Liability for Automated Information Systems: The Formulation of Uniform Rules Dealing with Civil Liability for Automated Information Systems
107 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2006
This comparative study deals with the liability for automated information systems under US and European law. A wide range of contractual and non-contractual schemes defining the duties of producers of information products are covered. In light of the changing concept and perception of information in the new economy, professional standards in respect of the production and dissemination of automated information systems have to follow suit. It is submitted that, although automated information systems have an increasing impact on our daily lives, liability for defective information based on strict product liability is inappropriate. Equally the suggestion that parties to the information chain acting as service providers may be liable for such defects must be rejected.
Nevertheless, in situations where an automated information system takes away the possibility for the user to independently appreciate and control his surroundings, the producer of such a system must accept liability, based on his professional standards, because the end user is not in a position to verify the accuracy of discrete bits of information that form the building blocks of the information system. This is, however, limited to situation where there is a determinable group of users of the system, so that harm is foreseeable and avoidable.
The application of contractual limitations and exceptions to liability and their downward effects along the information chain furthermore necessitate freedom for the courts to appreciate on a case-by-case basis what the specific relations and duties of parties towards one-another are, and what legitimate end user expectations on safety and accuracy of an automated information system may be in light of its intended purpose. It is argued that strict liability models are not suitable for what is on the whole an emerging industry that has yet to make a break from the specialist service bracket into the mass-market.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Liability
JEL Classification: K10, K13, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation