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March 24, 1997

To: Carlyle Ring


Dear Connie:

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:

  1. In a process that involves strongly held views, it is too easy to misunderstand the motives of people who don't agree with you. Press coverage is frustrating for all of us.
  2. I want to encourage you to think of recent press coverage as the result of an effort to break up a logjam. Customers have little to gain from non-uniform laws. But we need good faith negotiations between industry and customer advocates that result in realistic compromises and a law that is reasonably fair to all sides. If not, Article 2B cannot muster customer-side support.


    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.

  3. I am convinced that we can develop a set of rules that work for customers and publishers alike.


    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.


Cem Kaner 

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The articles at this web site are not legal advice. They do not establish a lawyer/client relationship between me and you. I took care to ensure that they were well researched at the time that I wrote them, but the law changes quickly. By the time you read this material, it may be out of date. Also, the laws of the different States are not the same. These discussions might not apply to your circumstances. Please do not take legal action on the basis of what you read here, without consulting your own attorney.
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Last modified: Monday November 10, 1997. Copyright © 1997, Cem Kaner. All rights reserved.