OITP Offers Tutorial on UCITA Issues

Article excerpt

A free e-mail tutorial open to everyone on the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is being offered November 6-20 as part of OITP's Copyright Education Program. The tutorial, titled UCITA: A Critical Primer, will be delivered via e-mail and consist of approximately 10 short messages on UCITA basics, contract law versus copyright law, UCITA's impact on libraries and consumers, and tips for fighting UCITA at the state level.

UCITA is a proposed uniform state contract law aimed at making shrink-wrap and clickon licenses for software, databases, and other electronic information legally binding agreements (see p. 12). It has been opposed by the Federal Trade Commission, 26 state attorneys general, library associations, and consumer and industry groups. If the law passes, libraries can expect to pay higher prices for electronic materials, according to OITP Copyright Specialist Carrie Russell. Also, libraries would be less able to negotiate license agreement terms. "Libraries will need to dedicate more resources to licensing activities since updates to licenses and annual renewal fees will be linked to shrink-wrap or click-on licenses that must be monitored," said Russell. "Moreover, UCITA is problematic because license terms will forbid the library from publicly discussing any product defect or malfunction," she said.

UCITA: A Critical Primer will be hosted by librarian advocates who have direct experience fighting UCITA at the state level. …