from the smart dept
Ed Felten has come up with a pretty damn good idea. Lots of people are annoyed by impossible to understand end-user-license-agreements and no one ever reads them - which is how sneaky marketing companies can sneak spyware onto your computer and claim it's completely legal. Lots of people have been calling for more reader-friendly EULAs, but Felten suggests, instead, that someone come up with a EULA grading system that will allow the folks who do actually read the EULAs to pick through what the problems are and assign each EULA a simple grade (A-F). Then, the companies that provide good EULAs can even point to the grades to show that their agreements are sound. Of course, there is the risk of people gaming the system or changing their EULAs, but if people are vigilant they can stay on top of these things. Already, people do discuss bad EULAs, but there's no central place for it. This would provide that one place to go to check, and even encourage companies to offer good EULAs in order to promote that fact.