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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Flawed analogy
by mrhasbean on Tue 8th Mar 2011 00:32 UTC
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The BSA argues that it is impossible to deliver software without bugs. In addition, the BSA states this would mean software makers would no longer be obliged to release patches and updates. How exactly their reasoning works there is beyond me.

The issue here is that the BSA is trying to put a spin on the word 'defective'. Not being defective does not mean a product is flawless; it simply means, according to the new directive as well as the existing legislation it consolidates, that a product must be able to perform its advertised and intended function. To illustrate - cars have 'bugs' too; the fit may not always be perfect, a cable may need replacement after 8000km instead of the advertised 10000km, and so on.

This is a very flawed analogy. If a car is delivered with a "defect" or a "bug", the manufacturer has a duty to consumers to correct that defect. Software bugs are defects, not "wear and tear" items like the cable you suggest. So their claims are 100% pertinent - if software was delivered with any bugs whatsoever it would be the software companies duty to fix that for whatever period the governing authorities saw fit, and it's impossible to deliver complex software with absolutely no bugs. These potential additional long term costs would drive up the base price of software - there would be cheaper licensed versions that would have "export" restrictions on them (ie. they can't be sold into the EU), and a more expensive EU version that you can own.

There would however be no requirement at all for them to deliver point releases of software with incremental "updates". When was the last time a car manufacturer sent out a letter asking everyone to bring in their car for a free update to maybe give them more fuel economy or a more responsive transmission for example? Both things that can be achieved with "software" in most modern cars.

And there would be no reason whatsoever for them to offer "upgrades" to current licenses - because it's not a licence any more. Again, equate this to your car analogy - trade-ins are of no use to them, and lower cost upgrades wouldn't give them a legal "out" for not fixing a bug in a particular version, so there would be no compelling reason to offer upgrades, in the EU, especially for the bigger companies that have a "monopoly" in their particular market space.

Be very careful what you wish for, you might just get it...

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