Defending Disclosure in Software Licensing

25 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2010

See all articles by Robert A. Hillman

Robert A. Hillman

Cornell Law School

Maureen A. O'Rourke

Boston University School of Law

Date Written: April 27, 2010


For lack of our imagination, this article does not have the most scintillating title. However, the subject matter is critically important. We survey prominent kinds of disclosures in law and show why the disclosure tool, though subject to substantial criticism, is central to the legitimacy of any legal regime. Our working example is the American Law Institute’s “Principles of the Law of Software Contracts” (hereinafter “ALI Principles”).

The ALI Principles include three kinds of disclosure: disclosure of facts (concerning the quality of software), disclosure of terms (of standard forms), and disclosure of post-contract intentions (to pursue remote disablement of software). We take each up respectively in the three sections that follow and show how these forms of disclosure promote important social values and goals.

Keywords: disclosure, Internet, software, licensing

JEL Classification: law and economics

Suggested Citation

Hillman, Robert A. and O'Rourke, Maureen A., Defending Disclosure in Software Licensing (April 27, 2010). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 010-008, Available at SSRN: or

Robert A. Hillman (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-4902 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Maureen A. O'Rourke

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-3123 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)

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