Subject: Re: Is M$ a perpetrator of attractive nuisances?
From: kmself@ix.netcom.com
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 17:11:11 -0700
Sun, 7 May 2000 17:11:11 -0700
On Sat, May 06, 2000 at 09:17:36AM -0700, Rich Morin wrote:
> I have been musing about the notion of "attractive nuisances",
> wondering whether it might apply to a company which has shown
> itself to be totally disinterested in the possibility that its

s/disinterested/uninterested/

> products can be subverted and abused.
> 
> I refer, of course, to M$, whose operating systems have ever-
> increasing opportunities for misuse:
> 
>    Start with a complete lack of internal firewalls.
>    Add in Visual Basic as a pervasive macro language.
>    Add Outlook's automagical running of apps and scripts.
> 
> Some of the reason for M$'s vulnerability to worms and viruses
> is that it is such a tempting (i.e., large) target.  A virus
> aimed a BeOS might not even make the daily press.  Nonetheless,
> it is also the case that Unixish systems are less vulnerable to
> these attacks and that applications such as Eudora have not been
> involved nearly as much as, say, Outlook.
> 
> In short, I wonder if M$ has done anything that would go beyond
> the usual denials of responsibility, causing it to be open to a
> class-action suit (or even criminal prosecution) for knowingly
> and increasingly perpetrating this kind of incompetent product.

For the collected audience, from Black's Law Dictionary (pocket
edition):

    attractive-nuisance doctrine.  In tort law, the rule that a person
    who owns property with a dangerous instrumentality or condition that
    will forseeably lure children to trespass is under a duty to protect
    those children from the dangerous attraction  -- Also termed
     turntable doctrine .  See "dangerous instrumentality"


    dangerous instrumentality.  An instrument, substance, or condition
    so inherently dangerous that it may cause serious bodily injury or
    death without human use or interference;  it may serve as the basis
    for strict liability.  See  attractive-nuisance doctrine   Cf:
     deadly weapon .


    nuisance.  1.  Anything that annoys or disturbs the use or enjoyment
    of property.  2.  Use of one's own property in a way that annoys or
    disturbs others' use or enjoyment of property.

    (subdefs)

        anticipatory nuisance.  An activity that, although not yet at the
          level of a nuisance, is very likely to become one, so that a
          party may obtain an injunction prohibiting the activity.

        nuisance in fact.  A nuisance existing because of the
        circumstances
          of the use or the particular location

        public nuisance.  A nuisance that interferes with a communal right
          and that may lead to civil injunction or criminal prosecution.
          Also termed  common nuisance .


    turntable doctrine.  This term gets its name from the enticing yet
    dangerous qualities of railroad turntables, which have frequently
    been the subject of litigation.

    (KMS: Interesting.  We return once again to the genesis of antitrust
    actions -- the railroad "robber barons" of the 19th century,
    vis-a-vis Microsoft).


    disinterested. (adj) Free from bias, prejudice, or partiality.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>         http:/www.netcom.com/~kmself
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/
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