Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
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Technical Report

Software Product Liability

  • Abstract

    Software defects are rarely lethal and the number of injuries and deaths is now very small. Software, however, is now the principle controlling element in many industrial and consumer products. It is so pervasive that it is found in just about every product that is labeled electronic. Most companies are in the software business whether they know it or not. The question is whether their products could potentially cause damage and what their exposures would be if they did. 

    While most executives are now concerned about product liability, software introduces a new dimension. Software, particularly poor quality software, can cause products to do strange and even terrifying things. Software bugs are erroneous instructions and, when computers encounter them, they do precisely what the defects instruct. An error could cause a 0 to be read as a 1, an up control to be shut down, or, as with the radiation machine, a shield to be removed instead of inserted. A software error could mean life or death.

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Cite This Report

SEI

Armour, Jody; & Humphrey, Watts. Software Product Liability. CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 . Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. 1993. http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893

IEEE

Armour. Jody, and Humphrey. Watts, "Software Product Liability," Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Technical Report CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 , 1993. http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893

APA

Armour, Jody., & Humphrey, Watts. (1993). Software Product Liability (CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 ). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from the Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University website: http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893

CHI

Jody Armour, & Watts Humphrey. Software Product Liability (CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 ). Pittsburgh, PA: Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 1993. http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893

MLA

Armour, Jody., & Humphrey, Watts. 1993. Software Product Liability (Technical Report CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 ). Pittsburgh: Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893

BibTex

@techreport{ArmourSoftwareProduct1993,
title={Software Product Liability},
author={Jody Armour and Watts Humphrey},
year={1993},
number={CMU/SEI-93-TR-013 },
institution={Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University},
address={Pittsburgh, PA},
url={http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?AssetID=11893} }