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Task force to review UCITA

>From the ALA Washington Office...


[1] American Bar Association establishes a task force to review

On August 2, the American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors
approved the formation of an ABA Task Force to review the Uniform Computer
Information Transactions Act (UCITA). A high level task force will meet
during the fall to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of UCITA and to
ascertain the willingness of the proponents to negotiate changes in good
faith. NCCUSL has agreed to stand down from pushing UCITA in the state
legislatures until the task force completes its work. This agreement does
not include the other proponents of UCITA like Microsoft or AOL, etc. who
could still pursue passage in state legislatures. Currently, UCITA is a
bill in Washington and the District of Columbia.

The formation of this task force prevented a vote on a resolution
recommending that the ABA formally oppose UCITA and recommend that it be
withdrawn for redrafting.  Librarians and other opponents of UCITA sent
letters to ABA delegates from their respective states, encouraging them to
vote for this resolution.

At this point, it is unclear whether this task force review will lead to a
long substantive redrafting of UCITA or whether it will result in the kind
of deadlock that has previously characterized any attempt to modify UCITA.  
The ABA mid-winter meeting in February 2002 would be the earliest time for
UCITA to be considered again by the full membership of ABA. ABA review of
uniform commercial laws such as UCITA are customary and considered
essential for advancement.

The ABA action signifies the influence of the opposition on the progress
of UCITA. The pressure to kill or amend UCITA drastically is building.
However, it is too early to assume that UCITA is dead. Caution continues
to be the byword regarding UCITA.