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Pub.L. 105-272 To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1999 for intelligence and ...
<DOC> [[Page 2385]] YEAR 2000 INFORMATION AND READINESS DISCLOSURE ACT [[Page 112 STAT. 2386]] Public Law 105-271 105th Congress An Act To encourage the disclosure and exchange of information about computer processing problems, solutions, test practices and test results, and related matters in connection with the transition to the year 2000. <<NOTE: Oct. 19, 1998 - [S. 2392]>> Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act. 15 USC 1 note.>> SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES. (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following: (1)(A) At least thousands but possibly millions of information technology computer systems, software programs, and semiconductors are not capable of recognizing certain dates in 1999 and after December 31, 1999, and will read dates in the year 2000 and thereafter as if those dates represent the year 1900 or thereafter or will fail to process those dates. (B) The problem described in subparagraph (A) and resulting failures could incapacitate systems that are essential to the functioning of markets, commerce, consumer products, utilities, government, and safety and defense systems, in the United States and throughout the world. (C) Reprogramming or replacing affected systems before the problem incapacitates essential systems is a matter of national and global interest. (2) The prompt, candid, and thorough disclosure and exchange of information related to year 2000 readiness of entities, products, and services-- (A) would greatly enhance the ability of public and private entities to improve their year 2000 readiness; and (B) is therefore a matter of national importance and a vital factor in minimizing any potential year 2000 related disruption to the Nation's economic well-being and security. (3) Concern about the potential for legal liability associated with the disclosure and exchange of year 2000 readiness information is impeding the disclosure and exchange of such information. (4) The capability to freely disseminate and exchange information relating to year 2000 readiness, solutions, test practices and test results, with the public and other entities without undue concern about litigation is critical to the ability of public and private entities to address year 2000 needs in a timely manner. [[Page 112 STAT. 2387]] (5) The national interest will be served by uniform legal standards in connection with the disclosure and exchange of year 2000 readiness information that will promote disclosures and exchanges of such information in a timely fashion. (b) Purposes.--Based upon the powers contained in article I, section 8, clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States, the purposes of this Act are-- (1) to promote the free disclosure and exchange of information related to year 2000 readiness; (2) to assist consumers, small businesses, and local governments in effectively and rapidly responding to year 2000 problems; and (3) to lessen burdens on interstate commerce by establishing certain uniform legal principles in connection with the disclosure and exchange of information related to year 2000 readiness. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Antitrust laws.--The term ``antitrust laws''-- (A) has the meaning given to it in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12(a)), except that such term includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the extent such section 5 applies to unfair methods of competition; and (B) includes any State law similar to the laws referred to in subparagraph (A). (2) Consumer.--The term ``consumer'' means an individual who acquires a consumer product for purposes other than resale. (3) Consumer product.--The term ``consumer product'' means any personal property or service which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes. (4) Covered action.--The term ``covered action'' means a civil action of any kind, whether arising under Federal or State law, except for an action brought by a Federal, State, or other public entity, agency, or authority acting in a regulatory, supervisory, or enforcement capacity. (5) Maker.--The term ``maker'' means each person or entity, including the United States or a State or political subdivision thereof, that-- (A) issues or publishes any year 2000 statement; (B) develops or prepares any year 2000 statement; or (C) assists in, contributes to, or reviews, reports or comments on during, or approves, or otherwise takes part in the preparing, developing, issuing, approving, or publishing of any year 2000 statement. (6) Republication.--The term ``republication'' means any repetition, in whole or in part, of a year 2000 statement originally made by another. (7) Year 2000 internet website.--The term ``year 2000 Internet website'' means an Internet website or other similar electronically accessible service, clearly designated on the website or service by the person or entity creating or controlling the content of the website or service as an area where year [[Page 112 STAT. 2388]] 2000 statements concerning that person or entity are posted or otherwise made accessible to the general public. (8) Year 2000 processing.--The term ``year 2000 processing'' means the processing (including calculating, comparing, sequencing, displaying, or storing), transmitting, or receiving of date data from, into, and between the 20th and 21st centuries, and during the years 1999 and 2000, and leap year calculations. (9) Year 2000 readiness disclosure.--The term ``year 2000 readiness disclosure'' means any written year 2000 statement-- (A) clearly identified on its face as a year 2000 readiness disclosure; (B) inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium and retrievable in perceivable form; and (C) issued or published by or with the approval of a person or entity with respect to year 2000 processing of that person or entity or of products or services offered by that person or entity. (10) Year 2000 remediation product or service.--The term ``year 2000 remediation product or service'' means a software program or service licensed, sold, or rendered by a person or entity and specifically designed to detect or correct year 2000 processing problems with respect to systems, products, or services manufactured or rendered by another person or entity. (11) Year 2000 statement.-- (A) In general.--The term ``year 2000 statement'' means any communication or other conveyance of information by a party to another or to the public, in any form or medium-- (i) concerning an assessment, projection, or estimate concerning year 2000 processing capabilities of an entity, product, service, or set of products and services; (ii) concerning plans, objectives, or timetables for implementing or verifying the year 2000 processing capabilities of an entity, product, service, or set of products and services; (iii) concerning test plans, test dates, test results, or operational problems or solutions related to year 2000 processing by-- (I) products; or (II) services that incorporate or utilize products; or (iv) reviewing, commenting on, or otherwise directly or indirectly relating to year 2000 processing capabilities. (B) Not included.--For the purposes of any action brought under the securities laws, as that term is defined in section 3(a)(47) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a)(47)), the term ``year 2000 statement'' does not include statements contained in any documents or materials filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or with Federal banking regulators, pursuant to section 12(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. [[Page 112 STAT. 2389]] 781(i)), or disclosures or writing that when made accompanied the solicitation of an offer or sale of securities. SEC. 4. PROTECTION FOR YEAR 2000 STATEMENTS. (a) Evidence Exclusion.--No year 2000 readiness disclosure, in whole or in part, shall be admissible against the maker of that disclosure to prove the accuracy or truth of any year 2000 statement set forth in that disclosure, in any covered action brought by another party except that-- (1) a year 2000 readiness disclosure may be admissible to serve as the basis for a claim for anticipatory breach, or repudiation of a contract, or a similar claim against the maker, to the extent provided by applicable law; and (2) the court in any covered action shall have discretion to limit application of this subsection in any case in which the court determines that the maker's use of the year 2000 readiness disclosure amounts to bad faith or fraud, or is otherwise beyond what is reasonable to achieve the purposes of this Act. (b) False, Misleading and Inaccurate Year 2000 Statements.--Except as provided in subsection (c), in any covered action, to the extent that such action is based on an allegedly false, inaccurate, or misleading year 2000 statement, the maker of that year 2000 statement shall not be liable under Federal or State law with respect to that year 2000 statement unless the claimant establishes, in addition to all other requisite elements of the applicable action, by clear and convincing evidence, that-- (1) the year 2000 statement was material; and (2)(A) to the extent the year 2000 statement was not a republication, that the maker made the year 2000 statement-- (i) with actual knowledge that the year 2000 statement was false, inaccurate, or misleading; (ii) with intent to deceive or mislead; or (iii) with a reckless disregard as to the accuracy of the year 2000 statement; or (B) to the extent the year 2000 statement was a republication, that the maker of the republication made the year 2000 statement-- (i) with actual knowledge that the year 2000 statement was false, inaccurate, or misleading; (ii) with intent to deceive or mislead; or (iii) without notice in that year 2000 statement that-- (I) the maker has not verified the contents of the republication; or (II) the maker is not the source of the republication and the republication is based on information supplied by another person or entity identified in that year 2000 statement or republication. (c) Defamation or Similar Claims.--In a covered action arising under any Federal or State law of defamation, trade disparagement, or a similar claim, to the extent such action is based on an allegedly false, inaccurate, or misleading year 2000 statement, the maker of that year 2000 statement shall not be liable with respect to that year 2000 statement, unless the claimant establishes by clear and convincing evidence, in addition to all other requisite elements of the applicable action, that the year 2000 statement [[Page 112 STAT. 2390]] was made with knowledge that the year 2000 statement was false or made with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity. (d) Year 2000 Internet Website.-- (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), in any covered action other than a covered action involving personal injury or serious physical damage to property, in which the adequacy of notice about year 2000 processing is at issue, the posting, in a commercially reasonable manner and for a commercially reasonable duration, of a notice by the entity charged with giving such notice on the year 2000 Internet website of that entity shall be deemed an adequate mechanism for providing that notice. (2) Exception.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply if the court finds that the use of the mechanism of notice-- (A) is contrary to express prior representations regarding the mechanism of notice made by the party giving notice; (B) is materially inconsistent with the regular course of dealing between the parties; or (C) occurs where there have been no prior representations regarding the mechanism of notice, no regular course of dealing exists between the parties, and actual notice is clearly the most commercially reasonable means of providing notice. (3) Construction.--Nothing in this subsection shall-- (A) alter or amend any Federal or State statute or regulation requiring that notice about year 2000 processing be provided using a different mechanism; (B) create a duty to provide notice about year 2000 processing; (C) preclude or suggest the use of any other medium for notice about year 2000 processing or require the use of an Internet website; or (D) mandate the content or timing of any notices about year 2000 processing. (e) Limitation on Effect of Year 2000 Statements.-- (1) In general.--In any covered action, a year 2000 statement shall not be interpreted or construed as an amendment to or alteration of a contract or warranty, whether entered into by or approved for a public or private entity. (2) Not applicable.-- (A) In general.--This subsection shall not apply-- (i) to the extent the party whose year 2000 statement is alleged to have amended or altered a contract or warranty has otherwise agreed in writing to so alter or amend the contract or
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