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UCITA is passed

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it dept.

CDA 333

A reader wrote to say "According to InfoWorld , "The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) was voted on during a meeting in Denver of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL)...The vote count was 43 states in favor of the proposal, six against, two abstaining, and two not present." Looks like the end of any rights users *thought* they might have had. "

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... (1)

R-2-RO (766) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775364)

can it be overturned?

Great News! (5)

orichter (60340) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775367)

Does anyone else see this as a positive thing. The more rediculous the laws governing software licensing become, the more industries will be forced to take a closer look at those ignored little licenses. Once they start to look a little closer, they might not like what they find, and may actually start to demand the rights they deserve. Just another argument for Open Source software as I see it, and perhaps the most compelling one so far.

Re:... (1)

scrain (43626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775370)

It's not law yet. Like the article says, the individual state governments must pass it in order for it to become law. The whole thing is preliminary. The article does say that most of the stuff these people approve does end up being approved by state legislatures, however. Watch for it to come up in your state's legislative schedule, and make sure your state representatives and senators (and US ones, as well... they have a lot of pull in state issues) know what your opinion is.

Oh no (1)

Hydro Cyanide (52206) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775372)

What ever happened to the 'peoples government' , i surely don't want this, and i doubt any of the 'normal' population wants this either, this goverment is becoming so corrupt now adays because of huge corporations and organizations forcing their weight into things and getting their ways, our government is now purely in the interest of the larger bid.. Too bad there is no more land left to create our own country.. Even my grandparents who have been in the war now questions why he served to protect a government, and to fight 'oppression' and evil forms of government when our own is taking away our rights to privacy and anything that we still have left dearest to us. This won't ever reverse, all it can do is go forward until you are catogarized, and totally commanded ala Brave New World..

How much effect will this have? (1)

Woshad (66582) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775374)

This doesn't seem to be a government body.
I don't know much at all about legalness but how much sway is this really going to have on the laws. Anyway all Things legal can be contested in courts. I hope.

LOL (1)

10Brett-T (11197) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775379)

"We think that this will extend the rights of end users," Nimmer said.

Oh yeah... That's what it'll do.

So is there anybody on this committee that actually uses computers?

WTF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775380)

"The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) was voted on during a meeting in Denver of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), a private group of more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors. Under NCCUSL guidelines, draft legislation has to be approved by a majority of states present when votes are taken, and that majority must include representatives from at least 20 states."

WTF is this "NCCUSL" outfit? It sounds like these 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors have granted themselves all the power of the Federal government, with none of its accountability.

This so-called "law" was made by a process found in no Constitution known to man. I don't think it's gonna fly.

All the more reason to use OSS (1)

rueba (19806) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775383)

You know Linus and Alan are not going to get off their terminals long enough to sue your ass!

Seriously, how can you run something mission critical with software that can be legally yanked at anytime? Even the suits will be able to understand this.

Re:... (1)

edhall (10025) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775385)

can it be overturned?

It isn't even law yet--just proposed law. Each state's legislature has to adopt it. Typically, they have adopted such codes in the past, but it's not a done deal yet. It can still be fought on a state-by-state level.

-Ed

Score this a big one for open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775474)

According to the article, UCITA basically covers legal relations between software buyers and software vendors - giving the commercial vendors a big set of hammers in dealing with anyone stupid enough to buy their products.
So if you're gonna get screwed by some commercial vendor, why not go open source? Either way you have no recourse if it doesn't work, and if you go commercial, the vendor can screw you in many ways that open source cannot.

Could be worse... (3)

Millennium (2451) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775476)

At least this isn't law yet. Individual states still have to pass it, and M$ can't bribe THAT many legislatures (hmmm... well, theoretically Billy could divide up a half-billion among each state legislature, but that'd be too obvious).

Hell, even if it can, the software companies (most of which are already ethically questionable when it comes to licensing; M$ isn't the only one) will create such outrageous licenses that Open-Source will simply look even better. The divide between OSS and proprietary is growing wider, and it looks as though it could be in out favor.

And, of course, the Supreme Court can still overturn it as unconstitutional (that bit about disabling software remotely could be construed as illegal search and seizure).

Unable to stop this fiasco... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775479)

I live in New York State. Two months ago I tried to call every representative we had on that committee. The only contact I got was a 90+ year old representative (I'm not kidding. Methinks he was alive when the UCC didn't exist). He understood none of the implications of this bill. I predict that the big result of this is that companies will (1) start renting software and (2) be able to remotely shut down your company at will by withdrawing the software until the issue gets resolved. God help us all.

Looks like an opportunity for Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775482)

We could really play it up that M$ is this big, evil compay that will disable your computer remotely if you say anything bad about it in an email or something equally paranoid.

Open source projects that specifically disclaim any intention of doing things like that would look like very good alternatives.

I realize that this is a strange thing to say, but this horrible bit of idiocy on the part of the software industry could be a major factor in their downfall (if such is forthcoming).

I say, go ahead and let them do it. Let's let them choose their rope, tie it into a noose, stick their heads in and smile for the cameras...

So what? (1)

shogun (657) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775486)

Can someone whose following this thing please explain just what it means for use?

Re:Great News! (2)

dsaint (14427) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775489)

This really does have the potential to make open source all that much more attractive to businesses and individuals if the OSS folks can seize hold of this and make it clear to the layman what this means. Is ESR planning on writing up a piece to make the rounds with all the publications using this as yet another reason for using open source?

Re:WTF? (1)

Syslevel (69599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775492)

It's not a so called "law." It's a code and now each state gets to decide if it should become a law in their state. That's just how things work sometimes. Make sure your feelings are known by those in your state government who represent you.

This sucks hard. (1)

The Silicon Sorceror (40289) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775497)

Thank God I live in Canada ;)

But seriously, who are they trying to fool with the "remote disabling" bit? That's ridiculously easy to break. Look out for disable-command blockers on the crack sites.

Anybody have information on how likely it is that this can be opposed successfully? How will the process go about? Can it be challenged legally, politically, or just by popular favour? The bureaucracy can't be entirely the pawn of big business. How long will it take?

How can this hold up in court? (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775500)

It still doesn't make EULAs enforceable. Sure, it *says* it does, but an agreement implies that both parties are in concurrance. How can I agree to something (the EULA) that I haven't even seen until I've opened the package, which, at times, constitutes "acceptance" of certain EULAs?

Congress is trying to pass yet another Big Business pipe dream, and, even if they do so, it'll get shot down, either in whole or bit by bit, in court.

It'll be fun to watch the wreckage fall to Earth.

- A.P.
--


"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

Re:Great News! (2)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775502)

Perhaps you failed to notice the part about making reverse engineering illegal. That part is definitely not god for free software.

Re:Great News! (1)

rueba (19806) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775511)

I agree. I mean imagine if not only is the software unreliable and expensive, it gives M$ the right to come and shut down all your NT servers whenever they feel like it! THAT will help me guarantee reliable service....

Disclaimer: IANAL, this is only my understanding of this proposal, I guess they'll need SOME kind of excuse to actually shut you down but STILL.....

It had to come to this. (2)

Raving Lunatic (67643) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775513)

Wait ten years - there will be two kinds of software for sale: totally free, and totally fascist. People that code on a proprietary basis will resort to network-encrypted executables or worse, eventually, to protect their int. property rights and maintain control of the product. On the other hand, OSS will explode in the opposite direction, so I don't think it's much to worry about.

Colour me happy.. (1)

HoserHead (599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775516)

..that I don't use non-Free software, and that I don't live in the United States. Somehow, big business has taken over; the States is no longer the land of the free, it's the land of those with money - oh, and you regular people can live here too.

At least sane companies won't start implementing these things - at least sane companies who want to sell to countries other than the US. Let me say this: if a similar bill is ever proposed in the Parliament or provincial legislature of Canada, I'll personally lead a crusade to fight it. I've no fear of public speaking, and I speak my mind however I see fit. Similar things will NOT come to pass in sane countries, if the people speak their minds.

To those unfortunate people who are stuck in the US: Write your representatives NOW . Make sure that they know you will NOT accept this sort of garbage. Make sure your local newspapers know about it. Every single average person will not be appreciative that their supposedly fair government, the government they elect and pay, wants to take away their rights and drop them into the hands of big business, whose only care is the almighty dollar. If enough people voice their opinion on this, it won't come to pass.

slashdot : home of the reading challenged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775518)

Good God, you people make it sound like a law was passed. This is a group supported by software vendors, that has made a proposal for the authorities to ponder and possibly enact weaker versions.

Proponents of these laws always ask for way more than they can possibly get.

IT'S NOT A LAW DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Two Choices (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775519)

Look, personal freedoms and rights in this country are going downhill at a rapid rate. I count at least four stories on slashdot in the last week alone about how the government is reducing freedoms that we once had. At this point in time, there are two choices that lie before us, we can either roll over and do nothing, allowing the government and corporations to take total control of our lives, telling us what to do, what to look at, and what to buy. The second option is that we can do somethig about it, we can prevent it, or at least mitigate it. In order to do this we must organize. I think that any organization that happens needs to have slashdot as its focal point, for two reasons; One, because most people who want to do something about this problem read slashdot, so its a good starting point, and two the people of slashdot have the means and the knowhow to coherently argue the issues. In order to organise we need to set up a seperate website, or a forum on slashdot especially for advocacy and protection of freedoms. We need writers who can put together letters that succinctly sum up the opinions and input of all /.ers. And as much as I hate to bring this up in such a forum, we need a strong leader. No advocacy or revolutionary organisation will or has succeeded in acheiving its goals without a strong leader. Thats not to say that any group with a strong leader automatically achieves its goals, but its a prerequisite for coherent action. Well theres the idea, tear it apart, build on it, but don't disagree that something must be done. Geeks of the world unite, for we have nothing to lose but our chains, and nothing to gain but our freedom.
Joe Stecher
Stecher@wam.umd.edu

P.S. Please dont flame me, but if you have constructive criticism, id love to hear it

"hell is being intelligent in a world of idiots"

By the corporation for the corporation --- (2)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775522)

The American government is obviously not siding with the people anymore, the small business, or the little guy. No it seems rather obvious that we have a corrupt house, congress, senate, president - whatever. The 'government' that we have is obviously controlled corporations who shell out the bucks to get whatever Aristrocrats elected. An example if I may, in Silicon Valley - the most internet dependant place in the entire USA AT&T has taken the entire ISP market into their own hands by having a completely closed - monopolistic hold over the "cable modem" industry. What does Chairman Kennard of the FCC say in a ZdTv interview - is he frightened that one company may POSSIBLY be able to control the entire ISP business in the not-so-near future? ... No unfortunately he doesn't. His attitude is that we can 'sacrifice' the small ISP's to build a large broadband infastructure. I have harsh words for someone who is so near sighted - It seems to me that people are far more interested in filling their own pockets rather than what is good for the public - this may seem like a new concept to many people but it is not. Politicians have always been crooked and dirty - even in Biblical times they were, and they still are. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. To wrap this up, they are taking the money from where it comes... being that the Sun Microsystems, AT&T's, and Microsofts are all out there saying "we need to be protected from piracy -- we need to not be screwed, oh and by the way here's 30 million dollars" the politicians are responding with "Yes Mr. Gates, what would you like in your coffee".

43 + 6 + 2 + 2 (1)

sparky (3778) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775523)

= 53 states. The 50 states + who? DC(?), Puerto Rico(?), who are the other three states?
--

'reverse engineering' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775525)

I've read articles like the InfoWorld article many
times now regarding this legislation. All seem
to insinuate that reverse engineering software (e.g. drivers) would be made illegal.

Now, reading the actual document they passed, it
appears that when they say 'reverse engineer' they
actually mean 'disassemble binary code.' This
is prolly just me being cynical, but this could
be a _very_ bad thing if misinterpreted- e.g. bye
bye samba- it was good knowin ya.

Oop, not Congress, my bad. (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775527)

Even better, a state-by-state committee. Cool! This should make challenging it in court fun.

- A.P.
--


"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

Huh? (0)

g0del (28935) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775529)

43 states in favor of the proposal, six against, two abstaining, and two not present.
Doesn't this add up to 53 states? When did those last 3 get added?
I know, it's probably Puerto Rico, Guam, and something else. But it still sounds strange.

Sucks to be you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775532)

Just one more thing to laugh at american's about. And you guys think Cuba is bad? Take a look at your own damn country! hee hee!

land of the free indeed.

Not all fun and games for free software (4)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775534)

Hmmm, I think I used that subject last time. Oh, well.

Just wanted to point out again that this will make reverse engineering illegal. So long as we live in a world not entirely defined by RFCs, that's going to be a problem. And depending on what the actual laws say, it might not even help if it's reverse engineered outside of the country.

And what ever happened to "they moved this to another bill because it's so stupid no one would vote for it"? I'm sad now.

Got Flag? (0)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775537)

Wow, they must be serious is they can gather
together all 53 states! Any organization with a working time machine is something to be feared.

*Saving up to buy their stock!*

Happy Cog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775539)

Hey I work at microsoft. We love this. Awesome. but wait hey! Who doesn't have those pesky license agreements. GNU. *BSD. What would you say if your ISV just said, "hey pal I think you have violated your license agreement on line 3452 subsection b, Titled you must please me or I will remotely shutdown your company until you comply." Yeah thats right PUT DOWN THE BUG RIDDEN BINARIES and MOVE TOWARDS the CODE. The OSS code. And the good license. yummy. I feel a swell of OS diversity apon us.

Re:Sucks to be you (1)

CrosseyedPainless (27978) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775542)

Thank you, we've noticed. Gloat if you must.

Re:Illegal search and seizure... (1)

LongShip (6698) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775543)

Illegal search and seizure? Maybe.

I'm not a lawyer. (I don't even play one on television. ;-)) I would look for this to be challenged on prior restraint grounds.

This entire issue is so lame. The proponents of this legislation are trying to tell people that they have no rights under the law to the use of their computers. This imposes a huge restraint on the rights of all users of commercial software. Right now, that must be about 90-some percent of the computers.

This very well might make it to the Supreme Court. But, I'd bet anything it will be struck down in the lower courts long before that. There will be plenty of big-time corporations who, not wanting their rights to use software restricted either, will pour tons of money into the fight.

Regardless, this is such a ludicrous bill that the states implementing it will become laughing stocks. Can you imagine being the governor of such a state asking large corporations whose livelihood depend on high technology that moving to your state means they have to give up their rights to the software on which their corporation depends? I don't think so.

Re:Great News! (1)

Lando (9348) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775544)

Pardon me for asking, but didn't congress modify the copyright law within the last year that does make reverse-engineering illegal?

I was under the impression that that bill had passed.

Lando

Re:This sucks hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775546)

"Thank God I live in Canada ;)"

The day this passes, Canada will enact our OWN version of this 1 week later. Our government is a freaking pawn of the US.

Bomb 'em (1)

Wah (30840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775550)

Time to speak to your local governments again. Make them aware what these kinds of laws means to the average consumer..."Bend Over and Lube Up!"

We need lobbyists, oh wait, we got 'em. I think it's called the Slashdot effect. Ain't e-mail grand.

2 scariest parts-- No reverse engineering, remote disabling of software and vendor approval for reselling. Does that include VARs?

Kind of makes those with OSS look at the others and issue forth the eternal sound of Nelson "Heh-huh"

UCITA is not law, but may soon be (2)

CBM (51233) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775552)

UCITA is not law yet. The NCCUSL has voted to forward the bill to the states, who must enact it individually. This is, incidentally, how the Uniform Commercial Code works, which governs many commercial transactions. However, it is likely that many states will pass the legislation given the rubber stamp of the NCCUSL.

It goes mostly without saying that UCITA will be bad for the consumer. It gives software makers many broad powers to limit consumer freedom. For example, shrinkwrap licenses don't even have to be on the outside of the box to be enforceable. Goodbye EULA protesters!

I disagree with those who say that UCITA will be good for open source software. Under UCITA, manufacturers may be able to enforce gag clauses that prevent you from discussing the product (including performance, etc) with others. This goes against the very nature of the open source process. Also, explicit provisions against reverse engineering may now be enforceable as well. Think of how the Samba team relies on reverse engineering to make a superior product. UCITA may allow Microsoft to forbid that practice in the future.

Many groups are opposed to UCITA, including librarians, consumer groups, the Attorneys General for almost half the states, and the Federal Trade Commission. Despite this the NCCUSL probably promoted UCITA because they have an interest in preserving states rights over federal. Cem Kaner hosts an excellent web page, Bad Software [badsoftware.com] , which discusses these issues and summarizes the hurtful parts of UCITA.

It is now vitally important that citizens contact their state commissioners, governers, etc. to expresse their opposition to UCITA. It's got to be done on a state-by-state basis now.

Craig

phreaks... (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775554)

I find it interesting that this NCCUSL troop made such a decision, considering the fact that no one in it appears to be qualified to make such a decision. Lawyers, judges, and law professors? I can understand dragging some of them in for technicalities writing up a law, but for consultation about a concept for a law, you need input from people in the field which will be affected by the law. I doubt any of the people on that conference/committee know what they're doing....and what the consequences will/might be.
And that disturbs me, because I really hate it when people try to stick their noses in where they don't know what they're doing.

Re:Two Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775556)

Ahh yes, the "american" way. Don't vote or vote in ignorance for corrupt liars, and then have armed revolts when things don't turn out your way.

Can't wait for those exploits (3)

MrJ (2608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775558)

Not to support script kiddiez or anything, but I'll be laughing my ass off when everyone's (including business and government) software is remotely disabled after the shutdown codes are posted all over the Internet!

Fortunately I'll still be able to laugh at them online thanks to free(dom) software.

Australian censorship/American corporate control (1)

mcdurdin (26478) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775560)

I just wonder which of these is worse?
  • The government having the power to censor web sites that it deems unacceptable, or
  • American corporates controlling the web through financial or legal means.
In the end it'll boil down to the same thing: a loss of power to the individual. And my feeling is I'd rather have the government blocking porn and the occasional good or useful site than have American companies controlling the web.

I realise that the story wasn't quite about control of the web, but this law is a distinct step in that direction.

One of the scariest things I can see about the Net at present is the inevitability of the American corporate-legal system propogating itself around the world, due both to a lack of regulation and international cooperation, and also just the sheer legal power of these companies. You can see it already through their lawsuits on international websites, patent controls, and similar tactics.

And yeah, I'm Australian.

Re:This sucks hard. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775561)

Also look for crackers and crashers using these back-doors for their own purposes.

No Kidding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775563)

It may not indeed be law. Yet! But remember all bad laws had a beginning. Be glad you have a front row seat.

Is reverse engineering legal? (1)

rueba (19806) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775565)

Just wondering, is reverse engineering legal now?
Is it legal to take a working (proprietary)program, disassemble it and publish the source code on the web?

Massachusetts people: (1)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775567)

The Mass. Committee on Science and Technology [state.ma.us] is probably where the bill will begin. When UCITA comes up, it should be listed here.

Th is link should at some point lead to the bill itself.

Let's not let it happen in our backyard.

No, it is not a great news... (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775570)

The kind of software that would be mostly affected by this mesure NEVER will be open source. We will not see any viable free alternatives to ERP applications, industrial strength CAD/CAM, large custom data mining solutions etc in our lifetime. Such applications are far more important then the operating system and hardware it runs on, they cost zillions, and if you have lost control over them - you have lost control over your business.

Re:This sucks hard. (2)

Eimi Metamorphoumai (18738) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775571)

But seriously, who are they trying to fool with the "remote disabling" bit? That's ridiculously easy to break. Look out for disable-command blockers on the crack sites.

I'd be more concerned with crackers figuring out the protocol and remotely disabling your software for you. As if they didn't have enough ways to do that without the companies building backdoors in.

Re:Not all fun and games for free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775572)

And I just thought I'd point out that the InterNet does not END at US borders.

And most hardware CAN be shipped outside of the US. So, skitter across the border for a weeks vacation and 'reverse engineer' the product. Finding a Canadian/Mexican site to host the code should be no problem....they will take US money.

I look at this law as a PLUS for OpenSource.
Let Micro$oft sue and pull licences.
That will become their own hanging rope.



Re:Is reverse engineering legal? (2)

mattdm (1931) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775573)

No. But it is legal to look at how something works and make a duplicate. (As long as you aren't infringing on any patents, which is a different issue.)

--

Time to move (1)

Vskye (9079) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775574)

The laws popping up the in good 'ole USA are just getting me to the point of moving right out of the country, period. Anyone need a good sys admin for a ISP running Linux? ;)

I mean, when you buy software off the shelf now, just by "opening" it you agree to the licensing crap that you sometimes can't read until you open it anyway! Amazing....

Dana

Re:Not all fun and games for free software (2)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775575)

As I said, depending on what the law says, that might not matter. If they make using a reverse engineered clone legal, it won't matter if everyone in Australia is hacking on Samba. It'd be illegal to use it in the US.

Check out this link. (1)

rueba (19806) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775576)

There are some more details on the "wonderful" proposals. They are for our own good, right? HA HA!
http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl ?/features/990531ucita.htm
Or click here [infoworld.com]

Cons of UCITA... (1)

-David- (30237) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775577)

From www.badsoftware.com [badsoftware.com] , a letter [badsoftware.com] by 14 Attorneys General that are against UCITA.

Another from same site is www.badsoftware.com/debate.htm [badsoftware.com] .

Do check out rest of the site since it has a lot of interesting information about this evil bill.

badsoftware.com (2)

jellicle (29746) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775578)

For more information about UCITA and what it will do to the software industry, check out badsoftware.com [badsoftware.com] , run by Cem Kaner, a lawyer and computer programmer. It is very bad, much worse than the press article slashdot linked to described. Imagine if you were a lobbyist for a company and you had complete and total freedom to rewrite the laws your company worked under. You'd write the laws to give you all the power and screw everyone else, right? This is what has happened with UCITA. If you have anything to do with software (and why the hell are you reading slashdot if you don't), you need to pay attention to this.

--
Michael Sims

Re:Illegal search and seizure... (1)

SeanNi (18947) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775579)

> Regardless, this is such a ludicrous bill that the states implementing it will become laughing stocks. Can you imagine being the governor of such a state asking large corporations whose livelihood depend on high technology that moving to your state means they have to give up their rights to the software on which their corporation depends? I don't think so.

I think you missed something there. It's not being implemented on a state-by-state basis. If you read the article, it clearly mentions:
The act means both vendors and users will be able to count on a uniform law, instead of relying on differing laws on a state-by-state basis, said Ray Nimmer, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center and one of the drafters of the law.

It won't matter what any one particular state has voted for, the same law will apply everywhere.
--
- Sean

Stop panicing. (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775580)

The UCITA deregulates product licensing and covers software, multimedia interactive products, data and databases, and the Internet and online information. It further allows vendors to disable software remotely as a means for repossessing products; makes shrinkwrap licensing terms more enforceable; prevents license transfers from one party to another without vendor approval; outlaws reverse engineering; and lets vendors disclaim warranties.
This sounds like the days of putting bad practices with good as the good would not be refused.

But honestly.. the concept of reposession, great idea. Just as if you are using your phone for 'wrong' they can disable it, if you use software for illegal reasons (use), cool. I would like to see how this would be enforced in a fassion that it won't be easily crackable. Encrypt most of the program so that the small encrypted portion decrypts?

Enforcable licensing and reverse engineering. I would hope that GPL would be marked as one. So stop whining if it is. Else, it scares me.

Reverse engineering is bad and its good. Its good in the sense as it doesn't restrict and allows free development on the code. It lets alternatives sprout. Its bad in the sense that how something is done, the concept, can be patentable and this is just a further way of enforcing it. Depends on which side of the line you are on. OSS vs non-OSS.

The upside on tracked licensing, easy transfer of warantee or other promised services. Down side, who the heck is going to be patient enought to use it? Those new to computers. Hell, we already do this with cars, no? This forces the companies to get off their ass and do better tracking of who owns what. This allows a company to even sell its software to different departments or branches with less trouble.

Disclaiming warantees is my big issue. Wouldnt' the disclaiming of warranty considered a form of false adavertising? To say that a warranty claims that we give support with this product but we, the company, say no since we want to?

I guess because I use only OSS, it won't affect me as much. This also is more a fight for the companies over idiot p1r4t3s. But you reap what you sow.

