Subject: Re: prohibiting use that would result in death or personal injury
From: "Derek J. Balling" <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 12:29:56 -0700


The contention is, though, that in some jurisdictions, that 
disclaimer is NOT valid and enforceable, whereas a "you may not use 
this in <condition>, <condition>, <condition> types of situations" 
IS. (e.g., in those jurisdictions, I can say "you shouldn't do this 
because it could kill people", as a disclaimer, but if you do it and 
kill someone, I'm conspiratorially liable... whereas if I'd said "If 
you're doing this, you MAY NOT use my code", then the person doing 
such was violating the license, I had never given permisson for my 
stuff to be used to accidentally kill someone, and I'm not liable.

The issue here is NOT preventance of lawsuits -- that's impossible -- 
but removing the chance of SUCCESS of said lawsuit from causing 
adverse effects on the programmer.


At 11:28 AM -0700 7/22/00, Rick Moen wrote:
>begin  Derek J. Balling quotation:
>>  It is obvious now, that any product using the GPL has opened its
>>  owner up to liability in the case you've described, and I don't see
>>  the GPL actually getting changed in this regard (it seems it would go
>>  against RMS's moral code for it, and I can acknowledge that side of
>>  the argument).
>>  No clear-cut answers here, but I think the problem is actually much
>>  more insidious than you realized. :)
>GPL clauses 11 & 12 ("NO WARRANTY") attempt to avert this problem.
>Nothing prevents some court from imputing liability despite that --
>but one cannot absolutely prevent courts from doing perverse things,
>only discourage it.
>Cheers,                              "Open your present...."
>Rick Moen                            "No, you open your present...."
>rick (at)             Kaczinski Christmas.
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