Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 59.1. Trade and Commerce
Chapter 43. Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act
12/1/2022

Part 2. Formation and Terms.

§ 59.1-502.1. Formal requirements.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a contract requiring payment of a contract fee of $5,000 or more is not enforceable by way of action or defense unless:

(1) the party against which enforcement is sought authenticated a record sufficient to indicate that a contract has been formed and which reasonably identifies the copy or subject matter to which the contract refers; or

(2) the agreement is a license for an agreed duration of one year or less or which may be terminated at will by the party against which the contract is asserted.

(b) A record is sufficient under subsection (a) even if it omits or incorrectly states a term, but the contract is not enforceable under that subsection beyond the number of copies or subject matter shown in the record.

(c) A contract that does not satisfy the requirements of subsection (a) is nevertheless enforceable under that subsection if:

(1) a performance was tendered or the information was made available by one party and the tender was accepted or the information accessed by the other; or

(2) the party against which enforcement is sought admits in court, by pleading or by testimony or otherwise under oath, facts sufficient to indicate a contract has been made, but the agreement is not enforceable under this paragraph beyond the number of copies or the subject matter admitted.

(d) Between merchants, if, within a reasonable time, a record in confirmation of the contract and sufficient against the sender is received and the party receiving it has reason to know its contents, the record satisfies subsection (a) against the party receiving it unless notice of objection to its contents is given in a record within a reasonable time after the confirming record is received.

(e) An agreement that the requirements of this section need not be satisfied as to future transactions is effective if evidenced in a record authenticated by the person against which enforcement is sought.

(f) A transaction within the scope of this chapter is not subject to a statute of frauds contained in another law of this Commonwealth.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.2. Formation in general.

(a) A contract may be formed in any manner sufficient to show agreement, including offer and acceptance or conduct of both parties or operations of electronic agents which recognize the existence of a contract.

(b) If the parties so intend, an agreement sufficient to constitute a contract may be found even if the time of its making is undetermined, one or more terms are left open or to be agreed upon, the records of the parties do not otherwise establish a contract, or one party reserves the right to modify terms.

(c) Even if one or more terms are left open or to be agreed upon, a contract does not fail for indefiniteness if the parties intended to make a contract and there is a reasonably certain basis for giving an appropriate remedy.

(d) In the absence of conduct or performance by both parties to the contrary, a contract is not formed if there is a material disagreement about a material term, including a term concerning scope.

(e) If a term is to be adopted by later agreement and the parties intend not to be bound unless the term is so adopted, a contract is not formed if the parties do not agree to the term. In that case, each party shall deliver to the other party, or with the consent of the other party destroy, all copies of information, access materials, and other materials received or made, and each party is entitled to a return with respect to any contract fee paid for which performance has not been received, has not been accepted, or has been redelivered without any benefit being retained. The parties remain bound by any contractual use term only with respect to information or copies received or made from copies received pursuant to the agreement, but the contractual use term does not apply to information or copies properly received or obtained from another source.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.3. Offer and acceptance in general.

Unless otherwise unambiguously indicated by the language or the circumstances:

(1) An offer to make a contract invites acceptance in any manner and by any medium reasonable under the circumstances.

(2) An order or other offer to acquire a copy for prompt or current delivery invites acceptance by either a prompt promise to ship or a prompt or current shipment of a conforming or nonconforming copy. However, a shipment of a nonconforming copy is not an acceptance if the licensor seasonably notifies the licensee that the shipment is offered only as an accommodation to the licensee.

(3) If the beginning of a requested performance is a reasonable mode of acceptance, an offeror that is not notified of acceptance or performance within a reasonable time may treat the offer as having lapsed before acceptance.

(4) If an offer in an electronic message evokes an electronic message accepting the offer, a contract is formed:

(A) when an electronic acceptance is received; or

(B) if the response consists of beginning performance, full performance, or giving access to information, when the performance is received or the access is enabled and necessary access materials are received.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.4. Acceptance with varying terms.

(a) In this section, an acceptance materially alters an offer if it contains a term that materially conflicts with or varies a term of the offer or that adds a material term not contained in the offer.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in § 59.1-502.5, a definite and seasonable expression of acceptance operates as an acceptance, even if the acceptance contains terms that vary from the terms of the offer, unless the acceptance materially alters the offer.

(c) If an acceptance materially alters the offer, the following rules apply:

(1) A contract is not formed unless (A) a party agrees, such as by manifesting assent, to the other party's offer or acceptance or (B) all the other circumstances, including the conduct of the parties, establish a contract.

(2) If a contract is formed by the conduct of both parties, the terms of the contract are determined under § 59.1-502.10.

(d) If an acceptance varies from but does not materially alter the offer, a contract is formed based on the terms of the offer. In addition, the following rules apply:

(1) Terms in the acceptance which conflict with terms in the offer are not part of the contract.

