a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Does Anyone Actually Read Software EULAs?


I don’t have the problem, I don’t have any of that; in fact all my software on all my machines are free. Download from the software companies that produced them. There not hot, there not stolen, just free the way God intended it to be.

In fact, I don’t get any spyware or keyloggers since all this software automaticly downloaded to my machine from a common source complete with the source code, yep, thats right you can read it and see it all for your self, and if you want you can add to it and try to better it. If you better it, people with there machines set up to to download new testing software will check it out and inform you of the related bugs.

If your software has viruses, it simply is not added to these downloads sites call repositories.


  • Free Software
  • Clean
  • Auto-update
  • Search Manager finds-uncompresses-installs-configures software


No more Balls and Chains

Thank you for your time reading this, the only downside that I can think of; is there is a month learning curve.

But if we all started doing this the Major software companies would start to realize that they are just as fragile as the Music industries. If they get to greedy, we might even get smart and make the jump too http://www.debian.org/




the EULA is a boring part of installing programs, but it is necesary to read it, because many times there is crucial info in there


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



US Code Title 17, section 117 states that it is specifically NOT a copyright violation to either make copies incidental to using the software (loading it into memory) or make backup copies.

If you buy a copy of software, you OWN that copy. The copyright holder has some enumerated exclusive rights, but anything else, you can do. And you do buy it. You pay sales tax and everything.

You don’t need a license to run a copy of the software you bought. Therefore you don’t need to agree to the EULA, as it give you no additional rights that you didn’t gain by buying the software. Not agreeing to or violating the EULA terminates it, but does not cancel your ownership of your copy of the software.

I’m not a lawyer, but I can read. It looks like in the USA, EULAs are unenforceable.


Women’s Choir Sings Eerie Version of Sony/BMG EULA

Song available at



This EULA is just a little more to the point than most, saying in two words what many EULAs take several screens to say.



Wow…this material is crazy. I had no idea that they could put some of that stuff in a EULA…and I’m a software developer!

Thanks for linking to the EULA sniffer - I’ll definitely be employing that in the future. And thanks for the heads up!


Then again. Why would you need a liability disclaimer for a piece of information?

Ever seen a cookbook with a liability disclaimer?


I just saw Peter Norvig “Theorizing from Data” talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU8DcBF-qo4 and someone asked if Google would consider a service where small site operators could submit a comment posting and Google would reply with some “spamminess” rating.

I wonder if it’s possible to compute a “how much freedom am I giving up by agreeing to this EULA” score? Maybe it’s possible to correlate EULA’s with legal or other hostile action against users.

For example, whatever it says on a CD or DVD these days would give a score of 1.0, and software you write yourself would be 0.0.


"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."
Legally binding in which countries? I’ve yet to see a licence that can claim to be universally legally binding in any country, the very attempt to legally bind someone under another countries legal system can be ilegal in another country. An agreement made via an EULA in Ireland with a French citizen (for example) is unlikely to enforcable by the Brazillain software company.


To Jasmine: I don’t know where you’re getting your information from (I can probably guess), but the parts of your post that aren’t incorrect are horribly misleading.

Courts have upheld EULAs in the past, but only in one area: copyright violations. The main high-profile case was one in which the user took the database from some consumer product and started reselling it online, when the original product was explicitly labeled “not for commercial use”. That was a flagrant copyright violation with a direct analog in regular retail, and they didn’t even really need the EULA for it.

EULAs cannot override consumer protection laws or fair use - even a signed contract will generally be struck down in court if the contract is found to violate state or federal law. Copyright law is intrinsic anyway, and if you’re concerned about liability, just put in the “no warranty” clause and be done with it. The stuff about criticism, monitoring, reverse-engineering, etc.? Good luck getting that enforced.

Practically, clickwrap licenses are on par with e-mail disclaimers in terms of enforceability (in other words, useless).

If you believe this to be wrong, please feel free to cite one or two CA/SC cases where an EULA has been upheld without a corresponding copyright violation.


Do we (users) have to agree to a license just to run the installer program? If not, then what is to stop us modifying the installer to not require reading of the EULA to install the program?