Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Efforts on Law of Software Licensing

The American Law Institute (creators of such great works as the Restatement of the Law, and the joint author with the NCCUSL of the Uniform Commercial Code) is now in the process of creating a proposed uniform set of principles that deal specifically with software transactions. Recall that the ALI split from the NCCUSL when the predecessor to UCITA, which was to be issued at one point as Article 2B of the UCC, was rejected by ALI, and NCCUSL went off on its own to issue its proposed UCITA -- with results we need not rehash here.
As noted in today's BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report, the effort here will be much narrower than that of UCITA -- the scope is explicitly excluding potentially controversial issues like digital databases (let alone entertainment products and the like).

Some of the major issues addressed in an early draft include: contract formation, delayed terms, choice of law, embedded software, the treatment of mixed software and service transactions, and unconscionability.

The Reporter is Robert Hillman, a law professor at Cornell Law School, and the Associate Reporter is Maureen O'Rourke, interim dean of Boston University School of Law. The hope is to present a full draft for discussion at the ALI's annual meeting in May 2007 in San Francisco.
Members of the group that are working on the project are noted here -- Astute readers will note many Cyberspace Committee members sprinkled throughout the list.

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