Subject: RE: prohibiting use that would result in death or personal injury
From: "SamBC" <sambc@nights.force9.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 19:50:52 +0100

This is a good point. I am surprised it has never been raised before...


SamBC

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Justin Wells [mailto:jread@semiotek.com]
> Sent: 22 July 2000 17:34
> To: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: prohibiting use that would result in death or personal injury
>
>
> Can an opensource license include this phrase:
>
>    You must not use our software where there is any risk of death or
>    personal injury.
>
> Lots of licenses say that, and the reason is that in many jurisdictions it
> is not possible to disclaim liability for something that might kill or
> seriously inujure someone.
>
> So what software licenses do instead is prohibit any use that
> might result
> in death or personal injury.
>
> I think this contradicts the "fields of endeavor" portion of the
> OSD. However,
> I also think it's an entirely reasonable thing to put in an open source
> license.
>
> This restriction would prevent you from using the software to fly
> an aircraft,
> or as part of a military weapons system, or as part of the safey
> system keeping
> trains from colliding. Those are definately fields of endeavor.
>
> I'm interested in hearing what others think.
>
> If it's not allowed in an open source license then the author of any
> opensource software package is open to almost unlimited liability in the
> event that someone uses their software in a critical system and, as the
> result of some bug, someone dies.
>
> Though it doesn't seem fair, I can imagine the victim's side arguing
> that since the opensource author allowed their software to be used
> in any field of endeavour (including critical systems) they were
> negligent in not ensuring that the software was suitable for use
> under those conditions.
>
> Justin
>
>