(2) An additional nonmaterial term in the acceptance is a proposal for an additional term. Between merchants, the proposed additional term becomes part of the contract unless the offeror gives notice of objection before, or within a reasonable time after, it receives the proposed terms.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.5. Conditional offer or acceptance.

(a) In this section, an offer or acceptance is conditional if it is conditioned on agreement by the other party to all the terms of the offer or acceptance.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), a conditional offer or acceptance precludes formation of a contract unless the other party agrees to its terms, such as by manifesting assent.

(c) If an offer and acceptance are in standard forms and at least one form is conditional, the following rules apply:

(1) Conditional language in a standard term precludes formation of a contract only if the actions of the party proposing the form are consistent with the conditional language, such as by refusing to perform, refusing to permit performance, or refusing to accept the benefits of the agreement, until its proposed terms are accepted.

(2) A party that agrees, such as by manifesting assent, to a conditional offer that is effective under paragraph (1) adopts the terms of the offer under § 59.1-502.8 or § 59.1-502.9, except a term that conflicts with an expressly agreed term regarding price or quantity.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.6. Offer and acceptance; electronic agents.

(a) A contract may be formed by the interaction of electronic agents. If the interaction results in the electronic agents' engaging in operations that under the circumstances indicate acceptance of an offer, a contract is formed, but a court may grant appropriate relief if the operations resulted from fraud, electronic mistake, or the like.

(b) A contract may be formed by the interaction of an electronic agent and an individual acting on the individual's own behalf or for another person. A contract is formed if the individual takes an action or makes a statement that the individual can refuse to take or say and that the individual has reason to know will:

(1) cause the electronic agent to perform, provide benefits, or allow the use or access that is the subject of the contract, or send instructions to do so; or

(2) indicate acceptance, regardless of other expressions or actions by the individual to which the individual has reason to know the electronic agent cannot react.

(c) The terms of a contract formed under subsection (b) are determined under § 59.1-502.8 or § 59.1-502.9 but do not include a term provided by the individual if the individual had reason to know that the electronic agent could not react to the term.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.7. Formation; releases of informational rights.

(a) A release is effective without consideration if it is:

(1) in a record to which the releasing party agrees, such as by manifesting assent, and which identifies the informational rights released; or

(2) enforceable under estoppel, implied license, or other law.

(b) A release continues for the duration of the informational rights released if the release does not specify its duration and does not require affirmative performance after the grant of the release by:

(1) the party granting the release; or

(2) the party receiving the release, except for relatively insignificant acts.

2000, cc. 101, 996; 2004, c. 794.

§ 59.1-502.8. Adopting terms of records.

Except as otherwise provided in § 59.1-502.9, the following rules apply:

(1) A party adopts the terms of a record, including a standard form, as the terms of the contract if the party agrees to the record, such as by manifesting assent.

(2) The terms of a record may be adopted pursuant to paragraph (1) after beginning performance or use if the parties had reason to know that their agreement would be represented in whole or part by a later record to be agreed on and there would not be an opportunity to review the record or a copy of it before performance or use begins. If the parties fail to agree to the later terms and did not intend to form a contract unless they so agreed, § 59.1-502.2 (e) applies.

(3) If a party adopts the terms of a record, the terms become part of the contract without regard to the party's knowledge or understanding of individual terms in the record, except for a term that is unenforceable because it fails to satisfy another requirement of this chapter.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.9. Mass-market license.

(a) A party adopts the terms of a mass-market license for purposes of § 59.1-502.8 only if the party agrees to the license, such as by manifesting assent, before or during the party's initial performance or use of or access to the information. A term is not part of the license if:

(1) the term is unconscionable or is unenforceable under § 59.1-501.5 (a) or (b);

(2) subject to § 59.1-503.1, the term conflicts with a term to which the parties to the license have expressly agreed;

(3) under § 59.1-501.13:1, the licensee does not have an opportunity to review the term before agreeing to it; or

(4) the term is not available for viewing before and after assent:

(A) in a printed license; or

(B) in electronic form that (i) can be printed or stored for archival and review purposes by the licensee or (ii) is made available by a licensor to a licensee, at no cost to the licensee, in a printed form on the request of a licensee who is unable to print or store the license for archival and review purposes.

(b) If a mass-market license or a copy of the license is not available in a manner permitting an opportunity to review by the licensee before the licensee becomes obligated to pay and the licensee does not agree, such as by manifesting assent, to the license after having an opportunity to review, the licensee is entitled to a return under § 59.1-501.12 or § 59.1-501.13:1 and, in addition, to:

(1) reimbursement of any reasonable expenses incurred in complying with the licensor's instructions for returning or destroying the computer information or, in the absence of instructions, expenses incurred for return postage or similar reasonable expense in returning the computer information; and

(2) compensation for any reasonable and foreseeable costs of restoring the licensee's information processing system to reverse changes in the system caused by the installation, if:

(A) the installation occurs because information must be installed to enable review of the license; and

(B) the installation alters the system or information in it but does not restore the system or information after removal of the installed information because the licensee rejected the license.

