March 24, 1997
To: Carlyle Ring
For Distribution: ARTICLE 2B COMMITTEE AND MAILING LIST
You called me the other day to express concern over the recent press coverage of Article 2B. I'm writing to respond with a few suggestions:
We are at a difficult time in the meetings. There have been threats by trade association representatives, over several meetings, to withdraw "Industry" support of the Article unless a particular decision was or was not made. And since the ProCD and Gateway 2000 decisions, trade association representatives have said that they have won the shrinkwrap battle, and that the "Industry" has limited need for 2B's ratification of mass-market licenses.
These representatives must understand that their position is not so solid. I am not sure how, under these circumstances, customer representatives can foster such an understanding without contacting the press.
On my part, I will be glad to travel anywhere in the country to try to develop a compromise position with industry representatives.
I've heard a great deal from certain people about customer advocates' alleged bad faith and unwillingness to negotiate. I have not heard from these people any acknowledgment of the intransigence on the other side. It is a major effort to even gain the occasional acknowledgment that some customers have been genuinely cheated by some software developers. At times I've provided data or hypos to support points made by trade association representatives. To the best of my recollection, no trade association representative has ever supported any customer-side point made by me.
It takes two motivated sides to work creatively toward a mutually
acceptable position. I welcome suggestions on effective ways
to motivate the trade associations' representatives.
No one on the customer's side is trying to sabotage Article 2B. We would rather see a balanced law pass than an unbalanced law fail.