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International liability

International liability

Posted Sep 8, 2007 11:14 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091)
In reply to: International liability by giraffedata
Parent article: Software liability laws: a dangerous solution

Ah, OK. In Spanish law, "tort law" is called extracontractual responsibility, and of course it is applied in the sense you explain: if you open a hole in the middle of the street and somebody falls inside, you are responsible for any damages.

The Spanish civil code, in its article 1902, says:

Whoever causes harm to another by action or omission, with intervening guilt or negligence, is forced to repair the harm done.
Which would seem like an open door to problems for free software developers. In practice responsibility is reduced by courts to a specific range of subjects, and "negligence" seems to be interpreted in a rather narrow sense. Just publishing code would not be enough if you have to download and deploy it first.

As before, IANAL. This kind of disclaimer for example is usually not necessary here in Spain, and not just to avoid charges of negligence; you would have to actually claim you are a lawyer before anyone starts to even consider it. So maybe it is a cultural thing.


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liability for negligently distributing free software

Posted Sep 8, 2007 18:40 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

In practice responsibility is reduced by courts to a specific range of subjects, and "negligence" seems to be interpreted in a rather narrow sense. Just publishing code would not be enough if you have to download and deploy it first.

I don't think there's ever been a case anywhere in the world of someone being held liable for negligently coding and/or distributing software. I base that solely on the fact that I've never seen it reported in LWN.

But if you use your imagination, you can probably think of a case fitting that description where the negligence is so outrageous that the distributor should be held accountable, and courts would probably find the law requires it.

...IANAL. This kind of disclaimer for example is usually not necessary here in Spain,

I don't think it buys you anything legally in the US either (and I don't think that's why people say it). Besides the fact that no one has the right to assume someone is a lawyer just because he sounds like he knows the law, there's the fact that no one is liable just for giving bad legal advice. One would have to be actually "practicing law," which is a much more specific behavior than giving advice in a public forum.


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