Standing up for free speech

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 3, 2003

NAI lands itself a hefty fine...

Network Associates Inc. (NAI) has landed itself a hefty fine to start the new year after a New York court ruled against the company last month in a legal battle that has been ongoing since early last year.

New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer sued NAI in spring 2002 over an 'unenforceable clause' on its software products and website, which curtails the user's right to publish product reviews. The clause reads 'The customer will not publish reviews of this product without prior consent from Network Associates Inc.'. The NY attorney general asserts that this is a violation of customers' rights to free speech.

Meanwhile, NAI claims that the sole purpose of the clause is to prevent the publication of reviews of outdated versions of the software - and there have been plans since February 2002 to update the wording to reflect this more accurately. However, a year later, the company is still in the process of changing the clause; NAI's legal representative Ken Roberts said, 'We're trying to get it done as quickly as possible.'

Justice Shafer of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled that the clause was deceptive, and ordered NAI to pay 50 cents for every copy of its products sold bearing the licence - which, VB imagines, mounts up to a fair number and may somewhat increase the speed with which the 16 words are updated.

Posted on 03 February 2003 by Virus Bulletin

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