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Does Anyone Actually Read Software EULAs?


Never read EULAs either, sometimes I skim through them though.


I just found this interesting, that it happened to hit reddit today.


it’s a case of taking the EULA seriously, and bannign


You know, as someone who writes commercial software, I gotta say: every word of the license agreement is important and you should read it, understand it, and agree to it and if you don’t, you really shouldn’t use the software. My licenses are very clear, written in legally-binding but understandable English, and they give you specific rights, deny you certain rights, and absolve various parties of liability. You need to know what those are, because they are not the same for every software. With the exception of number 5, all those things are reasonable, and “any sane person” should know that.

I know what you’re saying here, but users can’t be allowed to just do whatever they want. I don’t put any code to actively prevent someone from decompiling it, for example, but I make it clear in the license agreement, that if they do that in an attempt to discover trade secrets or defeat security, then they are committing a crime. We can show the monetary cost of such actions and we have every right to try to prevent people from doing it. We need to make sure they agree not to hack it, or it constitutes de facto permission.

The “tort business” is not unreasonable. It is a scary thing which can bring a company to its knees if improperly managed. We’re not doing anything intentionally malicious with our software, and we should be protected from stupid user actions. You talk about that all the time on this blog, and you know how prevalent it is. I don’t want to be sued for anything my software does, and I am happy to work with people if it causes a problem. Do not disregard the EULAs… they are legally binding, and I don’t know why you think it’s appropriate to ignore them. You are entering into a legal agreement which has been enforced by the courts… it’s a good idea to know what that agreement is. I don’t agree that users should have the rights you think they should.

Managing my public image, monitoring the use of the software, protecting my trade secrets and protecting my company from liabilities resulting from misuse is a responsibility of the company, and if I didn’t do it, I would be sentencing the operation to death. And in reality, the license itself doesn’t prevent you from doing any of that. You are free to hack all you want, but if you do, you are in violation of the agreement, and we don’t have to help you. Hack at your own risk… and one of those risks is that you may put yourself in serious legal trouble if your hacking hurts my company in any way. We have these ideas for other products, so why not software? If you crush your thumb with a hammer, you misused it and you can’t sue the hammer maker for damages, it’s your fault… and that is what license agreements are about.


ihe could get financial compensation if he e-mailed PC Pitstop/i

Right-o, that’s what I was thinking of. Very cool for Doug Heckman.


In the same topic, there is a service called GooDiff : http://www.goodiff.org/ targeting EULA for web services.

The service monitors policies or EULA from various web company.


With every EULA I see, I’m more happy that they’re not legally binding in Germany. So there’s no reason whatsoever for me to read them. :slight_smile:


Funny that you have a picture of the german WinXP EULA, because in Germany, and probably in other European countries, too, EULAs are in general not legally binding. The idea is that you cannot sign any form of contract which you only see after you’ve bought the product. I wonder if EULAs are actually enforced anywhere outside of the US?

This may be an urban legend, but I also remeber a discussion about EULAs being not enforcable in the US if you had your underage kid klick the “OK” button. :wink:


@Nick (I’m also going on /. hearsay…)

Surely the difference between EULAs and contracts of adhesion is that you can only read the EULA after you buy and pay for the software? It’s not a take it or leave it basis, at least in the case of nonfree software.

Also, again from my great /. knowledge, there’s apparently no limitation on use in traditional copyright law. So there’s no reason why they can say you’re not allowed to use the software you paid for if you click “No”.

But of course, this doesn’t mean one iota without actual knowledge of the law and case law :slight_smile:


Was there a EULA when I paypaled you money for coding horror stickers that said “notice: I will not actually send them to you”? I’m still waiting…



I HATE it when some idiot sees a box in the installer maker that he can paste into, and decides that everyone should have to click “I agree” to the GPL. Talk about missing the point — the GPL places no restrictions on the end user. Morons.


Problems with EULA’s:
Not allowed to increase the size of the eula window.
Not allowed to increase the size of the eula text.
Not allowed to save eula to a file so another progam - like a word processor or browser - can do the above two steps to ease reading.
Also, I suggest they take lessons from a school teacher or sdvertising designer in organizing for readablity. I learned that when I was 13 years old from a science teacher when preparing for a competion.
Yes, I skim the eula and sometimes refuse.


I put the following EULA in some VB code installs and EVERYONE clicked through it.

doGteN End User License Agreement (EULA)

I - The user understands, acknowledges, and gives express permission for the application and/or associated components to collect personal information, including, but not limited to, name, demographic data, interests, profession, education, marital status, sex, age, income, computer usage, address book, chats, site visitation, downloads, computer contents, and any other information doGteN decides to collect at his sole discretion.

