Computer Programs Prove That EULAs Are Unreadable By Humans

from the suggests-there's-a-problem-somewhere dept

No one reads end user license agreements (EULAs). That was shown earlier this year when a company put a note in its EULA that it would pay $1,000 to the first person who asked for it and it took four months for anyone to claim the cash. EULAs are used to make people agree to all sorts of stuff they shouldn't. Many adware companies, for example, hide the details of what their programs do in the EULA -- and afterwards blame you for not properly reading the EULA if you complain about what their software does. There are still some questions about how enforceable EULAs really are -- as there's no ability for someone to negotiate and they're usually indecipherable even for those who do read them. Well, on that last point, it looks like (some) help is on the way. Apparently there's now a software program that will read your EULAs for you and point out the important points you should be aware of. Of course, you have to figure that the sneakier companies out there will just start using this software themselves to "test" their EULAs to make sure their really nasty stuff is still well hidden. Still, it certainly suggests that these documents are problematic if you need a special software program to decipher them for you.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 3:03am

    Proof That We Should Become Less Educated

    Leave impossible tasks to computers -- there is a shortage of uneducated people in South Korea.

    In South Korea, there are no jobs for college graduates and advanced degree holders, so 9 out of 10 of them are lying and claiming to be less educated. Cases abound of college graduates being refused for jobs because they are "too educated".

    People with advanced educations are re-enrolling in vocational schools to improve (?) their job qualifications. A government research panel is now suggesting that the government restrict higher education funding to better serve the economy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    rightnumberone, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 6:22am

    No Subject Given

    It's settled contract law.

    EULA's are not worth the pixels they are written in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Ray Trygstad, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 7:35am

    Re: It's settled contract law.

    Precedents? Solid documentation? Statements like this are pretty meaningless without the citations backing them up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Pete Austin, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 7:42am

    An EULA can be legally binding be careful what you click.

    This is Blizzard vs BnetD. "EULA upheld in DMCA hacker case ... The court upheld the EULA and TOU as enforceable contracts, rejecting various arguments by defendant that a contract was not formed through the click-thru process. Even though the EULAs and TOU were not on the physical packaging for the PC game, the court found that the terms were disclosed before installation to the games and access to were granted, and express assent was obtained through the click-thru process." Silicon Valley Media Law

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Kevin Mesiab, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 11:23am


    EULAlyzer license checker itself has a monstrous EULA!

    For the record, the software isn't very well put together.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Simon, Sep 18th, 2005 @ 12:04pm


    A year ago this was just a visionary article in Wired. I think it is a great business idea, but I wonder how complex the linguistic models in the software are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.