a proposed change to the OSD

Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Sun Nov 3 00:15:28 UTC 2002

> That used to be the law.  But people got tired of buying 
> useless and/or dangerously defective products from stores and 
> getting this answer:
> Store: I had no way to know it was useless/defective: try the 
> manufacturer.
> Manufacturer: You and we have no privity of contract: try the store.
> So after enough people got angry enough, the law was changed. 
> Now manufacturers are liable for the useless/defective 
> products they produce *to the ultimate consumer*, under a 
> fiction of "implied warranty": the manufacturer is deemed to 
> have issued such a warranty whether he has or not.  The 
> warranty disclaimer is an attempt to dispose of this 
> obligation, and 1) it may not work at all in some 
> jurisdictions, and 2) it surely will not work unless the 
> manufacturer SHOUTS it at the consumer in an unmistakable place.

Yes, what John says is true.  And so we find ourselves in a situation
where manufactured products intended for consumers are covered by
mandatory warranties under federal law.  (Even some products that
contain Linux software in them!)  And there are effective product
liability and consumer protection statutes in nearly all states that
make manufacturers and distributors liable for the crap they foist on
the unsuspecting public.

Someday UCITA may do these things for software.  Do you want that?  Do
you want the open source community to try to influence the shaping of
laws like UCITA?

For those who fantasize a different kind of world, let's make it so.  In
the meantime, we're stuck with contract law the way it is.  Or at least
the way it is in the US.  How is it different in other countries?


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