Beefing Up End User Development: Legal Protection and Regulatory Compliance

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Abstract

The integral nature of IT to business processes means that every organization relies on technology to help manage the workflow, encourage innovation and maintain information flows. Agility has come in the form of end –user development, which allows users who do not have background in programming to develop or modify their own applications. Changes exist when users develop their own systems, creating a potential legal minefield. Many of the legal issues relate to copyright infringement and security breach. Aside from the potential liability for intellectual property infringement, end user development raises tort liability issues. Licensing plays a critical role as the tool used to protect rights and distribution condition. Industries have also chosen to restrict the damages which end users can recover through industry end –user licensing agreement, which exempts software publishers from all liability, which are often unacceptable to user. This paper investigates the legal issues surrounding end–user development, in particular copyright issues and whether liability for defects can be excluded through licensing agreement.