Sunday, February 04, 2007

Shrinkwrap Licenses: An Epidemic Of Lawsuits Waiting To Happen - News by InformationWeek

Shrinkwrap Licenses: An Epidemic Of Lawsuits Waiting To Happen - News by InformationWeek

As many of you know, software makers oftentimes include End User License Agreements (EULA). Potential users need to agree to the terms spelled out in the EULA before the software application can be installed. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people don't bother reading the EULA; instead, people usually scroll down to the "I Agree" portion and proceed to install the software without realizing what they have agreed to. Would you agree to allow the software program to record what other software programs are installed on your computer? Would you agree to allow the software program to remove record your activity on the Internet? Chances are you wouldn't but, by signing off on the EULA, you may very well have done just so!

Like many other people, I am also very intimidated by the wording of EULA's. Almost without exception, they are written in a language which is incomprehensible to average Joe Schmo. You need to be a lawyer to understand the jargon. Well, there is a way to check if an EULA is safe to agree to without having to get law degree. You can use Javacool Software's free EULAlyzer. It is a simple tool which analyzes an EULA searching for key words, such as: third party and/or sponsors. Basically words which are often found in less than reputable EULA's. Don't neglect to check the EULA. It might very well save you from a ton of grief. As I oftentimes say, "A pinch of caution is better than a pound of trouble."

4 comments:

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