An End User Licence Agreement (EULA) is the long legal agreement presented to you before you can use a specific software service. Wikipedia says:
â€œThe enforceability of an EULA depends on several factors, one of them being the court in which the case is heard. Some courts that have addressed the validity of the shrinkwrap license agreements have found some EULAs to be invalidâ€¦ â€¦ No Court has ruled on the validity of EULAs generally; decisions are limited to particular provisions and terms
I suspect that end users rarely read or, and even more rarely, understand the implications of the EULA. This undermines a EULAs validity beyond merely establishing a common-sensical understanding of software use. I have no idea what a common-sensical understanding might be except perhaps privacy of the individuals’ information and the service providers intellectual property. I would value seeing an introduction of readable, understandable, short EULAâ€™s. Eulas that are actually designed to communicate to potential users rather than covering the legal-butt of the service providers.
Given that the software providers MUST know that their users DO NOT READ and most likely DO NOT UNDERSTAND the provided EULA, merely providing a requirement to accept before progressing is INSUFFICIENT safeguard for either the service provider of the user.
A google search on the phrase â€œguidelines for producing understandable EULAsâ€ did not find any such guidelines. In my opinion the software and legal industries are morally obliged to produce short, succinct, clear EULAs otherwise a Nationâ€™s court systems wealthy users will have to pay, through expensive disputes, to establish the precedents that may be limited to nation, state, laws rather than developed for the general good of people who I suspect behaive in a consistent way when dealing with EULAs. Less empowered people will pay through loosing their privacy and rights through lack of awareness of what the service is actually costing them. Recently a friend on facebook invited me to join a group called â€Against Facebook integrity rapeâ€œ. The groupâ€™s point appeared more generic to EULAâ€™s generically, treating facebook as a specific case. The group description says:
Automatically people who join facebook accept a 13-page legalcontract. This contract in short makes ALL your info, pictures and EVERYTHING you do on Facebook their property.
You donâ€™t have to accept this. If enough people empty their photoalbums and only have a protest or nothing as profile photo, then perhaps they will react. Also if enough people join this group and mail Facebook that this slave contract isnâ€™t OK that would help to keep pressure on them.
I chose not to join this group because I object to the groups unwise choise to use of the terms slave and rape to describe Facebookâ€™s EULA agreement. This choice under-emphasizes the extreme negative experience of slavery and rape, the absolute lack of free choice available to slaves, in a EULA people have CHOSEN to publish information that could be used in (EULA detailed) ways that are more akin to the experience of THEFT than RAPE where there is no consent. Understanding how your information, writings, pictures, held by a service will or wont be subject to proliferation, republishing etc is a fundamental civil rights issue that deserves the attention of people equipped to make good decisions on behalf of normal , click and explore rather than read essays, software users.
Why hasnâ€™t it happened already?
Has it happened and I missed it?