Re:Time to move (1)

Edward Carter (19288) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775581)

Most EULA's I've seen use opening the CD as a symbol of agreement, while you must only open the box to read it. IANAL, but I would not be too afraid to wholly ignore any EULA such as you describe.

Outlaw reverse engineering? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775582)

Outlaw reverse engineering? This sounds completely illegal. The right to reverse engineer has been upheld time and again. Copyrights protect only the expression of an idea, and not the idea itself.

Reverse engineering cannot be outlawed because RE is necessary to understand how the software works i.e. the idea and principles behind behind the software. Outlawing reverse engineering constitutes protecting ideas through copyright, a right expressly denied by the Copyright Act ('in no case does copyright .. extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation,etc.'), and grants the Software industry special privileges not granted to other industries.

Are these people on crack? (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775583)

When I first read that, I thought it was a big joke. I thought "No, that can't be. Nobody is that stupid." WHAT KIND OF SICK SCREWED UP MORON WOULD VOTE IN FAVOR OF THAT?

"We think that this will extend the rights of end users," Nimmer said.

YOU FSCKING IDIOT! YOU'RE TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHTS AND GIVING THE CORPORATIONS COMPLETE CONTROL OF EVERYTHING!

I never thought I'd say this, but Canada suddenly looks like a really nice place to live.

Not for reverse-engineered projects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775584)

I wonder what this means for WINE and other open-source reverse engineering projects? For BIOS manufacturers?

OpenSource addition? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775585)

how about a movement to append the GNU license or OpenSource standards to include some lines saying that complient programs cannot include such "evil features". I dunno, just a thought. It would be more of a political statement to show that people dont want such things then a needed condition.

Flame away.

Re:Illegal search and seizure... (1)

Ricdude (4163) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775586)

>It won't matter what any one particular state has voted for, the same law will apply everywhere.

States are still allowed to customize UCC regulations on a per-state basis. Maryland, for example disallows certain warantee restrictions that are guaranteed by the universal commercial code. Think of it like a standards document. It's not exactly guaranteed to operate the same *everywhere*, but 90% of the time you can expect 90% of it to hold true, and the discrepancies are well known amongst those whose business it is to know (i.e. the laywers)

Can they be stopped..... (1)

rajivvarma (71946) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775587)

What if this is only the beginning for the software industry and its consumers? In that article, they were talking about remotely shutting down software on a personal computer [talk about invasion of privacy]. How far can this go? Someone in a position of power better have the intelligence to see what effect this potential law could have on the U.S.: the end of freedom, the rebirth of a "Bigger Brother", and a computer software industry run by software vendors. Can anyone honestly tell me that the people who designed this law are doing it for *our* sake instead of there's?

Rajiv Varma

Re:Score this a big one for open source (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775588)

Marketing opportunity for anyone distributing or selling truly open source software. Play this one
up.

The average consumer doesn't like this. Don't believe that just because so many people have been
using Microsoft products that they will want to continue doing so if it is driven into them that they do not own the software and that it is only being rented (and that the license can be terminated online). It's up to RedHat, Caldera,
FreeBSD, etc., to use aggressive, cometitive advertising to make consumers more aware of this.

The developer community and the software services industry, which is much larger than those who mostly develop new software, are even more opposed because they will have no sound basis on which to deal with their clients and customers, either in-house or in contract work. If licenses become little more than rental contracts, it is very likely that service vendors will recommend open source in almost every case - because the license grants ownership of the code - thereby reassuring the customer that the rug won't get pulled out by unforseen events. (And that the service contractor can extend his contract to maintain or customize a product that will be around for a while).

Many people I know who are not nerds (use Windows mostly) object strongly to things like active updates when AOL or Microsoft takes over their computers to upgrade and install (and do who knows what else while going through their files). They also object strongly to unwanted connections being established with vendors by hidden tripwires in the software or planted in the Windows registry.

This is not just a Windows thing. The potential for exploitation of consumers and end users is just as great with Java. Sun would like nothing better than to have all consumers using very thin client machines, renting and running their Java and Jini objects downloaded from Sun mainframes. Sort of like the good old mainframe time sharing mentality. I don't think consumers will go for that if they have other choices. The can have those choices, easily.

For example, open source endeavours can offer competing open objects, which won't be rental but can reside permanently on the client machine or over a clustered network if the user wants that. Regardless of flaws which have plagued Java in the past, it is coming strong and Linux looks like the chosen client platfrom for it in the near future.
Especially with higher bandwidths by several orders of magnitude... I expect Java development to pick up dramatically in the Linux and free unix community - within the coming year. It would help to have a Java for Linux as good as what is available for Solaris and Windows. I think IBM will see to that.

The only part that bothers me about this agreement between the states for software licensing law is the part about reverse engineering. That can be broadly interpreted to have a chilling effect on many worthwhile projects. But it is almost impossible to prove. So long as developers aren't intimidated by legal threats I don't think that the plaintiffs in such cases can win often enough in court to make it stick.

This act is suicidal on the part of the large software vendors who have lobbied for it. Very short sighted. Of course if open source endeavours don't aggressively follow up and make the public more aware that they have other choices then things could get very bad before they get better. But I think there are now enough well established companies backing open source, and enough venture capitalists willing to invest and smart enough to realize that this is a fiasco for closed source.


That's the definition of government (1)

Mudb0ne (20598) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775589)

People who stick there nose in where hey don't know what they're doing... that's government. We should definitely make our voices heard when this stuff comes up in our respective state legislatures.

This is bad. (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775590)

At first I didn't see any problems. Even vendors having the right to disable products by remote seemed like a possible bonus for some of us. Users pissed at proprietary vendors who disable their software because of a mistake might look at an open source solution where this would never happen.

But then I got to the point about making reverse engineering illegal, and that my friends is a serious issue. This could, and very likely would, make future products such as samba illegal. Now, that being said, a program like samba COULD be created and distributed anonymously. Its unlikely that anyone could be sued because they're using a product that was concieved of illegally, and being open sourced, nobody would be able to prevent anyone from picking up the project at any time.
In fact, if the reverse enginner published the specs anonymously, than another coder could take over the project without (technically) breaking any laws.

Still, I don't like it.

I don't like any of it.

