Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Judge Knocks EULAs Back A Bit

from the not-so-binding-after-all dept

Software "end user license agreements" (EULAs) have received plenty of attention over the years for a variety of problems associated with them. First off, most EULAs are non-negotiable, which has some wondering how valid they can be as a contract. Next EULAs are often used to hide that you've agreed to install spyware or to force you to give the software creator extraordinary rights over your computer. Typically, these EULAs tend to be clear as mud. However, what is clear is that almost no one reads them, despite the fact they basically tell you you don't own the software you thought you purchased. Copyfight has noticed that a recent legal ruling may push back on the power of the EULA, as the judge has made it clear that, despite claims to the contrary in the EULA, buyers of software have certain rights as owners. Many EULAs carefully try to make it clear that the buyer isn't the owner, but just the licensee of the software -- but the judge ruled that certain ownership rights should still apply. It's a small step, but it does give software buyers some of the rights they deserve.

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