The real question we need to raise is
Posted Aug 12, 2006 0:50 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata
In reply to: The real question we need to raise is
Parent article: A couple of lessons on the hazards of proprietary software
I don't see a crime here either. I do see some civil liability, but not in contracts.
There's no contract between the vehicle owner and Robotic Parking. There's a contract between the vehicle owner and the city (technically, a utility operated by the city, but we'll just call it the city). The city owns the garage and hired Robotic Parking to take money, park cars, etc. While it might seem obvious that the parties intended for the car to be delivered back at a certain time, the contract probably didn't actually include that. That kind of detail doesn't get implied; it has to be said. But the city still owes the vehicle owner money for the tort of conversion (the city effectively stole the vehicle). This is the cost to the city of the city's poor job of negotiating its contract with Robotic Parking.
Robotic Parking had a contract with the city to operate the garage, and Robotic Parking used its own software to do it; the city never had any right to use the software. This is a well known contracting hazard known as "single sourcing." You depend on something only one vendor can provide.
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