Even the idea that a vendor would be forced to remote disable a product is sickening. I know its to prevent piracy, but its very nature is an invasion of privacy. However, there are adaquate workarounds to prevent this possibility. First of all, in order to disable the software, that software needs to be accessible from the internet. If that computer never actually ACCESSES the internet, then there's no way to disable it. Also, sitting behind a firewall or a masq.'ed network would also prevent this.

Furthermore, assuming this is a method to reduce piracy, consider the fact that most commercial software products don't require any software keys to use the software, except maybe during installation. The reason they don't require you to enter your original diskette every time you run the program is they realize that its worth the risk of piracy to make it hassle free for the customer than to piss off half your customer base by making it difficult. Just a few mistakes on the part of the software vendor and they'll get some VERY bad press, along with some possible lawsuits. And you can be damn sure that they'll also lose those customers.

Still, I'd rather see the government stay out of the software industry. Let microsoft have their monopoly. I think I'd be happier letting linux or some other product topple them on their own merit rather than having "help" by the government who will likely create dangerous precedent in the process that will give microsoft a card to play in the future when the tables are turned.

-Restil

Land of the Free? (1)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775591)

Thank GOD I am Canadian :P

Civil Disobedience (1)

kovacsp (113) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775592)

Certain parts of this law would definitely make me call for some Civil Disobedience. Now, I'm not entirely up on the details of the UCITA, but if it outlawed things like Reverse Engineering, etc, then I'm afraid I would have to knowingly break that law every time I sit down at my computer.

I'm sorry, but no government can stop me from thinking and figuring out how something works. What are they going to do, throw all their sysadmins and developers in court? Yeah, that would be good for economony.

Don't even get me started on that.

Re:Two Choices (1)

Ozric (30691) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775593)

First they take away all private gun ownership.
they the dictator takes over. WAKE UP!

Re:43 + 6 + 2 + 2 (1)

Adam Knapp (35401) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775594)

US Virgin Islands?

not a worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775595)

ok, so here's how it breaks down. Assuming that this law passes all 50(3??) states, of course.

"The UCITA deregulates product licensing and covers software, multimedia interactive products, data and databases, and the Internet and online information. "

a: data and databases -- this will never stand up in court. Just wait 'till Oracle tries to take the contents of some corporation's 3 terabyte databases.

b: the internet -- again, a case of US myopia. We don't own the internet. We have no control over content in other countries. We can't even figure out what's on any given server in the US, much less in Zimbabwe.

c: online information -- yeah, right.

"It further allows vendors to disable software remotely as a means for repossessing products; makes shrinkwrap licensing terms more enforceable; prevents license transfers from one party to another without vendor approval; outlaws reverse engineering; and lets vendors disclaim warranties."

OK, disable my software remotely, if you can get through my firewall. Make your (wildly uninforcable) license more "enforcable". Tell me I can't give my copy of Winblows to my friend, even though I just burned him a copy instead, without your approval. I'll write your corporate office 1000 emails asking for approval. Outlaw reverse engineering (IN THE US)... so I rev eng a driver, encrypt and email it to my buddy in Germany, he decrypts and submits for inclusion into the latest free software platform which is distributable everywhere but the US and which I will download from an outside source anyway. Oh yeah, and invalidate that warranty that I rely on so heavily to assure that my software works as described and is free of bugs. The horror.

Doesn't sound like the end of the world to me, just like another stupid law that gets ignored and eventually overturned in court.

Re:Colour me happy.. (1)

Brian See (11276) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775596)

Just a quick caveat: If you write, make sure you write your STATE representatives, and not your Federal reps. This measure has to be passed by the individual state legislatures, and not Congress.

When writing any elected rep, it also helps to make sure you include your postal address to prove that you're from their district. Generally, mail from people outside the district gets pitched, FWIW.

Re:43 + 6 + 2 + 2 (1)

Micah (278) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775597)

Guam?

I thought we had it bad enough with existing EULA' (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775598)

Has anyone actually sat down and read existing EULA's...they already have supreme power and can basically rewrite the agreement whenever it suits them. ITS SCAREY NOW.

Now a bunch of lawyers and bureacrats want to give the software industry more power? Im getting shafted as it is...why give greedy corporations more power...if anything the end user needs more protection. Right now you can install a piece of software and if it eats the contents of your drives...so what..your fault for installing it?

Does anyone blame me for being scared.

Re:Unable to stop this fiasco... (1)

matthewg (6374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775599)

I'm an NYS resident too. If this gets passed here (over the petitions I'll have to start...) and the situation as to communication w/ representatives is as bad as you say, what is the procedure for calling for a vote of no confidence in the state government? I don't mean in a particular member of the government, but for the blokes in Albany (New York State capital) as a whole. And no, not a vote by those same legislators, but by the people.

Declaration of Independance of the Internet (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775600)

Does everyone remember when John Perry Barlow posted the Declaration of Independance of the Internet? We all laughed and shook our heads.. why would we want to be a global city state? Then the legislation started and we all started saying "hey, since when does the US government own the Internet?".. Then Microsoft decided to move every one of their products onto the net and we all said, "hey, since when does Microsoft own the Internet?".. well recently I've heard a lot of these music industry dudes saying how they are going to stop piracy by controlling the distribution channells with their mythical encryption and proprietry compression standards and I ask again, "hey, since when does the music industry own the Internet?".. on a side note, Microsoft had the right idea, they saw that in a free standing anarchy they can't survive so they formed their own (crappy) network.. the MSN. The music industry should do the same, the TMN for Totallatarian Music Network..

The problem with declaring yourself independant is governments still consider you a part of their turf. How has this been solved in the past? Well, with bloodshed really.. but that really doesn't apply to duel citizens like us. Is there a peaceful solution to the political supression that we are all experiencing on the net or will our independance only lead to cyberwar. Clinton seems to think so. An enemy within is an enemy as well.

Re:Can't wait for those exploits (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775601)

Yes, this does cause one to think MUCH more charitably about the cDc. (And to think that professional security folk are still saying that it doesn't exploit any security holes in windows! My imagination never used to be that flexible.)

