Proof That (Almost) No One Reads End User License Agreements

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

John sent this in -- though, there's no date on it, so it's not clear how recent this is (also, it's on the site of the company in question, and it doesn't appear to be published anywhere else as of yet, despite being written by well known columnist Larry Magid). Apparently in an attempt to prove that no one reads end user license agreements (EULAs), anti-spyware firm PC Pitstop buried a note in its own EULA, saying they would give $1,000 to the first person who emailed them at a certain address. It only took four months and over 3,000 downloads before someone noticed it and sent an email (and got the $1,000). While this is an amusing story, it should also serve to show that EULAs shouldn't be valid at all. They're designed specifically to scare people off from reading them. It's hard to see how they can be binding, when they're designed in a way that almost no one will ever read. It's hard to show that users were willing participants in the agreement. So far, when EULAs show up that are simple to read, they actually get attention. Meanwhile, isn't it great to know that the company that has written one of the more misleading and impossible to follow EULAs is now advising the government on privacy issues?

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  1. identicon
    dan, 24 Feb 2005 @ 9:02am

    I disagree...

    Most people don't read paper contracts before
    signing them. Does this mean everything should
    be invalid because people don't read them?
    The EULA and any other agreement is valid because
    its presented to the user in advance. If the user
    fails to read it, it is HIS fault and he should
    pay the price or be bound to it in full.
    No one reads the GPL license, I've installed a dozen
    GPL or GNU products and not once read it. Does
    that mean I can start charging for the Linux source?

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