Sunday 10 May 2009

Time to revise your Software Principles?

US law firm Cooley Godward Kronish's Cooley Alert! contains news that Tuesday week, 19 May, the American Law Institute is expected to approve the Principles of the Law of Software Contracts which will create new rules and set new standards for software contracts in a number of areas. 

Right: Principles must move with the times if they are to retain their commercial vitality

For the benefit of those who cannot comprehend the word "software" without instantly recalling the word "patent", software is protected by copyright too.

The Institute's Restatements and Principles are not binding but have some persuasive force
"because they are developed over several years with extensive input from law school professors, judges, and practitioners" [1709 comments: some cynics might prefer to substitute 'although' for 'because' ...].
The Cooley Alert! adds that future courts will likely rely on these Principles as setting the bar for best practices for software licensing transactions, commenting:
"This will present challenges for software companies who must continue to comply with existing law, but may also want to conform their contracts to the Software Principles".
In other words, here's a golden invitation to software licensors and their licensees to open that delicious can of worms, a concluded software licence that has been signed and popped into a desk-drawer from which it was intended never to be retrieved, in order to review the very principles on which it was concluded, just in case they might want to shift the bases on which it was agreed. 

You can buy the 400 page tentative draft of the Software Principles from the Institute here

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