Reply To: 15 Jul 17 Do you read they entire EULA?

Home Forums The Poll Discussion 15 Jul 17 Do you read they entire EULA? Reply To: 15 Jul 17 Do you read they entire EULA?


I don’t have to because Linux has no EULA 🙂

First, it helps to remember that copyright and licenses are distinct. One can exist without the other. Copyright restrictions apply automatically to anything that’s copyrightable. A EULA (license) imposes additional restrictions on top of copyright, but like all contracts it’s not automatic and requires consent from each party.

There’s been a lot of court cases about what exactly constitutes consent and what kind of contract terms are legally binding. With EULAs it really is a gray area at this time. Most people accept the company’s (lopsided) interpretation of law, because they have a powerful lawyer team, and you don’t. Still, there are organizations dedicated to helping uphold a consumer friendly interpretation of the law such as the EFF. For example the EFF helped establish that people had a right to reverse-engineer and unlock smart phones they owned.

RChandra, remember the GPL is not a EULA. It’s a distribution license. A EULA is designed to restrict software use. Even if I’m not bound by a EULA, copyright prevents me from redistributing software. The GPL *removes* copyright restrictions, so if you’re redistributing GPL software, you must agree to the terms, but not before. The GPL actually has much better enforceability than a EULA. The law doesn’t say I need a EULA to use software, but copyright prohibits redistribution so a person redistributing open-source software has either agreed to the GPL or they’ve violated copyright law. Eben Moglen said that Microsoft might have violated the GPL for such a reason during the famous IBM v SCO saga.

HotDawg, there have been some court cases about being able to read the terms before agreeing. I can’t think of them right now and have to run, but I’ll try to look them up later.

As far as inserting strange terms just to prove people don’t read them, I believe that has also happened before but again, I’ll have to look it up later.