Sunday, April 13, 2003

Your software has the right to kill you

Recently I've been looking over contracts and trying to examine the rights, limitations, and legalities in general of software licenses since we're trying to generate some contracts for eRentPayer. This made me remember an experience I had.

I used to work for Sento, where I provided help with McAfee VirusScan. Ok fine, I was a phone tech support guy, I admit it. There were some days when I just couldn't stand taking another call, so I'd find other things to do. My friend, Kelly, and I were looking at the software licence for McAfee and we found something very interesting.

In the end user licence agreement is says, "Limitation of Liability. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES AND UNDER NO LEGAL THEORY, WHETHER IN TORT, CONTRACT, OR OTHERWISE, SHALL MCAFEE OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR TO ANY OTHER PERSON FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ... THIS LIMITATION ... APPL[IES] TO LIABILITY FOR DEATH OR PERSONAL INJURY ..."

Death? Wait a second, DEATH??? Did McAfee just say it might kill you and it won't be their fault? How on earth could the virusscan program kill me? I realize that computers do have viruses, but as far as I know, nobody has come up with a way to transfer a biological virus over the internet. Except, of course, at www.downloadavirusintoyourbody.com

I guess it doesn't hurt McAfee any, or me, to cover all loose ends. But disclaiming death seems a bit extreme to me for a peice of software. I guess we'll have to follow suit and put this into eRentPayer's contract. Just in case none of the tenants pay one month and the property manager has a heart attack.

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