|From: "Dr. David Gilbert"
Date: Wed, Jun 28, 2000 4:29 AM
Subject: High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, P994413
1) I believe that regulation of warranties and licenses of software is a worthy cause.
2) I believe it is important to have the facility to supply software with no warranties as long as this is clearly stated in the license agreement. In this instance I am thinking of software which is supplied free of charge (or for a nominal copying charge) and is developed for the 'good of the community'. If the person or organisation developing this software is doing it for nothing then it is unreasonable for them to be liable for a warranty. It is however important that in this case the author declares this to the user. In particular I am thinking of software licensed under one of the 'open source' licenses (See http://www.opensource.org).
3) It is important that a software developer can limit the liability from warrenties. With a limited liability the software developer could take out insurance to cover unexpected problems; with a potentially unlimited liability it may be impossible for a small software developer to take the risk of developing a system and thus stifle innovation.
4) It is important that software license agreements are used only to protect copyright and no more. At the moment a license agreement could require a user to do pretty much anything to use the software and if it is a piece of software they require for a job they would be forced to do whatever was required. This is a limitation on free liberty and the agreements should be limited to ensure that the customer uses the software in a reasonable way with respect to copyright. (An agreement could effectivly force a user to buy other software/devices from the same company, limit what other software/systems they use the software with etc - I find all these cases unreasonable).
David Alan Gilbert, Ph.D. (Computer Science)