Sunday, February 20, 2005
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has recently released a pretty good white paper on the dangers of EULAs to consumers. EULAs are a pet peeve of mine, and I hope to write in great length about them in the near future.

EULAs, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, are End User License Agreements. These accompany pretty much every piece of software sold today. Often (almost always) the terms of the EULA are not disclosed to the buyer of the software until after the purchase is made, the CD or DVD is placed into the purchaser's computer, and the software starts to install.

And of course at that point it is unlikely that any consumer is going to return the software, rather most just click through the windows that pop up without reading the terms. If you read the terms, however, you will find very biased - and often - unconscionable provisions that favor the software maker (shocking, I am sure). I personally believe EULAs are not enforceable for the most part, but many believe they are enforceable and cite to some case law out there that seemingly supports that view. For the most part whether EULAs are enforceable is an open issue as most states' courts have not addressed this issue yet.

Try reading the next EULA you see - it is pretty scary what terms you may be deemed to be agreeing to when you use that software....
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I am an attorney in Chicago. Politically speaking, I am an indepedent that tends to lean conservative on fiscal issues and progressive on social issues. I try to remain as unbiased and open-minded as possible. Please email or post any comments, and especially criticisms. If something I say is wrong, or you disagree - let me know about it!



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