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Entry 369 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash

It took a Belgian court 13 years to reach verdict in a computer virus case. Here's the story.

Somewhere in the dying decades of the last Millennium a 'professional' software company distributed an update by sending floppy disks to its clients. What the company didn't know was that about 10% of these disks had a virus hidden in the root section. Some clients found that out soon enough, got infected, complained and asked for very huge damage claims. The legal department of the software provider pondered on it for a few months and finally decided to bring the supplier, who furnished the disks, before court. As a matter of fact that happened to be the local computer store from around the corner. The shop owner argued that he had sold sealed boxes, that probably contained already infected disks, to the software firm but said that he couldn't be held responsible as he had ordered these disks from a national dealer who had delivered him the goods, already sealed in boxes. Just to be on the safe side the distributor was then invited to court as well.

The wholesaler claimed that he had bought the disks, packed, sealed and delivered, from the manufacturer in Thailand, one of those developing countries where the local Scrooge McDucks are proud to say that their booming economy is based upon child labour and woman exploitation. All boxes contained stickers saying that the disks were 100% virus free, so why should he have doubted that?

Now everybody found it stupid to attack the manufacturer, although, off the record, everybody agreed that the company in Thailand was as guilty as hell. But attacking Mr. Duck in Thailand would have meant sending over a rogatory commission and you know what is the first thing these commission members do when they arrive for one night in Bangkok. So the software company accused the local shop holder. And the local shop holder accused the wholesaler. And the wholesaler said that someone, but certainly not him, should accuse the manufacturer in Thailand. So, just to keep busy, he accused the local shop holder who, at his turn, accused his buyer who should've tested the disks before sending them to the clients. One could keep on going on like that so let us make it easy for ourselves: at the end everybody was suing everybody.

And thus they kept on meddling for the next decade until at the end of last year the judge in question finally reached a verdict. It took a Belgian judge thirteen years, that is 4745 days, to utter the following wise words. He decided that he wouldn't allow any of the initial complaints because he had received these outside the reasonable period of time...

They all had a good laugh after that, especially the lawyers, who laughed all the way to the bank. And for the youngsters among us: does anyone remember what exactly is a floppy disk?

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: True Story