|From: Weston Pawlowski
Date: Tue, Jun 27, 2000 11:13 PM
Subject: High-Tech Warranty Project -- Comment, P994413
Most software already includes an appropriate license. Legally requiring all software authors to issue a warrantee with any and all software that they distribute is simply absurd. It is definitely not is the best interest of the consumer or the software vendor. There are many software packages which would no longer be distributed if the author were required to issue a warrantee. It is not of low quality; in many cases it is of the same or higher quality as similar software packages which include a warrantee. The reason that it cannot be required to include a warrantee is because it is software which is distributed without cost. There is an abundance of free software on the Internet and in use by many machines that are important parts of the Internet. However, free software is rarely by the general population because it is not in advertisements or in stores, only commercial software is. It is very important that free software is not forgotten when making laws that affect it, because it definitely is vital for many users.
This free software is distributed without warrantee because it is completely unreasonable and unfair to legally require a software author guarantee the quality of his donation to the community. Free software authors provide software without cost to the consumer and very rarely get anything back, other than the satisfaction of helping other people. Free software packages often contain warnings to the user stating that there are no warrantees of any kind. Users of free software accept that and take responsibility for it's use.
Not only would all free software be eliminated, but commercial software would also be heavily impacted. Most software companies occasionally release test releases of their software, which are usually labeled as "Beta" or "Alpha" releases. Users willingly use these test releases and inform the company of any problems that they encounter. This public testing is vital to companies that intend to provide quality software. Obviously, these test releases aren't perfect, therefore it's only reasonable that they be provided without warrantee.
So, in conclusion, there is no problem with current software warrantee laws. The notion of requiring all software to include a warrantee is overkill, and would completely kill free software as well as severely wound makers of quality software. I would honestly expect to see most software companies and authors either call it quits or move to another country. Software warrantees are good the way that they already are; please don't try to fix something that isn't broken, because everyone will suffer the consequences.
Thank you for your time.