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Does Anyone Actually Read Software EULAs?


When I feel like I need to break a EULA and make that breach public in some form, I generally replace the EULA with my revised version. In installers, I replace the current text. Thier program, acting as thier agent, agrees to the revisions I propose. Web services, just edit the HTML.


They should simply say…

This software is not fit for any purpose, application or otherwise deployment. Use at your own risk…

Rights? You have no rights.

Well, that’s what the lawyers want…


The (old) Borland “No-Nonsense License” is interesting:


b. This Software is owned by Borland or its suppliers and
is protected by copyright law, international copyright
treaties, as well as other proprietary notices. Therefore,
you must treat this Software like any other copyrighted
material (e.g., a book) and you agree that the total number
of copies of the Software used by you may not exceed the
number of Licensed Copies paid for by you, except that you
may either make one copy of the Software solely for backup
or archival purposes or transfer the Software to a single
hard disk provided you keep the original solely for backup
or archival purposes.


A related annoyance is that several FOSS installers now require you to accept the GPL before they will continue the installation. I doubt there is any legal point in doing so, and it seems to contradict “freedom zero” – the right to use the sofware for whatever you want.

It seems the makers (or at least packagers) are trying to imitate the “real” software vendors – look at us, we’ve got real legal bullshit now too! – when it should be the other way around.


I have a vague recollection of a company that put a ‘prize’ in their EULA, to the effect that the first person to email a certain phrase to a certain address would win $50 (or something along those lines).

The prize went unclaimed for quite a while. Anyone else remember this, or the correct details?


Most EULAs say “if you do not agree with the EULA, please quit now, and return the software for a full refund”, however, most stores, thanks to piracy, won’t take opened software, so you’re screwed anyway.


The iTunes one is freakin’ ridiculous. ‘You agree to anything we say, and anything we may say in the future’ (paraphrasing). Anyone can see that CAN’T be held up in any honest court of law.

Maybe Mr. Stallman’s got more of a point than people give him credit for…


I’m not associated with it, but I’ve used Eulalyzer to at least be aware of horrible EULAs.


You forgot my favorite one:
“You will not work around any technical limitations of the software.”

Ah yes…that reminds me of the whole TestDriven.NET debacle.


Wow, the Windows XP EULA is now written in German? Now I’ll really never read it! :slight_smile:


I don’t even think companies are really paying attention to their EULAs. I was struck by the fact that a EULA I read recently says that you can install it on an unlimited number of computers for your own use, but make only one backup copy (these statements are very, very far apart in the EULA).

And it was software that you can download without charge with registration anyway - what’s the point?


I guess none of you has read your credit card agreement.


So computers do vision and voice recognition…

It’s about time for computers to read a text (such as a EULAs) and tell us ONLY what is important about it!


There is a legend that someone wrote in EULA that the first born of the user has to be sacrificied to crocodile God for a small freeware just to see if anyone reads it. Nobody complained.


Pete Johnson wrote:
“The “Impressum” link on the leftmost part of the footer is mandatory for all pages focused on people within Germany…
Why? I have no idea”

You get the idea, when you encounter online-shops, which have no address or e-mail at all - often enough you encounter that not until something with your order goes wrong.
A shop without an postal address and other mandatory declarations could be closed very easy under the german top-level-domain “.de”, because it’s simply illegal.

For consumers, this is a good act. I claim that there is less e-crime in shops under the german-top-level-domain compared to many other toplevel-domains.

Practically, you will not find a shop in german without correct information in the impressum, at least not very long.


It might be interesting to consider that an admin or a user accepting a EULA for a piece of enterprise software could be entering their company into a legally binding agreement. Companies frown on employees taking such actions. Let’s get the lawyers involved next time we need to install something!


“Run it by legal” isn’t fun for you, or for legal…

So, we all agree that we have an uninteresting, unreadable piece of text that is unbinding and unenforceable.

Is the answer to just leave it off? Hide it in the readme.txt file? Make the installer verify your identity using two pieces of ID and your Single Sign On account? Take a picture of your face with your webcam during install to prove it was you that cliked OK?

It’s all just FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) propagated by the unreasonable tort business. Ignore it.


My favorite from the Java EULA:

You acknowledge that Licensed Software is not designed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility.


“When Doug Heckman was installing a PC Pitstop program, he actually read the EULA. In it, he found a clause stating that he could get financial compensation if he e-mailed PC Pitstop. The result: a $1,000 check, and proof that people don’t read EULAs (3,000 people before him didn’t notice it). The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs, so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA.”



I have a modest proposal: the EULA-mangling virus, which randomly changes the terms of any EULA agreements it detects.