Ucita, Copyright, and Capture
88 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2004
This article explores the relationship between the proposed Uniform Computer Information Act (UCITA) and copyright law, focusing on flaws in the respective legislative processes. UCITA's transactional framework conflicts with traditional copyright rules and policies, but accords with recent paracopyright laws like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which favor the interests of information providers over those of information users. While some commentators have suggested that traditional copyright law may serve as a consumer protection statute overriding onerous information licensing practices, copyright is not well-suited to such a task since it is subject to the same interest group pressures that produced UCITA. The article applies basic principles of interest group theory to the legislative processes producing copyright law and uniform laws and suggests that the drafting processes for both sets of laws should be reformed to provide better representation for public interest groups, particularly those representing consumers. Moreover, the two processes ought to be coordinated to produce a coherent national information policy that can be consistently implemented through contractual default rules governing particular transactions. Such reform might help future proposals avoid the controversy which has brought UCITA to a halt in state legislatures.
Keywords: Copyright, UCITA, public choice
JEL Classification: K11, K12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation