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Full-Text Articles in Law

Getting Serious About User-Friendly Mass Market Licensing For Software, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz Jan 2004

Getting Serious About User-Friendly Mass Market Licensing For Software, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz

Articles

Software publishers use standard form end user licenses (“EULAs”) in mass market transactions on a regular basis. Most software users find EULAs perplexing and generally ignore them. Scholars, however, have focused on them intently. In the past twenty years over a hundred scholarly articles have been written on the subject. Most of these articles criticize EULAs and argue that courts should not enforce them. In their critique of EULAs, some scholars examine the adequacy of the offer, acceptance, and consideration. Others discuss EULAs as part of the troublesome issue of standard form contracting, and whether standard forms, on balance, harm ...


Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Essay explores an alternative to one of the pillars of contract law, that obligations arise only when there is "mutual assent "--when the parties reach consensus over the terms of the transaction. It explores a principle of "no-retraction," under which each party is obligated to terms it manifested and can retract only with some liability. In contrast to the all-or-nothing nature of the mutual assent regime, where preliminary forms of consent are either full-blown contracts or create no obligation, under the no-retraction regime, obligations emerge gradually, as the positions of the negotiating parties draw closer. Further, the no-retraction liability ...


The Law Of Duress And The Economics Of Credible Threats, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

The Law Of Duress And The Economics Of Credible Threats, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This paper argues that enforcement of an agreement, reached under a threat to refrain from dealing, should be conditioned solely on the threat's credibility. When a credible threat exists, enforcement promotes social welfare and the threatened party's interests. If agreements backed by credible threats were not enforceable, the threatening party would not extort them and would instead refrain from deaing-to the threatened party's detriment. The doctrine of duress, which invalidates such agreements, hurts the coerced party. By denying enforcement when a credible threat exists, the duress doctrine precludes the threatened party from making the commitment necessary to ...


Contract Formation In Imperfect Markets: Should We Use Mediators In Deals?, Scott R. Peppet Jan 2004

Contract Formation In Imperfect Markets: Should We Use Mediators In Deals?, Scott R. Peppet

Articles

This Article asks a simple question: Could third-party mediators be helpful in deals, just as they are in disputes? This Article makes a theoretical argument for such interventions, but also presents preliminary empirical evidence suggesting that transactional mediation may already be taking place.


Threatening An Irrational Breach Of Contract, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Threatening An Irrational Breach Of Contract, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

When circumstances surrounding the contract change, a party might consider breach a more attractive option than performance. Threatening breach, this party may induce the other party to modify the original agreement. The contract law doctrine of modification determines whether and when these modifications are enforceable. To promote social welfare as well as the interests of the threatened party, the law should enforce modifications if and only if the modification demand is backed by a credible threat to breach. This paper argues that credibility is not a function of pecuniary interests alone. A decision to breach can be motivated also by ...


Mutual Assent Versus Gradual Ascent: The Debate Over The Right To Retract, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Mutual Assent Versus Gradual Ascent: The Debate Over The Right To Retract, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

I ended Contracts Without Consent: Exploring a New Basis for Contract Liability with a reminder that the analysis was "lacking in rigor and in nuance" and that "[i]t remains for future work to explore the extent to which the approach developed. . . has the horsepower to resolve pragmatically the problems that have proven difficult for current doctrine and to examine whether these solutions advance the various social objectives associated with contract formation." Such "future work" arrived sooner than I expected. I have now had the privilege to read the three commentaries that the University of Pennsylvania Law Review solicited, three ...


'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

Incomplete contracts have always been viewed as raising the following challenge for contract law: does the incompleteness-or, "indefiniteness," as it is usually called-rise to such a level that renders the agreement legally unenforceable? When the indefiniteness concerns important terms, it is presumed that the parties have not reached an agreement to which they intend to be bound. This "fundamental policy" is the upshot of the view that "contracts should be made by the parties, not by the courts."' When, in contrast, the indefiniteness concerns less important terms, courts supplement the agreement with gap fillers and enforce the supplemented contract.


Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Symposium explores freedom from contract. When I was preparing to travel from my home in Ann Arbor to the University of Wisconsin where this Symposium was to be held, my 9-year-old son asked where I was headed. I explained that a bunch of people and I were going to meet and talk about freedom from contract, but the boy seemed unsure what this exchange was going to be about. I tried to translate: "It is about making promises that you don't really have to keep." This sounded surprising to him. He raised an inquisitive brow, and I knew ...


Contracting Under Amended 2-207 (Freedom From Contract Symposium), James J. White Jan 2004

Contracting Under Amended 2-207 (Freedom From Contract Symposium), James J. White

Articles

Amended Section 2-207 of the Uniform Commercial Code1 (the Code) states new contract rules. I call these "contract rules" to avoid the labels of contract formation and contract interpretation. These new rules cure many of the problems presented by current Section 2-2072 and remind courts that the purpose of Section 2-207 is to interpret a contract that has been made, not to see if a contract exists. One is tempted to label current Section 2-207 as a contract formation provision-and to some extent that would be right-but most of this Section's work has been in contract interpretation, not in ...


Where Does Creativity Come From? And Other Stories Of Copyright, Michael J. Madison Jan 2004

Where Does Creativity Come From? And Other Stories Of Copyright, Michael J. Madison

Articles

This Commentary on Lydia Pallas Loren, Untangling the Web of Music Copyrights, 53 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 673 (2003), observes that debates over a variety of copyright law issues can be - and in fact, often are - structured in narrative terms, rather than in terms of doctrine, policy, or empirical inquiry. I suggest a series of such narratives, each framed by a theme drawn from a feature film. The Commentary suggests that we should recognize more clearly the role of narrative in intellectual property discourse, and that intellectual property narratives should be examined critically.