March 7, 2000Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
RE: Senate Bill 142: Maryland Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act
I am writing you because you are listed as one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 142; and I wish to state my objections to this bill.
I have been a consumer of software programs for personal computers since the 1981. The licenses have become more and more restrictive over the course of time. Today they are so onerous that the six to seven pages of shrink-wrap license can be summed up in a couple of sentences. "You, the consumer, have waived all your rights. We, the producer, keep all ours plus we added a couple extra. If you don’t like it, too bad! We already have your money."
The MUCITA does nothing to change this situation except to tilt the field even more into the software vendors favor. There is no justifiable reason why software sold in retail stores should be treated as anything other than a product. There is no reason to excempt the software vendors from being liable for making false and misleading statements. There is no justifiable reason why I, as a user of software, must waive my first amendment rights in order to use a retail software package. There is no justifiable reason to require consumers to reverse all contract law and require them to pay for the right to read a contract.
The software vendors are experiencing record growth and earnings. However, that is not enough for them. They want the best of both worlds, mass market retailing and contract law, without any of the disadvantages of either. They want to be able to reach the mass market by being sold in retail stores without any of those messy bothersome laws, like truth in advertising, product liability, warranty, etc. They want to be able to bind their customers without the messy process of actually negotiating a contract.
I have included a copy of my letter to my delegate, John P. Donoghue, which details some of my specific objections to MUCITA.
I urge you to withdraw your support from MUCITA.