Stories by Craig Horrocks

What is SCO on about?

Few people working in IT on the planet are unaware that an organisation called SCO has attacked Linux. Beyond that, even for the experts, making sense of the merits of the claims and counter-claims, who is suing who, who is behind it all and who is likely to win is a matter of a heady mixture of fact, opinion and pure speculation.

How to just say no to Software Assurance

The last Techlaw column (Making sense of Software Assurance) attempted to cover what is negotiable with Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing scheme, what negotiation should be attempted and how to document commitments that are made.

Making sense of Software Assurance

Since the filing of the complaint against Microsoft over its proposed licensing changes I have had many emails of support, a good proportion of which have expressed frustration at the complexity of the Software Assurance programme.

Different customary practices create global trading issues

Recently we wrote about how customary practice can be recognised by the Courts as evidence of the implied terms in a contract. (See "Customary practice key to Y2K liability suits" — Computerworld, September 14 1998 — also available at
That article covered cases in the New Zealand Courts that recognised customs as being part of the contract terms and speculated on how that might apply on Y2K programmes. Essentially Techlaw argued that companies designing Y2K programmes should consider adopting a well recognised published standards for such programmes. We pointed out that adopting a standard would be a good customary-practise shield against any litigation.
The role of the law of customary practice is broader than just as a shield. Establishing customary practise can be helpful when a way of dealing develops (such as is happening with e-commerce) but where that way of dealing is not completely or cleanly documented between the parties.
This situation is just what is developing as international e-commerce practise blasts through to create new ways of trading with consumers at all points of the globe.
Before exploring how customary practice and e-commerce may be related, to recap on our earlier article, there are five key issues that the Courts consider when accepting and recognising customary practice. These five issue are drawn from the Woods and Westpac cases cited in the article).
The key issues are: