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Is zlib license no-waranty no-liability clause enough to not get sued in European Union and United States of America?

zlib license no-waranty no-liability clause:

This software is provided 'as-is', without any express or implied warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this software.

I'm a little concerned, because this is how it in looks popular MIT license:

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

or in FreeBSD license:

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

The views and conclusions contained in the software and documentation are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing official policies, either expressed or implied, of the FreeBSD Project.

5

I'm pretty sure that Bruce Perens was evaluating the zlib and libpng licenses for Open Source Certification when he coined the term "crayon license".

The zlib license and the libpng license were developed at almost the same time (March 24, 1995 and March 28, respectively). The libpng license had MIT-like disclaimers while the zlib had

  1. The authors are not responsible for the consequences of use of this software, no matter how awful, even if they arise from flaws in it.

which was changed several days later to the separate disclaimer mentioned in the question.

I'm not aware of any lawsuits with regard to either license, so both seem to be adequate so far (note, IANAL and this is not legal advice).

The UCITA law, enacted in two US states in 2000, declares that implicit waivers are insufficient, and if the following waiver, or words to that effect, do not appear in the license then these things are implicitly warranted by the grantor. So I had to amend the libpng license accordingly, to add this clause:

There is no warranty against interference with your enjoyment of the library or against infringement. There is no warranty that our efforts or the library will fulfill any of your particular purposes or needs. This library is provided with all faults, and the entire risk of satisfactory quality, performance, accuracy, and effort is with the user.

I don't know specifically what is the risk to the grantor, but, not being a lawyer, and residing in one of those states (Maryland and Virginia), I preferred to not assume those risks.

See SUBTITLE 4: WARRANTIES, paragraphs 21-401 through 21-409, on pages 40-48 in the Maryland UCITA law

  • Hi, I'm Poland, EU (we don't even have software patents here - I'm new to that kind of law), so I don't think this clause could do me some harm. But, could you elaborate about that UCITA law and which article of it says about that warranty clause? – Marqin Sep 27 '16 at 15:50
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    I added a link to the Maryland UCITA law at the end of my answer. – Glenn Randers-Pehrson Sep 27 '16 at 23:18
  • btw. I'm just looking at popular licenses, and only MIT and Apache 2.0 have clause for "infringement" and none has clause for "enjoyment" (even GPL which was said to be written by lawyers), so I it seems to not be a big issue for most of people out there. – Marqin Sep 28 '16 at 6:13
  • I'm going to accept your answer, until someone cames with better one and/or some law twist. – Marqin Sep 28 '16 at 6:14
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    @Marqin I thought the "enjoyment" phrase was a little weird; I guess they were thinking of computer games. Anyhow I'm not defending UCITA, just trying to comply with it. – Glenn Randers-Pehrson Sep 28 '16 at 11:38
2

Is zlib license no-waranty no-liability clause enough to not get sued in European Union and United States of America?

I have never heard of anyone being sued of the zlib license WARRANTY disclaimer.

Actually I have never heard of anyone ever being sued anywhere on the sole basis of any open source licenses WARRANTY disclaimer.

Not being a lawyer and short of a real legal analysis by a real lawyer this is probably as good as an answer you could get here. FWIW, there could be countries where some warranty disclaimers may not apply or may not be legit. But these law are likely moot for gifts of code and made for products you bought.

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    I think it'd be a case of since the software was completely available for inspection before it was used the buyer/recipient can evaluate fitness for purpose for themselves and doesn't need to rely on the seller/giver's representations, so there's no implicit representation of merchantability or fitness for purpose for the seller to warrant. – Todd Knarr Aug 17 '16 at 19:29

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