SSRN- Deworming the Internet by Douglas Barnes

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Wed Nov 24 15:37:49 EST 2004



 Deworming the Internet


University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Texas Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 1

 Both law enforcement and markets for software standards have failed to
solve the problem of software that is vulnerable to infection by
network-transmitted worms. Consequently, regulatory attention should turn
to the publishers of worm-vulnerable software. Although ordinary tort
liability for software publishers may seem attractive, it would interact in
unpredictable ways with the winner-take-all nature of competition among
publishers of mass-market, internet-connected software. More tailored
solutions are called for, including mandatory "bug bounties" for those who
find potential vulnerabilities in software, minimum quality standards for
software, and, once the underlying market failure is remedied, liability
for end users who persist in using worm-vulnerable software.

Keywords: Worms, viruses, software, market failure, network externality,
negative externality, perverse incentives, tort liability, lemons
equilibrium, regulation

JEL Classifications: K29, K13, L86, 031


 Accepted Paper Series


Abstract has been viewed 392 times


Contact Information for  DOUGLAS  BARNES (Contact Author)

 Email address for DOUGLAS  BARNES
 University of Texas at Austin - School of Law
 727 East Dean Keeton Street
 Austin  , TX  78705
 United States
 512-689-1875 (Phone)

Suggested Citation
 Barnes, Douglas A, "Deworming the Internet"  .  Texas Law Review, Vol. 83,
No. 1

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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