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Adobe EULA Demands 7000 Years a Day From Humankind

timothy posted about a year ago | from the just-really-fast-readers dept.

Software 224

oyenamit writes "When was the last time you actually read and understood the EULA before installing a software? Never? You are not in a club of one. Unless you are a legal eagle, it would be almost impossible to fully understand what you are agreeing to. Consider this: The Adobe Flash installer has a EULA that is 3500 words long. Adobe claims that the software is downloaded eight million times a day. If each person takes 10 minutes to read (and understand!) the entire text, they would consume over 1,522 years in just one day. If we put that into man-hours: an 8hr day, 240 working days in a year, that becomes 6944 years in a day. Turn that into a 50-year working life and that's 138 lifetimes a day! The Register deconstructs the text that we all blindly agree to by clicking the 'I have read and understood the...' checkbox." Also, never operate a GPS device in a moving vehicle.

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Half the length of a novelette (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42179149)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_count#In_fiction [wikipedia.org]

OK, so about ten years ago before my kids were old enough to enter into contracts, I simply had them install my software for me, meaning that no one read and understood the EULA. How are these abominations in any way enforceable??

Re:Half the length of a novelette (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179199)

They aren't enforceable.

-- MyLongNickName

Re:Half the length of a novelette (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#42179475)

They aren't enforceable.

Unfortunately, often they are. It's more a matter of "technically, the law can consider them a binding contract", and it often comes down to a judge to decide whether or not it's truly binding.

We've seen several cases here recently where a user clicked through a TOS and clicked "agree" which caused them to waive some rights, which ended up being relevant in court later.

So in cases like these where there's an obvious "bad law" (or precedence) on the books, it usually comes down to who can afford more justice (hire more lawyers) to get the legalities "interpreted" their way determine who wins.

It's a basic problem without a clear-cut solution. Companies need to be able to protect themselves from random people that will abuse the legal system. That's why boxes of q-tips have to say "don't put in your ear". But people need that same protection from companies that also abuse it with thinks like "agree to no class action lawsuit". TOS are double-edged swords, the problem is there's no balance. It's hard to codify "common sense", there's no easy way to draw a good line. It's both a way for people to protect themselves from being taken advantage of, AND a tool to use to take advantage of others.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (2, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#42179851)

I could be wrong(it has happened before) but EULAs have never been tested in court in the European Union. Typically you only get to see the EULA AFTER you have entered a binding contract. And naming the terms of a contract after you have entered it is simply bad faith. When was the last time you got automatically fully refunded when you clicked "I don't agree."
Also if you can demonstrate you didn't understand the terms of a contract it also gets voided. That shouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

Nobody seems too keen to test EULAs in court because they move on dodgy legal terrain.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1)

konohitowa (220547) | about a year ago | (#42179397)

I don't see that they could be. There's no way (AFAIK) for a company to prove who clicked the "OK" button. Certainly there are arguments that could be made about the likelihood that a certain individual did so within a given scenario (for example, Jane buys a new computer and is the only person with access to said computer; the likelihood is that Jane is the one that installed additional software on it and agreed to the EULA). That said, I don't see how they are realistically enforceable in many (most?) circumstances. Anyway, having someone that is completely anonymous to one of the parties of the contract bind the contract buy anonymously clicking a button seems to be a rather weak contract.

Additionally, the contract as it is submitted to me is inherently non-negotiable. So if I were to go into the EULA text and redline certain features that I don't agree to and then click OK, I've agreed to a different set of circumstances but Adobe (in this case) would then have to have the ability to confirm my agreement. That doesn't happen. So I would think the contract is still in limbo at that point. In the meantime, they've given me access to the software per my modified contract. That seems like implicit agreement. To be honest, I've never tried this so I'm unaware as to whether Adobe does an integrity check of the EULA during the process.

Any IAMA contract lawyers out there that could confiirm or tear apart any/all of my reasoning?

