Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 7th Mar 2011 23:21 UTC
Legal Well, how about some positive news to end this day? How about annoying the heck out of the Business Software Alliance? There's a new proposal for a directive on consumer rights in the EU, and in it, digital goods - software, online services, and so on - are explicitly defined as goods that are no different than any other good - like bread, watches, or cars. In other words, you would suddenly own the copies of software you buy, effectively declaring the EULA as a worthless piece of paper. Surprise - the BSA is not happy about this.
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RE: Um, I disagree
by Delgarde on Tue 8th Mar 2011 00:32 UTC in reply to "Um, I disagree"
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

Software components are infinitely more complex than your average physical good, and their interactions can cause unintended/unanticipated/unreasonable problems for the original software developer. Example: a plug-in crashes the browser. Who's at fault? The plug-in -- or the browser? It isn't clear how EU regulation would distinguish liability between the two components. On the one hand, the plug-in literally caused the crash. But that crash is manifested in the browser, and you could argue that it needs to defend itself against poor or malicious programming.


Not unique to software, except maybe in degree. The same is true of stuff like car accessories - stick new wheels or a big spoiler on your car, and you're no longer dealing with a configuration the car manufacturer tested. If the car then crashes because the larger tyres rub on some part of the wheel arch, who's liable? Should the car manufacturer have tested larger wheels, because their customer base were likely to fit them?


So, what does that mean for you, as a software developer? Answer: It isn't clear. It could make life a lot worse. You might have to deal with a lot more regulatory BS and barriers to distribution than before. Which might reduce your incentive to distribute software in the EU. Which might result in less choice for consumers, in the long run.


Yeah, that's my thinking too - it introduces a whole heap of new rules and potential liabilities. It's not necessarily bad, but it's a big change, full of potential surprises.

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