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Liability Issues in Software Engineering: The Use of Formal Methods to Reduce Legal Uncertainties

By Daniel Le Métayer, Manuel Maarek, Eduardo Mazza, Marie-Laure Potet, Stéphane Frénot, Valérie Viet Triem Tong, Nicolas Craipeau, Ronan Hardouin

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 54 No. 4, Pages 99-106

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This paper reports on the results of a multidisciplinary project involving lawyers and computer scientists with the aim to put forward a set of methods and tools to (1) define software liability in a precise and unambiguous way and (2) establish such liability in case of incident. The overall approach taken in the project is presented through an electronic signature case study. The case study illustrates a situation where, in order to reduce legal uncertainties, the parties wish to include in the contract specific clauses to define as precisely as possible the share of liabilities between them for the main types of failures of the system.

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