing America Online Inc. of blocking correspondence with many of the Internet-based polling company's 6.6 million online panelists.'
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