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[2]: Flawed analogy
by Soulbender on Tue 8th Mar 2011 03:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Flawed analogy"
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

If you'd like to pay for you laptop sums similar to an MRI machine, this is a good thing.


Last time I checked laptops were considered goods and thus not excempt from any liabilities. Good thing stuff like microchip design and manufacturing is nowhere as complex as software...

And there is the issue of open source software.


That's the interesting questions now, isn't it. OSS licenses also waivers any liabilities so what about that? Will there be or is there an exception. Does it not, for whatever reason, apply to OSS?

Edited 2011-03-08 03:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Flawed analogy
by Almafeta on Tue 8th Mar 2011 04:24 in reply to "RE[2]: Flawed analogy"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Last time I checked laptops were considered goods and thus not excempt from any liabilities. Good thing stuff like microchip design and manufacturing is nowhere as complex as software...


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

*goes back to quietly lurking*

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Flawed analogy
by Neolander on Tue 8th Mar 2011 06:34 in reply to "RE[3]: Flawed analogy"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

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

*goes back to quietly lurking*

Then why are microchip issues far less common ?

Besides, I think that this debate is badly introduced to start with. Are we really comparing software as a whole, from embedded 1KB snippets to bloated OSs like Windows Vista or OSX Leopard, to hardware as a whole, from plastic screws to supercomputers ?

Edited 2011-03-08 06:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Flawed analogy
by WereCatf on Tue 8th Mar 2011 10:32 in reply to "RE[3]: Flawed analogy"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

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

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Flawed analogy
by Neolander on Tue 8th Mar 2011 06:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Flawed analogy"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

That's the interesting questions now, isn't it. OSS licenses also waivers any liabilities so what about that? Will there be or is there an exception. Does it not, for whatever reason, apply to OSS?

Guess there will be a way to treat the "release early release often" model like we currently treat prototypes : it is forbidden to make money from them afaik, but you can have people test them under certain conditions. Pharmaceutical companies do this all the time...

What is worrying however is what will happen to GPL-like licensing which is totally based on EULAs... BSD/MIT can simply be replaced with public domain in most cases, except for the disclaimer.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Flawed analogy
by Soulbender on Tue 8th Mar 2011 06:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Flawed analogy"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

The GPL/BSD/MIT probably isn't affected at all since they do not concern themselves with how the consumer use the product, only with redistribution.

Reply Parent Score: 4