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Uniform Law Commission Considers Technology-Related Acts

on Monday, 27 August 2018 in Technology & Intellectual Property Update: Arianna C. Goldstein, Editor

The Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”) held its Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY in July 2018. The ULC is the body that drafted uniform laws such as the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”) and, more recently, the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act (“URVBCA”).

At its Annual Meeting the ULC took several technology-related actions:

Approved the Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act.

The Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act addresses an increasingly common form of abuse that causes immediate and in many cases irreversible harm. This form of abuse is often colloquially but misleadingly referred to as “revenge porn.” The key features of this Act are: (1) Creating a cause of action for the unauthorized disclosure of private, intimate images; (2) Outlining procedures enabling victims to protect their identity in court proceedings, and (3) Providing various remedies for victims, including actual damages, statutory damages, attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and disgorgement of profits.

Approved the Uniform Criminal Records Accuracy Act.

The Criminal Records Accuracy Act is premised on three principles: (1) Society at large has a vital interest in the accuracy of criminal-history-record information; (2) Subjects are entitled to have the information kept about them under this act be accurate criminal-history-record information; and (3) The government has an obligation to ensure that the criminal-history-record information that it collects, stores, maintains, submits, and disseminates is accurate.

Approved the Uniform Supplemental Commercial Law for the Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency Businesses Act.

This is a companion act to the URVCBA (mentioned above). The Supplemental Commercial Law for the Regulation of Virtual-Currency Businesses Act has two purposes: (1) Providing tested and clear rules to facilitate virtual currency being controlled by a third party used as an asset by imposing on licensees and registrants a mandatory “opt-in” to UCC Article 8 by agreement with its customers (“users” under the terms of the companion act) in Section 4 of the companion act; and (2) Decreasing the risk to customers of virtual-currency businesses of insolvency of the business or fraud by it and thus simplifies the determination of what is the proper amount of capital a virtual currency business must have to lessen those risks and to successfully operate the business by setting rules to preserve customers’ ownership of virtual currency in the control of licensees and providers and affording other Article 8 protections to customers of virtual-currency businesses. The first also makes it easier for virtual currency to serve as collateral in secured transactions and affords protection for transferees of virtual currency from a licensee or registrant under the URVCBA.

Reviewed an initial draft of the Tort Law Relating to Drones Act.

The Tort Law for Drones Act is premised upon a conclusion that laws crafted specifically for manned aircraft do not adequately provide clarity or uniformity in an era in which drones already number in the millions and operate closer to the ground and closer to people than manned aircraft have traditionally operated. The Act fills a gap in tort law as it relates to unmanned aircraft. Drones are an amazingly useful technology, but their usefulness also allows them to cause harms that existing law may struggle to address in a uniform manner. The Drafting Committee recognized that existing tort law is adequate in many ways, and the Act makes minimal changes to areas of law that do not require substantive changes. However, generally-accepted current tort law requires changes to address two specific facts about drones: (1) The ability of drones to enter low altitude airspace adjacent to property; and (2) The ability of drones to surreptitiously gather information in a manner that may be offensive to a reasonable person.

Reviewed an initial draft of the Uniform Law on Highly Automated Vehicles Act.

This draft of the Highly Automated Vehicles Act is intended to explicitly accommodate and specifically regulate automated driving. It attempts to reconcile automated driving with a typical state motor vehicle code. For this reason, in some ways the structure of the draft mirrors such a code: It defines key terms and addresses the typical vehicle code categories of driver licensing, vehicle registration, vehicle equipment, and rules of the road. It also briefly addresses insurance, provides a new section on automated driving providers, and incorporates standard ULC provisions and other supporting provisions. The draft also addresses allocation of fault in the context of a vehicle code, but it does not change liability rules of more generally application.

Reviewed an initial draft of the Uniform Electronic Wills Act.

The Electronic Wills Act translates the requirements of traditional wills acts to accommodate the execution, attestation, revocation and recognition of electronic wills. It expressly retains the common law of wills, emphasizing the continuation and application of all existing common law and doctrines that allow for challenges because of undue influence, duress and incapacity, but contains new definitions of the meaning of “electronic presence,” “electronic will,” and “writing.”

Established a Study Committee on Online Privacy Protection.

This committee will study the need for and feasibility of a uniform or model law providing protection of online privacy.

If you would like to receive copies of any of the above or have any questions regarding the work of the ULC, please contact Jim.

James E. O’Connor
Nebraska Commissioner,
Uniform Law Commission

1700 Farnam Street | Suite 1500 | Omaha, NE 68102 | 402.344.0500

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