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A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Proposal for Simple EULAs

7-March-2006: I have expanded the idea of an EasyEULA at easyeula.org

Update You know those boring, ugly licenses that you click through before you use new software? Did you know those are legally binding contracts, and that many companies slip in sections that you might not approve of if you actually read it. The most common is that you agree to let companies collect personal information, or install spyware.

To prove that almost nobody reads these End User License Agreements, or EULAs, one company gave $1000 to a man who read the agreement and followed the instructions to receive compensation.

So what do you do? Software makers want the legal protection an EULA provides, and consumers don't want to waste time reading legalese. We clearly need something simpler.

Enter the Easy EULA
What if a non-profit came along with a Creative Commons-style model? You make some easily-recognized symbols for common EULA terms such as "No Warranty" and "collect personal info", all similar (or at least as coherant) as the Creative Commons symbols. It would probably be best to trademark these symbols, so people don't misuse them.

The next step is to make a common, short form for our Easy EULA. Again, I'll use the Commons' as an example.

What I envision is, opening up that new copy of Tiger, seeing the Easy EULA, quickly understanding it, having the option of viewing the full license, clicking "accept" and installing.

Finally, I assume you would have to have some sort of agreement for companies to agree to in order to use the Easy EULA. That way, they are held responsible for making the Easy EULA accurately represent the terms of the full EULA. This is where we hire a lawyer.

So would this work? I'd love to hear thoughts.


At 12:24 AM, Blogger the iPunk said...



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