There is hope (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775602)

The fact is, the government and corporations have LONG been stepping and crushing people, but it's always been the poor. No one cares about the poor! Now they're invading your space. The middle and upper middle class. Crushing your rights and freedoms. Recently large numbers of people have been protesting things like the G8, and in November, the WTO in Seattle. University students protesting against sweatshop labor. Thousands and thousands of people. And they're all involved in these things DESPITE the fact the corporate media never mentions them at all. Somehow, people are fed up and have discovered ways on their own, to try to fight back. Right now the largest community run microradio station, KPFA, is protesting against Pacifica because Pacifica wants to sell KPFA because of it's large audience! People have been outraged and massive protests have been going on there.

Our government hasn't just now decided to become corrupt, it has long been so. it is just now invading the "freedoms" of the middle/upper class of the country, where as before it was only hurting the voiceless poor and people of other countries (and still is I might add).

From killing off native americans in the past and now, to using slave labor in the country, and now using slave labor in third world countries, raping the earth's resources for profits and to feed our addictive consumption rates, suppressing the rights of women, and long promoting right-wing Christian fundamentalism...how can it not be clear the US isn't perfect like they lie and make you believe? The US is f-cking evil...and if you don't believe me now, you will soon enough...when they limit your freedom, or put you away.

http://www.savepacifica.net [savepacifica.net]
http://www.infoshop.org [infoshop.org]
http://www.protest.net [protest.net]
http://www.commondreams.org [commondreams.org]
http://www.zmag.org [zmag.org]
http://www.fair.org [fair.org]
http://www.foodnotbombs.org/ [foodnotbombs.org]
http://jya.com/crypto.htm [jya.com]
http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointel.htm [icdc.com]
http://www.urban75.com [urban75.com]
http://www.oneworld.org [oneworld.org]
http://www.mediafilter.org [mediafilter.org]


There you go. Arm yourself with information. Don't believe the world is perfectly all right. Now apparently the short-sighted people are beginning to see they were wrong. Don't think you're alone for thinking something is wrong, there are millions out there who know it already. From those educated on the subjects, to those experiencing the abuses caused by this horrible corporate owned world, and their servant governments.

Re:This sucks hard. (1)

Forkenhoppen (16574) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775610)

Actually, we won't need to; the current trade agreements between US and Canada mean that US agreements are honoured by Canada automatically. (At least it's that way with encryption..) Which really sucks, imo. Us Canadians don't have a flickin' say in it at all.

On a side note, I guess we all know what that Microsoft Back-Oriface rip-off was for. I'll bet they were in on this legislation..

Fork

Re:Two Choices (2)

hardcorejon (31717) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775611)

It is refreshing to hear such an energetic argument for protection of freedoms.

I've got a question for you: have you heard of the libertarian party? That's where all my support goes. It's the only political party in America based on PRINCIPLES.

More precisely, the principle that the sole function of government is to protect the liberty of its people. That means national defense, a court system, police, etc, etc.

That does NOT mean the government has a right to:
  • Dictate what we can and cannot eat and drink (FDA)
  • Jail us for consensual "crimes" like drug posession, and prostitution, and confiscate our property without a court trial (DEA, FBI)
  • Claim that we're to stupid to save for our own retirement and force us to pay into a system that is a total scam (social security)
  • Tell us what we can and cannot buy for our kids (CPSC)
  • Enact trade and immigration barriers
  • The list goes on an on...
ALL of which our current "democracy" currently DOES DO.

OK, pardon my rantings, I get a little excited sometimes :)

- jonathan.


"The system gives you just enough...
to make you think that you see change...
it will sing you right to sleep...
and then they'll screw you just the same."
- ani difranco

Re:not a worry (1)

True Dork (8000) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775612)

I would think that a firewall would cause "protected" software to disable itself. I would imagine that the local copy of the software would have to contact a master server over IP or dialup or something for a daily or weekly or monthy ACK. If it cannot get the ACK, it shuts down. Anyone who would want to do this remote shutdown routine has surely thought about firewalls.

Re:'reverse engineering' (1)

Straker Skunk (16970) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775613)

Isn't Samba's approach to analyze NT's wire protocol? I would have guessed actually trying to grok binary Microsoft networking code would have been way too complicated to be feasible (unless the crew down under is much better at it than I thought)

If Microsoft were to shut down NT servers... (2)

webster (22696) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775614)

How would we even tell the difference between that, and what we've got now?

Microsoft already shuts down our NT servers regularly, and they aren't even trying.

Sucks to be anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775615)

Don't forget the US is the most dominate nation in the world. So, as it becomes more and more "fascist"/corrupt, so does the rest of the world. Don't agree with us? Try to set up an Anarchist or democratic socialist system? We'll send in the CIA and private militaries! We'll sell drugs to finance it, and send the right wing military soldiers to the School of Americas, right here in the USA!

US citizens becoming too aware of what's going on? No problem, we'll send the FBI after them...if they're too vocal and influential, well, simple framing won't be hard or even murder....Who will the courts believe, you or the government's FBI?

Our corporations need more profits! We'll just set up some more slave labor factories over there for them to pay a few pennies to the citizens of "third world countries" and since it isn't done at home, the US citizens will be stupid to realize how bad that actually is. I need t owin that next election, who can pay me off so I can win! Maybe I'll support the NRA or maybe Exxon, or maybe Microsoft, hmmm...so many options!

Anyway, if this was happening in say, Iceland, then maybe it'd be okay to make remarks like that. But seeing as how the US (military, politicians, CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA) and it's corporations basically control the world, however we or anyone gets screwed by the US and it's croonies, it affects the whole world. Sorry, but that's the depressing truth.

Re:Stop panicing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775617)

Reverse engineering is bad and its good. Its good in the sense as it doesn't restrict and allows free development on the code. It lets alternatives sprout. Its bad in the sense that how something is done, the concept, can be patentable and this is just a further way of enforcing it. Depends on which side of the line you are on. OSS vs non-OSS.

Wrong. A patent requires a full disclosure of the operation of the invention. So if a concept is indeed patented, there will be no need to reverse engineer the software in the first place. In fact, one of the tests for the validity of a patent is how easily the software can be reconstructed from the description given in the patent; if the software cannot be easily reconstructed, the patent can be struck down for inadequate disclosure.

If the software is not patented, then copyright law provides absolutely no protection for the ideas behind the software.

Therefore outlawing reverse engineering is completely wrong headed and illegal.

I guess because I use only OSS, it won't affect me as much. This also is more a fight for the companies over idiot p1r4t3s. But you reap what you sow.

No,this affects all of our basic rights.

Re:Two Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775619)

Are you kidding? The Libertarian party is likely the LAST group you want to ally yourself with on this issue. They more than likely support having the current EULAs as they are being enforceable.

They will take power away from big government and gladly allow big business to take up the slack.

Re:How can this hold up in court? (1)

webster (22696) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775620)

Yeah, I've always given software to my kids to open and install. That way I can claim to to be exempt from the license I've never seen.

(Well, actually I haven't ALWAYS done that. But I do always think about doing it.)

Re:Two Choices (1)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775623)

I disagree.

The purpose of government is to do whatever the people want it to do. The problem is that most of the people are too dumb to know what is good and what is bad for them, especialy in the long term. And most of the smart ones don't know exactly what's going on.

Thomas Kerwin
--Knowledge is Power

(Hello to all my friends in domestic surveilance.)

That's not reverse engineering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775630)

The person who disassembles the source is not allowed to publish or discuss the actual source.
They write specifications based on what they discover from the disassembled code. They are then declared dirty and not allowed to work on the reverse engineered implementation. That is left
to others who must work from the specs rather than
the actual code.

Support the Canadian Takeover Effort (1)

Joe Groff (11149) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775631)

God knows they'd do a better job than the "government" and "rights" we enjoy and defend in this wonderful country. Come on in, I'll be waving my (Canadian) flag on my porch. ;-)

Natedawg brings "the rest of the story..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775632)

I haven't read the terms of this law yet. I will. But from what I understand the following situation becomes a reality: IBM and HP partner add feature X to the kernel and feature Y to XFree86. Then, in a flight of fancy, discord or other corporate BS, they change the licensing schemes for both features. BOOM Linux and the X group shutdown their development servers until the matter can be resolved. Hmmmm... This bill seems to give power to all license holders including GPL holders. No doubt there will be other remedies as well (i.e., sue to for injunction against IBM to halt deployment of their sw until licensing can be resolved.
If that doesn't happen I hear Antigua has some nice weather.

Re:Outlaw reverse engineering? (2)

CBM (51233) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775633)

Software producers generally try to make an end run around copyright law. If you buy a book, you own the book. When you buy software, do you own it? No, says the software producer, you just have a license to use it. Most software sold today is actually a license transaction, where the producer allows you to use the software in exchange for you agreeing to certain terms. After all, this is how the GPL works. Licensing in itself isn't always evil.

A license is essentially a contract between the user and the producer, and thus contract law may apply instead of copyright law! As long as both parties agree, almost any terms can be binding in a contract.

Okay, so are you bound by shrinkwrap licenses? In that case, there is no explicit negotiation between merchant and purchaser. So maybe shrinkwraps are enforceable, maybe not. What if the terms aren't even on the box (as UCITA permits)? Remember the poor Toshiba owner who couldn't read the Microsoft EULA until he opened the computer box, but by doing so agreed to the EULA?! UCITA makes such practices more legimate.

If the license forbids you from reverse engineering or talking about how the program works, I think we would all agree that this is a violation of the spirit of copyright and patent policy. UCITA does contain an exception against abuse. However, it will be up to a judge in a court to decide that matter.

Some open source developers may not be able to afford such a court battle.

Craig

The Libertarian Party has good intentions, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1775634)

There are other existing systems. Libertarian Socialism (aka Anarchism) and Democratic (state) socialism. Although I am an Anarchist, the only way I can live with myself is to encourage people to investigate them all on their own and make their own conclusions. I started out a republican, then dabbled in state socialism, furthered my knowledge to democratic state socialism, then for some reason supported libertarian capitalism (which the US Libertarian party is) and have settled on Anarchism. Anarchism was the first I dismissed because, well, it's the easiest to dismiss without knowledge, for the obvious reasons.

Anyway, I recommend visiting http://www.infoshop.org/ for information on Anarchism, and read the Anarchism FAQ (it's pretty long, but much shorter than reading the long philosophical and history books on Anarchism and anarchism colonies).

I can't remember any good (state) socialism websites off the top of my head except the Democratic socialist party of the America. http://www.dsausa.org They should have socialist related links on their website.

I think the libertarian party website is http://www.libertarian.com ...not 100% sure though.

I have nothing against most libertarian capitalists, they have high hopes too, they just see relying completly on corporations will solve the problems of the world. I have nothing against state socialists either...they all realize SOMETHING is f-cked up right now, and see different ways for solving it.

Re:Not for reverse-engineered projects... (1)

Micah (278) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775635)

Simple. The reverse engineering team would be outside the US. I assume there's no restrictions on importing code that was written by overseas peoples' efforts.

heheh... some sort of irony... (1)

cswiii (11061) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775636)

...that this article's correspondent is named "McCarthy".

:)

Back door by law (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775638)

It's been argued that open source is dangerous becouse a back door could be added by any random cracker.
While true this ignores the fact that such a back door could just as easlly removed where as a closed source counterpart can only be removed by the very person or persons who put it in to start with.
If this becomes law the whole argument is trunned on it's head. Not only would it become more likely to happen in closed source than open but it could be company policy. A feature to disable illegal copys. By it's very nature illegal copys of open source do not exist making such a feature meaningless.

Re:So what? (0)

zuvembi (30889) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775640)

31337 is a prime number, go figure...

C'est Bizarre. You are right, 31337 is indeed prime.

I had a friend once he took some acid
Now he thinks he's a fire hydrant
It's okay until he pisses on your lighter
Kinda smells kinda cool kinda funny anyway

satan, satan, satan...

I had a friend once he took some ecstasy
Tried to marry me and every one in the room
He was sort of loving kinda caring,
kinda tried to fuck my lazy boy
It got a bit messy all over the curtains,
arm chair covers, throw pillows, and carpeting

satan, satan, satan...

===

God I love Tool.

Why bother? (1)

Micah (278) | more than 15 years ago | (#1775643)

I don't see anything wrong with this. It just screws over people stupid enough to use non-free software. :-)

If I'm going to get mad and write my rep about something, it will probably be over encryption export controls... now THAT is true stupidity.
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