Tonight in Internet & Society: Technologies and Politics of Control 2005 (Harvard Extension School edition), Susie Lindsay is leading a discussion of Reliability in software.
She’s framed the discussion around whether software companies should be liable under tort laws if they write bad code.
The class members here tonight seem very interested in the nature of
the contracts that they have with Microsoft or Sony (as a game software
developer) and how much (if any) liability the software company might
bear. As Tim Armstrong (of Grokster live-report fame) points out,
many of the protections that you have as a consumer when you’ve
contracted with a software manufacturer can be found in Consumer
Susie says there’s a can of worms buried in the software reliability
problem — that regulation is a possible approach, but it has
shortcomings. Is law an effective tool here, she wonders?
Are software developers different from other manufacturers? Do
they deserve special treatment? Is it a matter of cost, of
insurance, of incentives for innovation?