tbyfield on Thu, 30 Apr 1998 07:19:12 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> (FWD) New danger of shrink-wrap licenses

[[Originally reposted by Richard Stallman to gnu-misc-discuss@gnu.org.-T]]

[The GNU project is re-posting this message because we oppose the
planned anti-user changes in the Uniform Commercial Code.  Please
forward this to other newsgroups and mailing lists, where

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 10:44:30 -0400
From: "Matt Samsonoff" <matt@bluelobster.com>
To: gnu@gnu.org
Subject: Freedom for software consumers.


Your organization supports the freedom of programmers to write programs,
but what about freedom for software consumers?

The Uniform Commercial Code Article 2B, which has been in the drafting
stage for several years, gives software companies the ability to screw
over their customers. The current UCC prevents companies from taking
consumer rights away in the fine print of contracts but article 2B will
allow them to write anything they want into the contract.. and they will
be able to enforce it. Software companies will take away as many
consumer rights as they can.

Here's a brief list of items that publishers will be able to put in
their licenses (this list is taken from Cem Kaner's web site,

- Prohibition against publishing detailed criticisms of the software.
- Prohibition against reverse engineering.
- Prohibition against decompiling the software.
- Prohibition (via the ban of reverse engineering) against developing
  products that are interoperable with this one.
- Restrictions on the nature or purposes of use of the product.
- Restrictions against competition.
- Publisher has choice of law (entirely unrestricted to whatever state
  or country the publisher chooses)
- Publisher has choice of forum (the publisher can choose that you
  have to sue them in Nigeria).

Cem Kaner has a web site with several papers that he has written on the


ZDNet has written a few articles on this subject:


Article 2B is a threat to anyone who uses a computer. I just wanted to
make sure your organization is aware of it.


  Matt Samsonoff                    mailto:matt@bluelobster.com
  Blue Lobster Software             http://www.bluelobster.com
  Cascade Centre                    Tel : 716-546-3550 x252
  72 Cascade Drive                  Fax : 716-546-5488
  Rochester, NY 14614

                  "If at first you don't succeed,
               destroy all evidence that you tried."


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