(c) In a mass-market transaction, if the licensor does not have an opportunity to review a record containing proposed terms from the licensee before the licensor delivers or becomes obligated to deliver the information, and if the licensor does not agree, such as by manifesting assent, to those terms after having that opportunity, the licensor is entitled to a return.

2000, cc. 101, 996; 2001, c. 763; 2004, c. 794.

§ 59.1-502.10. Terms of contract formed by conduct.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) and subject to § 59.1-503.1, if a contract is formed by conduct of the parties, the terms of the contract are determined by consideration of the terms and conditions to which the parties expressly agreed, course of performance, course of dealing, usage of trade, the nature of the parties' conduct, the records exchanged, the information or informational rights involved, and all other relevant circumstances. If a court cannot determine the terms of the contract from the foregoing factors, the supplementary principles of this chapter apply.

(b) This section does not apply if the parties authenticate a record of the contract or a party agrees, such as by manifesting assent, to the record containing the terms of the other party.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.11. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 794.

§ 59.1-502.12. Efficacy and commercial reasonableness of attribution procedure.

The efficacy, including the commercial reasonableness, of an attribution procedure is determined by the court. In making this determination, the following rules apply:

(1) An attribution procedure established by law is effective for transactions within the coverage of the statute, administrative rule, or regulation.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (1), commercial reasonableness and effectiveness is determined in light of the purposes of the procedure and the commercial circumstances at the time the parties agreed to or adopted the procedure.

(3) An attribution procedure may use any security device or method that is commercially reasonable under the circumstances.

2000, cc. 101, 996; 2001, cc. 762, 763.

§ 59.1-502.13. Determining attribution.

(a) An electronic authentication, display, message, record, or performance is attributed to a person if it was the act of the person or its electronic agent, or if the person is bound by it under agency or other law. The party relying on attribution of an electronic authentication, display, message, record, or performance to another person has the burden of establishing attribution.

(b) The act of a person may be shown in any manner, including a showing of the efficacy of an attribution procedure that was agreed to or adopted by the parties or established by law.

(c) The effect of an electronic act attributed to a person under subsection (a) is determined from the context at the time of its creation, execution, or adoption, including the parties' agreement, if any, or otherwise as provided by law.

(d) If an attribution procedure exists to detect errors or changes in an electronic authentication, display, message, record, or performance, and was agreed to or adopted by the parties or established by law, and one party conformed to the procedure but the other party did not, and the nonconforming party would have detected the change or error had that party also conformed, the effect of noncompliance is determined by the agreement but, in the absence of agreement, the conforming party may avoid the effect of the error or change.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.14. Electronic error; consumer defenses.

(a) In this section, "electronic error" means an error in an electronic message created by a consumer using an information processing system if a reasonable method to detect and correct or avoid the error was not provided.

(b) In an automated transaction, a consumer is not bound by an electronic message that the consumer did not intend and which was caused by an electronic error, if the consumer:

(1) promptly on learning of the error:

(A) notifies the other party of the error; and

(B) causes delivery to the other party or, pursuant to reasonable instructions received from the other party, delivers to another person or destroys all copies of the information; and

(2) has not used, or received any benefit or value from, the information or caused the information or benefit to be made available to a third party.

(c) If subsection (b) does not apply, the effect of an electronic error is determined by other law.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.15. Electronic message; when effective; effect of acknowledgment.

(a) Receipt of an electronic message is effective when properly addressed and received.

(b) Receipt of an electronic acknowledgment of an electronic message establishes that the message was received but by itself does not establish that the content sent corresponds to the content received.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.16. Idea or information submission.

(a) The following rules apply to a submission of an idea or information for the creation, development, or enhancement of computer information which is not made pursuant to an existing agreement requiring the submission:

(1) A contract is not formed and is not implied from the mere receipt of an unsolicited submission.

(2) Engaging in a business, trade, or industry that by custom or practice regularly acquires ideas is not in itself an express or implied solicitation of the information.

(3) If the recipient seasonably notifies the person making the submission that the recipient maintains a procedure to receive and review submissions, a contract is formed only if:

(A) the submission is made and accepted pursuant to that procedure; or

(B) the recipient expressly agrees to terms concerning the submission.

(b) An agreement to disclose an idea creates a contract enforceable against the receiving party only if the idea as disclosed is confidential, concrete, and novel to the business, trade, or industry or the party receiving the disclosure otherwise expressly agreed.

2000, cc. 101, 996.

§ 59.1-502.17. Reserved.

Reserved.