Legal Question in Technology Law in New York

Am I liable for malicious usage of a software application that I have written for legitimate usage?

I made an application to track activities of children on a personal computer. I suspect that one of my users is using it illegitimately on computers that he doesn't own. Will I be held liable for his actions? If yes, what can I do?

I did mention in the terms and conditions that the application should not be used maliciously and if the user uses it for malicious purposes with/without consent, the author(me) will not be held responsible for the consequences.

Asked on 8/20/15, 3:32 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

You are not liable for someone else's nefarious behavior. If they app has a legit use and is not being promoted for malicious purposes whether that be direct or indirect then you should not be worried that someone used it this way.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient. Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section):

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Answered on 8/20/15, 3:56 pm
Roman Fichman Esq. Law Practice of Roman Fichman Esq.

I somewhat disagree with my colleague. My colleague is correct in that if the app has legitimate uses then the burden of your liability is lessened, however you COULD be liable for illegal use of the app if, for example, you had specifically taken such use in consideration when the app was developed. To protect yourself and fall under various "safe harbor" provisions, you need to put in place applicable business practices together with legally enforceable terms of use policies.

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Answered on 8/21/15, 6:52 am

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