Bad Software is a book about getting your money’s worth when you buy computer software. We wrote it to help you get a refund, support, or compensation for significant losses caused by defective software. Bad Software will help you explore your legal rights. We spend more time suggesting ways to negotiate with publishers than sue them, but if they won’t play fair, you can make them wish that they had.
THIS WEB SITE was intended as a gathering point for information about software consumer protection. It morphed into one of the main sites for opposition to the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). UCITA was approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999, but approved in only two states and then only with amendments. The main opposition site today is the AFFECT Coalition.
To our surprise, we still get thousands of hits per month at this site, downloading historical documents. We intend to leave those links intact for a long time. Eventually, this page will be reworked, probably as a course site for my computer law/ethics courses, that focuses on issues in software consumer protection.
What follows is the page as archived in April, 2001.
[This site gathers information about software consumer protection, your rights, and legislation that will affect you.] For example:
- Chapter 1 of our book–You have rights when you buy defective software. Currently, Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code governs sales of packaged software. You have rights under Article 2. For example, if you buy a program, take it home, and discover obvious defects in your first day of use, you can take the program back for a refund. Some stores will tell you that the Copyright Act prevents this. That just ain’t so. For more information, and tips on what you can do, read Chapter 1 of our book.
- The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act is a new law this is intended to govern all contracts involving computer software and information that you obtain electronically (website, CD, etc.). It also stretches easily to cover computers, printers and other computer peripherals, and software that is embedded in goods (such as fuel injection software in your car.) This proposed law grants new intellectual property rights to software and information publishers (going well beyond the powers they have under the United States Copyright and Patent laws) and makes it almost impossible to hold vendors of defective products accountable for defects and misrepresentations. (Note: Much of the material at this site is archival, presenting documents up to July, 1999. UCITA passed NCCUSL in July, 1999 and went to the state legislatures. The 4CITE Coalition is coordinating the opposition to NCCUSL in the state legislatures.)
- Our new papers:
- The Problem of Embedded Software (Part 1) January 2001 with Professor Phil Koopman, published in UCC Bulletin (February, March issues)
- The Problem of Embedded Software (Part 2) March 2001 with Professor Phil Koopman, published in UCC Bulletin (April issue)
- Proposed Article 2 Revisions Fall Short for Embedded Software, November 2000, with Professor Phil Koopman (for UCC 2 drafting committee)
- Comments to the Federal Trade Commission submitted for its hearing on software warranties and consumer protection.
- Software Engineering and UCITA, published in the Journal of Computer Law.
- Why You Should Oppose UCITA, published in the Computer Lawyer