Strict Products Liability for Software Code Defects

C. Savage Turner, J.K. Fox, and D.J. Richardson (USA)


software products and law, strictproducts liability


This paper deals only with the “mistakes” programmers may make in implementing the design specifications of a safety-critical system. If the programmer fails to correctly implement a well defined safety specification, we have code that is “more dangerous than it was designed to be…” It is shown that this narrow category of software defect is properly placed under the rubric of strict products liability – that is, liability without “fault.” The main contribution of this paper is the distillation and application of defect characteristics that distinguish those subject to a strict standard and those subject to a more negligence standard of liability.

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