Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Tue Apr 8 20:42:09 UTC 2003


I certainly believe it is entirely reasonable for a licensor of software
to warrant that he either (1) wrote the software himself or (2) is
allowed by the author of the software, under a valid current license, to
copy and distribute the software to his licensees.  

The point is, licensors shouldn't foist shoddy (e.g., infringing) goods
on an unsuspecting public by ignoring licenses for software they include
in their distributions.  Licensors should make sure that the components
they include in their software are licensed under an open source license
or otherwise authorized for inclusion in an open source work.  Licensors
can certainly verify those simple facts before they distribute software.
They don't really need insurance, they just need common sense business
practices and integrity.

/Larry Rosen

> > Sure.  Take a look at http://linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6155.
> So, how does someone with sense or conscience redistribute 
> software and offer a warranty of non-infringement for 
> software they acquired or is a combined work?
> Relying on a cascade of breach of warranty lawsuits back 
> through the distribution chain doesn't sound like a 
> reasonable business risk.
> Is there an insurance industry around this?  (And if there 
> were, is it as risk averse as the underwriters for all other 
> lines of insurance have become in the last 13 months?)
> I think the best to reasonably expect from a licensor of 
> software at reasonable, or little. or no cost, is:
>    "For materials exclusively authored by Provider, Provider
>     warrants that the listed licenses apply to You. Provider
>     warrants that all licenses and disclaimers that Provider
>     is aware apply to You as of this date are as follows:
>         [list here]
>    "

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