RE: Legal requirements on doc (EU/US)

Subject: RE: Legal requirements on doc (EU/US)
From: "Mike Bradley" <mbradley -at- techpubs -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 16:08:54 -0800

> What are the legal regulations (European Union directives and
> US laws) on technical documentation in the software industry?
> What happens legally if the manuals are inaccurate or if the
> software does not work the documents say it should?

In the US, software is licensed, not sold. That's what all those license
agreements are about--we buy a license to use, we don't buy the
software. As a result, manufacturers' liability is greatly reduced. They
only warrant that they are giving us a true copy of the software.

Attempts have been made to hold the manufacturers liable for
ill-performing, buggy, junky, crappy software documented by illiterate
Martians, but, to my knowledge, all of them have failed.

There may be an exception to the manufacturers' Teflon coating in the
case of automated machinery. I'm fairly sure that the documentation has
to have Cautions and Warnings in relation to operation of the machinery,
but not to operation of the software. In other words, "Caution:
Resetting the wafer elevator while a cassette is in the chamber may
damage the wafers and elevator," is required, I think, while "Caution:
Clicking File > Save incessantly may hang the program," is not.

= Mike Bradley
Tech Pubs

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Legal requirements on doc (EU/US): From: Jocelyn Olivier

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