Legal soundness comes to open source distribution

Mahesh T Pai paivakil at
Sun Aug 4 09:34:31 UTC 2002

Bruce Perens wrote:

> .
This is the kind of case (the facts disclosed by the case - not the 
decision in the legal sense) which arises coz. you claim to provide the 
user with one thing, and take away something else without telling him. 
 No amount of disclaimers will save you from liability in such a situation.

When you tell the user that he is getting a word processor, while in 
fact the program sends you copies of files created by the program, you 
are going to be faced with such situations.  There is no use trying to 
shield yourselves with some warranty disclaimer, and that the user 
accepted the disclaimer is no excuse.

This is quite different from a situation when you are providing 
something, let us say, which is capable of handling only ascii files, 
and call it a "word processor" while the user is looking for a Unicode 
aware program, a click through license *and* access to source code 
*might* help; especially if he (the user) does not tell you what he is 
looking for.

Mahesh T Pai.

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