The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

That A Programmer Should Be Held Liable For What Their Software Does

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2015 Category: Technology
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 475 times Debate No: 76620
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




I believe that programmers should be held liable for what their software does. If a programmer writes a piece of code bundled within their software that has malicious intent, then they should be held liable for this. If they aren't held liable, then who will be? The host of the software? The publisher? It is obvious that it is the programmer who programmed it should be held, because there is no-one else that they can hold liable.


So what if the code is written by software programmer is malicious, or collectively harmful? They do not harm anyone unless one uses it.

So who make people to use it? It is the publisher, and definitely publishers are liable.

Same goes for other topics: weapons, US is not going to be liable for wars that use its weapons
Debate Round No. 1


The publisher wouldn't have done anything wrong. They would make the code public and for anyone to use, and that is all. They are just relying on the fact that the user of the computer has appropriate malware protection in case something goes wrong. If the programmer had malicious intent, then they should be the one serving the sentence, not the publisher who put it into the public without being aware.


Programmers could distribute the software themselves, why need the help of publishers?

Publishers re-distributing the software, is no difference from recommending the world about the software. And, publishers cannot relay on the fact that all users would have an appropriate malware protection because not all users pay for an appropriate malware protection, or selfishly, users only have them as a precaution but not am obligation.
As a user, I only look at the one who causes me to have malware, in this case, which is the publisher unless he disclaims all responsibilities. I am not going to help the publisher to trace the real source because that is not beneficial to me, I only look at the fact right now.
Debate Round No. 2


If they can distribute it themselves, then they are in the wrong even more. If they distribute it themselves, then you can't hold the publisher liable, and only the programmer. Even Softpedia give a warning if the download is coming from a server that isn't their own.

Also, lots of people around the world use antivirus products, and a large amount of them use free version of the anti-malware product. If the user isn't protected, then the malware author should be liable anyway, because some underinformed users don't know any better.

I use a good anti-malware solution, but I would still turn to the developer if I got malicious code inside of my apps. Sometimes the malware definitions might not have been downloaded or installed, but you would have been protected anyway.

In conclusion,
The malware author is the only one to blame. The publisher would have no knowledge, the anti-virus might not have installed its patches, but it is still the malware author with the malicious intent.


Since Softpedia gives warning to visitors that the files are not hosted on their server and (if) they have disclaimed responsibilities in Terms and Conditions too, then the responsibility will be moved to the publisher who hosts the file, not Softpedia.

So what if a lot of people in the world use antivirus products? They are not obliged to use antivirus products at all.
Unless the antivirus seller says that they will responsible, otherwise, the software publisher that infected computer will still hold responsibility.

Conclusively, the original publisher of the file holds responsibility as they are promoting the file behalf the original author. It is their responsibility to ensure that the file is free from malware for public use, unless they told in ToS that files hosted on their site are malicious.

Antivirus makers should not be blamed because they are trying their best to minimise security vulnerabilities to reduce exploitation unless they have guaranteed.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 11 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Both showed proper conduct throughout. S&G - Tie. Both had appropriate spelling and grammar throughout. Arguments - Con. This was a fun debate to read and ponder. Ultimately, I am siding with Con. While I see Pro's point that the creator should be held responsible for the creation, it's the person attempting to expose the creation to the world that should be held responsible. I agree with Con's reasoning that unless the creator (programmer) is selling it himself, he shouldn't be held responsible since he's not exposing anyone to it. While he did indeed create a harmful product, and should be held accountable in that regard, the one that should be held fully liable in this case is the one selling the faulty or harmful software. Con navigated his way through the warning label issue well, and thus convinced me that he is correct on this issue. Both sides did extremely well though and it truly was/is a tough decision. Sources - Tie. Neither utilized sources.