Wednesday, February 06, 2008

EULA/TOS Confusion

First a definition of terms. EULA stands for "End User License Agreement" and TOS for "Terms of Service". Although it isn't necessary to remember what the acronyms stand for, it is important to read the EULA or TOS when subscribing to or downloading software.

Unfortunately, we do not generally see a EULA like the Best EULA Ever originally posted on the SunbeltBLOG. Instead, the font is generally small and the language is filled with what appears to be more double-talk than something that makes a lot of sense.

More than that, we are faced with that "I accept" or "I do not accept" right at the moment of installing the software we just downloaded. How many people actually stop and read the agreement?

When reading agreements, the language really does sound more as John Dvorak suggested in "The Terms of Service Bugaboo":

"Generally speaking, a software license and various terms-of-service and terms-of-use agreements say the following:

  • Whatever you think we said, or whatever we said, about the product may have nothing to do with reality, and you agree not to expect that it does.

  • No matter what happens, including damage to your equipment or even someone's death, you agree not to blame us even if it is our fault.

  • If we are a Web site and you use it, no matter what bad things happen, it is not our fault.

  • If you contribute anything at all to a site or system, we own it.

  • You will never sue us for anything, ever."

  • Since we are not presented with blank EULA's like the one Alex found and do not have John Dvorak to translate for us, I suggest giving Javacool Software's EULAlyzer:
    "EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases. Discover if the software you're about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, or much much more."
    You won't get legal advice with EULAlyzer. However, you will have a much better idea of what you are agreeing to before installing the software.

    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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