"Should Microsoft pay for the billions of dollars of
damage that flaws in its software have caused around the world? It
might have to, if a new European Commission consumer protection
proposal becomes law. Although that sounds an appealing prospect,
one knock-on consequence could be that open source coders would
also be liable for any damage that errors in their software caused.
"Here's what the European Commission is proposing:
"A priority area for possible EU action is "extending the
principles of consumer protection rules to cover licensing
agreements of products like software downloaded for virus
protection, games or other licensed content", according to the
commissioners' agenda. "Licensing should guarantee consumers the
same basic rights as when they purchase a good: the right to get a
product that works with fair commercial conditions.""