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 qbast on Tue 8th Mar 2011 08:36 UTC in reply to "Um, I disagree"
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Software *is* unlike a physical good. For one thing, you can duplicate software for essentially zero cost. Second, you don't have to worry about compatibility with bread.

That's because anyone selling bread incompatible with human digestive system would find himself in jail.

Or shoes.

Actually you do. That's why you don't buy shoes on Internet.

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.

So? Car, plane, whatever else consists of various parts that have to work together. Any of those parts can break or interact badly with others. If part of jet engine fails and the engine catches fire are you going to argue that it is impossible to determine responsibility?

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.

You could apply exactly the same reasoning to ANY industry.
Yet somehow only software vendors are absolved from any responsibility for what they sell.

I understand that regulation could also result in better software. But let's just understand that no regulation is completely benign. There will be costs for devs.

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