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"
Member since:

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.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Um, I disagree
by computrius on Tue 8th Mar 2011 13:26 in reply to "RE: Um, I disagree"
computrius Member since:

People keep posing these questions as if they are some mystical unanswerable wisdom questions.

"Who's at fault? The plug-in -- or the browser?"

Whichever one is causing the problem. Thats what developers and debugging is for.

This problem exists already anyway. Your developing an app with .net and something throws an exception. Well good luck convincing microsoft it's them and not your software. Though 99.999% of the time is isnt the .net framework. Even if it is the .net framework, you do your best to make your product look good and work. You find a workaround.

"If the car then crashes because the larger tyres rub on some part of the wheel arch, who's liable?"

Quite obviously the owner of the car. The owner knows the size of the wheel arch and they put the big tires on anyway..

Edited 2011-03-08 13:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Um, I disagree
by bn-7bc on Fri 11th Mar 2011 08:09 in reply to "RE: Um, I disagree"
bn-7bc Member since:

Well the manufacturer cold specify minimum and maximum tested tire with and diameter in the manual, if you mount bigger/smaller tires than that you are sol.
Example of response from manufacturer when an accident is fount to be caused by tires that was outside the spec i manual. "We acknowledge that this accident was cased by the ire getting caught on the wheel arch, Subsequent investigation by the police and our representatives show that the ties fitted were outside the specification clearly stated in the manual, we are therefor not liable for any gingery or other damage caused by this accident"

PS: I'm not a loyer so this might nt hold in a trial

Reply Parent Score: 1