March 08, 2001, 12:43 PM — IN THE DAWN of the divided Congress, the debate surrounding high-profile IT policy issues will increasingly reflect both the dramatic changes in the economy and the new political figures on the scene.
-- Jessica Davis
The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is expected to make it onto the legislative agenda in at least five states in 2001.
The complex legislation -- which outlaws reverse engineering, turns software sales into licensing deals, and makes it legal for vendors to remotely repossess software by shutting it down via back doors -- has already passed in Virginia and Maryland. Maryland enacted the law with revisions last year and Virginia, the state that is home to technology giant America Online, is set to enact it this year.
The District of Columbia, Delaware, and New Jersey are all expected to reintroduce the bill at some time during this year, according to the American Library Association, which opposes the act.
The bill was introduced in the Arizona legislature the first week of this year.
Several other states are also looking into introducing the legislation this year including Florida, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas, according to the Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT, formerly 4CITE), basedd in Washington.
"At this point it's hard to say what other states might introduce it," said Matt McGarty, a spokesman for AFFECT. "Legislatures are just starting to get together. But we have people in just about every state who are involved in this coalition and monitoring activities. We will be ready to strike wherever it rears its head."
The legislation began as an amendment to the Uniform Commercial Code, state laws written by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and was designed to facilitate and resolve disputes regarding interstate commerce.
InfoWorld is a member of AFFECT.
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