(a) FindingsThe Congress finds the following:
Many information technology systems, devices, and programs 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 dates after December 31, 1999.
If not corrected, 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.
It is in the national interest that producers and users of technology products concentrate their attention and resources in the time remaining before January 1, 2000, on assessing, fixing, testing, and developing contingency plans to address any and all outstanding year 2000 computer date-change problems, so as to minimize possible disruptions associated with computer failures.
Because year 2000 computer date-change problems may affect virtually all businesses and other users of technology products to some degree, there is a substantial likelihood that actual or potential year 2000 failures will prompt a significant volume of litigation, much of it insubstantial.
(B) The litigation described in subparagraph (A) would have a range of undesirable effects, including the following:
It would threaten to waste technical and financial resources that are better devoted to curing year 2000 computer date-change problems and ensuring that systems remain or become operational.
It could threaten the network of valued and trusted business and customer relationships that are important to the effective functioning of the national economy.
It would strain the Nation’s legal system, causing particular problems for the small businesses and individuals who already find that system inaccessible because of its complexity and expense.
It is appropriate for the Congress to enact legislation to assure that the year 2000 problems described in this section do not unnecessarily disrupt interstate commerce or create unnecessary caseloads in Federal courts and to provide initiatives to help businesses prepare and be in a position to withstand the potentially devastating economic impact of such problems.
Resorting to the legal system for resolution of year 2000 problems described in this section is not feasible for many businesses and individuals who already find the legal system inaccessible, particularly small businesses and individuals who already find the legal system inaccessible, because of its complexity and expense.
Concern about the potential for liability—in particular, concern about the substantial litigation expense associated with defending against even the most insubstantial lawsuits—is prompting many persons and businesses with technical expertise to avoid projects aimed at curing year 2000 computer date-change problems.
A proliferation of frivolous lawsuits relating to year 2000 computer date-change problems by opportunistic parties may further limit access to courts by straining the resources of the legal system and depriving deserving parties of their legitimate rights to relief.
Congress encourages businesses to approach their disputes relating to year 2000 computer date-change problems responsibly, and to avoid unnecessary, time-consuming, and costly litigation about Y2K failures, particularly those that are not material. Congress supports good faith negotiations between parties when there is such a dispute, and, if necessary, urges the parties to enter into voluntary, nonbinding mediation rather than litigation.
(b) PurposesBased upon the power of the Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States, the purposes of this chapter are—
to establish uniform legal standards that give all businesses and users of technology products reasonable incentives to solve year 2000 computer date-change problems before they develop;
to encourage continued remediation and testing efforts to solve such problems by providers, suppliers, customers, and other contracting partners;
to encourage private and public parties alike to resolve disputes relating to year 2000 computer date-change problems by alternative dispute mechanisms in order to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, to initiate those mechanisms as early as possible, and to encourage the prompt identification and correction of such problems; and