November 10, 1998
Charles Alan Wright, President
American Law Institute
4025 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3099
Gene N. Lebrun, President
211 E. Ontario Street, Suite 1300
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Dear Mr. Wright and Mr. Lebrun:
The undersigned consumer advocacy organizations respectfully request that the American Law Institute (ALI) and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) table Uniform Commercial Code draft Article 2B.
We appreciate the amount of time and effort that ALI, NCCUSL, the drafting committee and all the participants have invested in attempting to create a uniform law for the license and sale of information. Uniformity of law may be a desirable goal for businesses, but never at the expense of consumer rights. Article 2B has been heavily criticized by every consumer advocate that has analyzed it. The broad validation of shrinkwrap licenses provides information sellers with the ability to dictate unfair license terms. Article 2B also sanctions the practice of concealing these one-sided terms from purchasers until after they have invested time and effort into making a decision on which product to buy and paid for the product. These and other imbalances in the draft make it unacceptably biased against consumer interests.
Despite many critical assessments, this draft law has remained unbalanced in its approach, leaning far in favor of information sellers while sacrificing the protections that should be afforded to consumers. After several years of intensive effort by ALI, NCCUSL, the drafting committee and all of the participants, it is clear that Article 2B is beyond reform. We are convinced that the only sound alternative is to immediately abandon draft Article 2B.
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Project on Technology
National Consumers League
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
cc: Geoffrey Hazard, ALI