Reply To: 15 Jul 17 Do you read they entire EULA?
As HotDawg relates, I think any catch-22 agreement ought to be summarily judged invalid. But if anyone wants to make a precedent court case to establish that, it’s likely going to cost money (if nothing else, court fees, not to mention lawyers’ time).
I always hope that if worse comes to worse, and I needed to go to court to defend myself against something I did against one of these agreements, I could say that the vast majority of the time it’s unreasonable to read every single word in anything to which we’re supposed to abide. For example, who has read (and understood) all the laws by which we’re suppose to abide, from international law all the way down to village ordinances and maybe even homeowners’ association bylaws? I doubt even lawyers have done that.
Honestly, there were three times I really, really regretted not reading agreements. Two were retirement management companies (just because finances are really important) and the other was the real estate contract I signed when buying my house. I haven’t regretted these because of the consequences, only due to the feeling of not having integrity. And I suppose you could say I paid somebody to make sure the real estate contract was OK, but still, it was my signatures, not Kim Paul’s, on that document.
Generally speaking, I have read the ISP agreements, and I basically just hold my nose and say I agree. That’s one of those instances where there is extremely little choice. In this day and age, do you want to forego Internet access? I don’t, and the choices for connection are extremely few, Verizon and Spectrum here. (I subscribe to FiOS, but for years I was a Time Warner Cable sub.)
Let’s take an essential, pivotal EULA, the GNU GPL v2, the license under which GNU/Linux has been published and developed. It’s yawn-inducing, and it’s one of the shorter agreements. Personally, I have written software under the MIT license, which is really only a single page.
I have written an an exposé of a software EULA, that of the ACCESS Company’s agreement if you use their Graffiti IME for Android. It also points out many of the redundancies, as some of these agreements will include language like “you may not use the product to commit illegal acts.” Well, duh…committing illegal acts is…uhhh…illegal in the first place? Yeah, I think so.
I must say, one of the best EULAs I ever read was when I subscribed to A-Z Net’s dialup service. It was maybe two pages, and to distill it down to its essentials, it was, don’t spam, don’t cause problems with other people like flood pinging them, don’t impersonate someone else, play nice. It was short, to the point, and quite reasonable.