from the opening-the-floodgates? dept
That said, software liability has been a hot topic in Europe lately, and now Slashdot points us to the news that the UK High Court has ruled that a software company can be liable for buggy software. More specifically, the court found that a clause in the license agreement, which said it would not be liable for defects was found to be an unfair contract term.
Of course, it also sounds like there were some special conditions here:
The judge said that the exclusion of liability was unfounded because of the particular way in which the software sale had been conducted. The fact that a full set of operating documents for the software had not been provided and the fact that Kingsway made its purchasing decisions largely based on Red Sky's claims for the software eroded Red Sky's ability to limit its liability, the Court said.So, as the article notes, the issue here may be more about liability arising from the sales process, rather than just general liability, so it hopefully won't have the same sorts of chilling effects that general liability for bugs might have.
"Red Sky's' standard terms were predicated on the fact that a prospective customer would investigate Entirety [the software] and make up its own mind whether or not to purchase based on demonstrations and the Operating Documents which Red Sky had previously supplied," said the ruling. "It did not apply to circumstances in which the customer relied on Red Sky's' advice in deciding to purchase Entirety."
"The exclusions in clause 10.2 [of the terms and conditions] only applied where the Operating Documents as defined in Clause 1.1.6 were supplied to the customer before the contract was signed," it said. "In this case such documents were not supplied by Red Sky to Kingsway. Therefore, Clause 10.2 and the exclusions derived there from did not apply."