Software development and liability - legal and ethical
For Software Engineering SENG 4921
The following presentation was for a guest lecture for Software Engineering
course SENG 4921, at UNSW in May 2005.
See slides http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/2005/ethics/legal.ppt [Powerpoint
Hypotheticals were posed.
Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
T: (02) 9385 3589
F: (02) 9385 1778
E: d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au
Warnings ASIC gives consumers over financial software
which claims to offer financial rewards to users by formulation of a profitable
strategy of share trading. Needless to say, these are usually empty promises!
Extracted here in pdf
The anti-trust case between Microsoft and the US
Department of Justice:
See the overview published by the Department
of Justice here in pdf
An example of the general principle on the
non-software world is the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires case. (recently
Mitsuibishi had a similar problem in Japan)
Ford Australia recently had a recall with software
problems controlling the cruise control component of their Ford Explorers.
A few years ago, the crimenet.com.au website came online
offering to provide criminal records of any person in Australia for a fee.
The site had a search engine accessable after payment, and it promised to
provide criminal convictions of serious offences.
There was a backlash to it; see the following
article from the ABC
The hypertext patent was one that lead to some debat into
patent law. British Telecom asserted that it owned the patent to the hypertext,
and needless to say wants to make some cash out of it. See below,
SMH article on the hypertext patent saga PDF
(Accessible from UNSW)
'Into contract's undiscovered country: in defense of shrinkwrap licences',
39 San Diego L. Rev. 1363
Alces, Peter, 'W(h)ither Warranty: the B(l)oom in products liability theory
in cases of deficient software design', 87 Cal. L. Rev. 269
Sharretts, Toni, 'Can a software developer escape liability for a known
design defect? Yes, when hiding behind legal theory: Hou-Tex,
Landmark Graphics, 26 S.W.3d 103 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2000,
No Pet.)', 42 S. Tex. L. Rev.
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