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
    Rob, 22 Jan 2012 @ 8:52am

    Anyone can press a button

    The EULA is, in my opinion, made to be cumbersome and long and difficult to fully comprehend by the layman. It is designed to NOT be read for the intention of removing your rights as an individual in exchange for something that is worthless.

    I am from Canada and I used to be so proud of our American neighbours because I believed that the American people are very active in their pursuit of freedom. I believed that if anyone would threaten their freedom or way of life, they would be up in arms immediately to quash the attempt. It is written into the 2nd Amendment of their constitution after all with the right to bear arms. A sad thing is happening though, the Americans seem to becoming Canadianized. In Canada our population is quite docile and submissive as we won’t even stand up to the continuous and unrelenting removal of our freedom by our government. Most everyone here accepts what the powers that be tells them, “You can’t beat city hall!” or “You can’t change the system.”
    Early settlers came to this continent to escape the abusive repression of the wealthy land owners in Europe. I sincerely hope that I am wrong that the Americans have changed and are allowing the very thing that brought them to this continent to remove their freedom here.

    Remember, freedom won’t be taken away in one fell swoop. It will slowly be taken away one little piece at a time, generation by generation.

    As for the EULA, at the very least there is at least one law that protects us and that is the “Age of Majority” or the “Age of License”. Anyone can press a button, and if you have children or know of children that come to visit from time to time and they have access to your computer, the EULA is not enforceable. These EULA’s are worthless and shouldn’t be used.

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