II - User hereby understand, acknowledges, and gives express permission for application and/or associated components to disable or delete applications and/or files deemed unfriendly or harmful to doGteN or any of his associates at doGteN’s sole discretion without notice to the user, and may auto-reinstall applications and/or any associated components.

III - User hereby understands, acknowledges, and gives express permission for doGteN or any of his associates at doGteN’s sole discretion without notice to the user to remotely control applications and/or associated components.

IV - User hereby understands, acknowledges, and gives express permission for doGteN or any of his associates at doGteN’s sole discretion without notice to the user to create, transmit, or delete any data doGteN deems necessary.

V - User hereby understands, acknowledges, and gives express disclaimer of liability and damages to doGteN.

VI - Future Licenses: By using this software, you agree to not only this license, but to any future revisions to this license. You also agree to any future licenses for other products from doGteN, whether or not you actually purchase them, and to any revisions to those licenses, including terms that require you to agree to other licenses, and revisions to those licenses. You agree that if you attempt to not agree to these licenses, then you automatically agree to yet another license, and it’s a lot harsher than this license, so just watch yourself.


Why do FOSS developers make you click the GPL? It’s not about how you use their software. The GPL doesn’t limit that.

Don’t forget, end-users of GPL’d software can be distributors, too. The point, I would assume, is to make sure that users (who care) are aware that they can freely obtain and redistribute the source of this software. Usually you can spread the provided binaries around for free, as long as you make the source available as well.


A first look at the proposed “Principles of the Law of Software Contracts”:



Here’s the license I put on some programs I wrote in 199?:


I. INTRODUCTION: By agreeing to this license, either by clicking the “I accept” button, or through electronic or standard mail, or by loading this text into active computer memory, you agree to all the terms of this agreement, all the terms of future revisions of this agreement, all of the other agreements which I write, any agreements I agree to, any agreements I do not agree to, any agreements which I think of writing, and any agreements present in alternate quantum realities.

II. RESTRICTIONS: You may not copy, reverse-engineer, decompile, execute, install, look at, think of installing, download, or breathe in the presence of this software. Such actions would be deemed copyright infringement, and dealt with under the law of the country of origin of this license.

III. AGREEMENT: By agreeing to this license, you must worship me, the author, in pagan style. This includes firstborn sacrifices, idol worship (Hey, you Americans do that already) and self-punishment. Sacrifices consisting of daughters need not be fully sacrificed, you need only send them to me. Pizza would be cool, too. And beer. Don’t forget the beer. A case of Sam Adams Oktoberfest is plenty for a day or so.

IV. USER PARTICIPATION: User participation, in effect at the agreement to this license, will consist of: bowing before the author; holding the author’s place in line at the @$%ing ticket booth, carrying the author’s books, and cleaning the author’s dormitory.

V. CLOSING: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.


I’ve always want to SEND A EULA back at 'em:

“By my using your software, you agree to provide me, the End User, software that “approximates” the stated behavior in the marketing material on the cover of/website for your product. Failing to present such functionality by misrepresenting said product will automatically cause an invoice for 10x the purchase price to be generated and sent directly to your CEO’s home address…”


Jim did you skip this part by any chance?

“10. Privacy. You understand that you have no expectation of privacy with respect to your use of the Site, Services or Games, and that all communications made by or received from you may be monitored, preserved and disclosed by Three Rings representatives. You hereby consent to the extraction of hardware system profile data and any data related to operation of the software from any computer that logs on to the Site, Services or Games using your account… …These Terms are also subject to Three Rings’ general Privacy Policy, which is incorporated by this reference as if set out in full.”

Which also states that whatever is not included here, we’ll use too as if it were.

also: Any data related to operation of the software from any computer that logs on to the Site… If you use your pda to connect to it, it may be monitored too, creepy or what?


I own a car, and I drive it around a fair bit. I keep driving past these signs that say things like “Welcome to North Vancouver” or “Now Entering Alberta”. And, do you know, NOT ONE of these signs says:

By Traveling past this politically defined point on, above, or below the surface of the planet on which this sign is posted, you agree to abide by all laws, regulations, situations of liability and so forth, all of which are subject to change at any time, that any arbitrary political or bureaucratic entity may choose to enforce. Full copies of all such regulations are available for perusal at their place of storage, which may not be clearly indicated as such from the exterior, nor may be available in any language understood by you. Full knowledge and understanding of all such regulations is required of all residents and visitors at all times.

AND YET, every single place I go it is assumed that I agree to these terms, like them or not. Hmmm…


You guys need to read about UCITA. Google it, but you won’t like what you read.


I actually never read an EULA and I am quite stunned of what they can put in there.

Why don’t they just put another : “By using this software you agree to sell your soul to the devil. Thanks for understanding.”