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#42179879)

As much as I hate EULAs and think they shouldn't exist, your reasoning is specious. Lets assume for a minute that a EULA is a valid contract. If so, they're offering you the software in exchange for agreeing to the contract. They have no legal obligation to allow you to negotiate on the contract. So you don't get to red line the contract and still use the software without their approval.

Imagine if you were at my store. I have a price tag on an item for $50. You don't get to yell $10, drop a 10 dollar bill, and run for the exit. Nor do I have to negotiate on price. I set out a deal, you can accept or try to get me to negotiate, but you can't take the goods on your terms and claim I implicitly agreed by not objecting.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1)

Nkwe (604125) | about a year ago | (#42180147)

As much as I hate EULAs and think they shouldn't exist, your reasoning is specious. Lets assume for a minute that a EULA is a valid contract. If so, they're offering you the software in exchange for agreeing to the contract. They have no legal obligation to allow you to negotiate on the contract. So you don't get to red line the contract and still use the software without their approval.

But if you do red line the contract and then click "ok" and subsequently the software operates, the vendor has agreed to your changes. The vendor is using the licensing screen as a legal proxy - they delegate authority to the software to sign and validate the contract. If you sign (click ok) the software works, if you don't sign the software doesn't. If the delegated legal proxy doesn't take into account that you red lined the contract it isn't a very good proxy, but it why would it make it any less legal? I would argue that if the proxy isn't strong enough to withstand changes, it isn't strong enough to enforce the agreement.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1)

konohitowa (220547) | about a year ago | (#42180371)

Don't you think your example is specious? In the case of the product, the exchange requires that I give them $50. If I do so, then they allow me to take the product out of the store. In the case of an EULA, the exchange requires that I a click on a button. If I do so, then they allow me to use the software.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42179401)

A few years ago, my iphone decided to update itunes. A new EULA was presented to me that I had to agree to in order to download any more music or apps. I started to skim it to see if I could spot anything that might explain why they were updating it. Then I saw that it was page one of sixty four on the iphone screen.

I think they've since fixed that with an "e-mail this to me" option, and I could have just not bought that Taylor Swift song right then and there (don't judge me.) Still, 64 pages? In a sane world (which the legal system is not), that massive shit of dense legalese would be clear proof that the EULA was never meant to be read or understood by the user. Just have me press a button agreeing to not sue Apple for anything. It's just as fair and makes just as much sense.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#42179677)

In a sane world (which the legal system is not), that massive shit of dense legalese would be clear proof that the EULA was never meant to be read or understood by the user.

Hmm, how about a legal principle that correlates the value of an object with the size of the EULA. Companies would get 256 bytes to start with, then 1 byte per $10. Any part of the contract after the limit would be null and void.

Standard things like songs, cars, and houses could just provide a link to the relevant law and leave it at that.

I've also thought that a law that discourages companies from claiming rights they don't have would be a good idea.

I think you are onto something here. (5, Funny)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year ago | (#42179435)

I think you are onto something here. Clearly, we have to introduce gripping story-lines into EULAs to make them into a new art form worthy of taking the time to read:

"Adobe products are not sold; rather, copies of Adobe products, including Macromedia branded products, are licensed all the way through the distribution channel to the end user," Samantha said, stripping off her blouse. A voice echoed back to her through the open window on the street below, "UNLESS YOU HAVE ANOTHER AGREEMENT DIRECTLY WITH ADOBE THAT CONTROLS AND ALTERS YOUR USE OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE ADOBE PRODUCTS, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE APPLICABLE LICENSE AGREEMENTS BELOW APPLY TO YOU." She gasped and lunged for the pistol.

___

Re:I think you are onto something here. (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42179575)

The problem with making video format EULAs is they would probably resemble 2G1C or goatse more so than any other video.

