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[4]: Flawed analogy
by WereCatf on Tue 8th Mar 2011 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Flawed analogy"
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The only thing that's notably different about microchip design from program design is that there's no need to worry about the UI, as such. Mathematically, it's all just algorithms, so it's as complex (perhaps a bit moreso) as programing

Producing microchips is inherently more complex than software. Why? Because it's a physical product: you not only have to design it with the used materials' restrictions in mind but you also still need to fit all the designed features in with as few bugs and defects as possible. And THEN comes the actual physical manufacturing which requires a whole effing factory to do and can STILL introduce defects not related to design itself!

Producing software on the other hand requires you to write code and then compile it. No need to worry about material restrictions and effects, no need to operate heavy-duty machinery and so on and so forth.

My point is: producing software is often a lot easier than producing physical products because physical products require you not only to acquire the materials, but to also take their properties into account, any laws regarding allowable materials, actually producing all the needed parts often requires multiple factories, and then there's the whole storage and shipment thing to it too. With virtual products you simply don't have any of that.

Defects can and WILL happen, both with physical and virtual products. Like for example a friend of mine bought a bag of candy and started eating them. Then a moment later she yelled out in pain: there was a small, sharp piece of wood among the candies and it got stuck right between her teeth. The manufacturer is liable in such a situation and needs to either replace the defect products or provide amends.

With a software manufacturer on the other hand it would go like this at the moment: you buy a budget management application, use it happily for a while, and then it goes amok and destroys completely unrelated data. You inform the manufacturer about it and the manufacturer goes "Sorry, EULA says we are not liable for ANYTHING! So long, sucker!"

Yes, labeling virtual products as goods will cause some more worries for software manufacturers/developers, but that is exactly how it should be. They have been enjoying MUCH less restrictions than any other industry branch and still can claim they're not even liable for anything.

Edited 2011-03-08 10:33 UTC

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