CS 492/CS 692 S16 Role-Playing Exercise 6

Minimum liability for software

Team A

A group of consumer advocates and standards organization officials who argue that current practices of disclaiming all responsibility for the correct functioning of software are scandalous. They suggest that individuals and corporations who hold intellectual-property rights over a piece of software should be at least partly responsible for the consequences of its failing to work correctly, just as builders of bridges and manufacturers of machines are. They propose a sliding scale of minimum personal and corporate liability in order to encourage better practices in the software industry.

Team B

A group of software professionals, who believe that the proposal, while a good idea in principle, will not work in practice. They feel that standards are too difficult to formulate, that the current state of software testing does not permit adequate certification of correctness, that blame for the failure of a system is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint, and that such a proposal could be very damaging to the computer software industry in general.