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
    R.P., 9 Jun 2007 @ 7:29am

    Does it matter? it comes down to...

    Ok You've just paid $100 for some software, You have every intention to use it, Accepting the eulas is not a option if you want to use the software. I personally, think they should do something like, "by purchasing this software you agree to...." that that way you dont have to always click that accept button. Or worse, like in open office, they make you scroll all the way down to the bottom before you can accept it.. What a pain. or perhaps, they should at least be FORCED to make 2 documents, 1 like they have now, and the other as a short and to the point, no technical talk, overview of the eula, stating basically what the eula means, what rights it gives you or whatever.. Kinda like your at a closing table for your home, And they give you 40 different pages to initial, what is said 9 times out of 10? "This is just saying that..." and "This means that.." and to finish that statement, its something short and to the point, like, "You cant sue us." "If you dont pay we have the right to take your home, car or whatever" and thats accepted by most rather than reading all the legal stuff. as said before, I also read the short and to the point ones, it only takes a second, where as with the long ones, Jees, it would have to take upwards to 30min to read that ...Stuff... And thats really getting on it too... And when your finished reading it, what good did it do? you couldn't even pronounce half the words.. (lol) much less know what they mean. It all boils down to, Do want whatever it is? if so accept it.

    Especially with software, now once you open the box, most places wont take it back, so you just blew $100 bucks and you cant do a thing with it because you wont accept their stupid eula..

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