Stuart A. Briant
September 27, 2009
The End User License Agreement
If you have ready access to your own personal computer you have used an End User License Agreement (EULA). In most cases, those interactions with the EULA are harmless. However, not all EULAs are created equal and there have been many complaints and even a number of lawsuits that point to potential problems with these agreements. For the most part we are happy to have the convenience of having useful programs that are readily available online. We also like the fact that we are getting something for nothing. Again however, the emphasis is on what we are actually getting and what its real costs to you or me are. If you are not already wary of the potential threat some downloads bring or the permissions you are handing to third party providers, take heed. EULAs are serious documents. EULAs distance you from your rights and they are intended to give the owner control of your choices. In this paper, you will learn what the primary characteristics of the EULA are. In addition, you will observe how these techniques were used by several companies through the review of several cases that have used the EULA as a backdoor entry into your life. If you become significantly better informed from the insight offered in this paper, you . will be much more able to take control of your choices. The EULA (End User License Agreement) is a contract between the software developer and a user. By means of this contract it is established that the developer of the software is its actual owner, and that a copy of the software bought from a vendor (or downloaded from the Internet) only licenses it to a user, and does not transmit any intellectual rights whatsoever.
The end user is only allowed to use it as long as certain terms are respected, and is also prohibited from any alterations or uses of the software without the specific consent of its rightful owner, the developer or software company. End User License Agreements can be presented in two forms. One is the shrink wrap license. This type of license is found outside of the packaging of packaged products. The label normally states that tearing-open the package or breaking the seal automatically means that the buyer/user accepts the EULA found inside the package, even before reading it. The other type is the click-wrap/click through license which is available to the user while installing the software. In order to continue the installation of the respective software, the user must check an "I Agree" box (Avengate, 2009).
The most important characteristics of the EULA:
Licensing- this section establishes the rights that the owner of the software wish to grant to the users over this product. Most agreements will make it clear that users do not have any intellectual rights over the software about to be installed. The owner is only licensing it for use according to specified terms, to which the user may or may not agree, at their own discretion. It specifies that if any attempt to reverse-engineer, redistribute, copy, clone, modify or alter the licensed software is strictly prohibited. Warranties - this section contains a Disclaimer of Warranty stating its responsibility should something occur other than as expected, such as damage to a computer or a non-responsive program. The presence of a disclaimer in a legally binding agreement does not necessarily guarantee that the terms of the disclaimer will be recognized and enforced in a legal dispute. There may be other legal considerations that render a disclaimer void either in whole or part. Liability - this section will state the extent to which the company can be held financially responsible for any mishaps that might incur as a result to the use of the software. A Limitation of Liability section will state clearly to what amount (if any) a user is entitled should the software damage the...