Re:I think you are onto something here. (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42179635)

Imagine a goatse of a customer at the door of Adobe's head lawyer, bent over facing away from the door, with a pistol pointing out of ... well, if you've seen goatse you know what the pistol is pointing out of.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179555)

The GPL's pretty long, too.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42179689)

Indeed, it is. However, you only read the GPL, Apache license and BSD liceses ONCE, and use several dozen pieces of software that reuse those licenses.
Adobe's products may change their EULA on every version, so you'd need to re-read them over and over.

Re:Half the length of a novelette (4, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#42179963)

I just remember once reading the EULA of a computer game which told me that the game wasn't licensed for running Nuclear Installations! What Zork really????

And this slashdot article... (4, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#42179175)

If 1000 people each spend 5 minutes reading TFS, skimming the comments, and trolling a little here and there, that's 3.17 days *demanded* PER article! A dozen articles a day, and that's like a zillion DAYS A DAY!

Hyperbole much?

Beginning Phase Two of Evil Plan (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#42179321)

If 1000 people each spend 5 minutes reading TFS, skimming the comments, and trolling a little here and there, that's 3.17 days *demanded* PER article! A dozen articles a day, and that's like a zillion DAYS A DAY!

That's nothing! Have you seen any of my book [slashdot.org] reviews [slashdot.org]? Between Bennett Haselton and myself we're destroying English speaking civilization one inane wall of text at a time. Muahahahaha!

Re:And this slashdot article... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42179341)

Except that slashdot is not a legal requirement for anything. EULAs purport to be.

Re:And this slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179487)

Given that EULAs are a poor man's DRM (the means of discouraging the populace at large from doing Bad Things(TM) with the software in question) and given that those EULAs are ostensibly legally binding, and given that the verbiage within EULAs is legal-speak meant to be read and interpreted by another lawyer, not the average lay individual, no.

Not hyperbole, really. Blindly trusting *lawyers* to do the "right thing" and just write EULAs that don't abnormally abridge rights you expect to have is the height of stupidity. Yet we all do it, or at least most of all of us. OP's point is that if you write a novel of legalese and slap it in to the EULA, you're doing it knowing full-well no one has the time to read it or (generally) the knowledge to necessarily understand the legal ramifications of what might be read. OP is pushing for EULA reform, where plainly worded, short summaries of what is and isn't allowable are included with the legalese. That's reasonable.

and then again how long are US bills and laws? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179179)

and then again how long are US bills and laws?

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179605)

Most? Much shorter than this. Seriously .

Giant bills passing a number/i> of different laws? Yeah, they tend to be longer.

Seriously,

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180143)

Most? Much shorter than this. Seriously.

And they're often not read entirely by the people voting on them. So what hope is there that anybody out there is actually reading a EULA?

Giant bills passing a number of different laws? Yeah, they tend to be longer.

Tangent: This nonsense needs to stop. If something is deserving of being a law/codified in legislation, it should stand on its own. None of this 'Let's tax the Internet, via a defense-centric bill!' bullshit. /rantoff.

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (5, Interesting)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year ago | (#42180167)

My girlfriend showed me her divorce papers. The paperwork determining ownership of their house, belongings, financial obligations, and custody of their children was far shorter than what I was asked to read for an updated EULA on Netflix, so I could simply watch another episode of the IT Crowd...

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179649)

Because that's the exact same thing.

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180035)

exactly

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (1)

Nick Fel (1320709) | about a year ago | (#42179705)

But you're not expected to read them all before becoming a citizen.

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179991)

but as a citizen you are expected to obeyed by them, with varying consequences

Re:and then again how long are US bills and laws? (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about a year ago | (#42180137)

I guess there is Cheek v. United states [wikipedia.org]:

The Court held that an actual good-faith belief that one is not violating the tax law, based on a misunderstanding caused by the complexity of the tax law, negates willfulness, even if that belief is irrational or unreasonable.

EULA's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179193)

...are complete bullshit and always will be.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179217)

Could not a EULA be gotten out of simply by presenting this fact? That companies literally expect you to perform the impossible in order to use their product, so anything listed would be null and void?

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179273)

Or at the very least, they should force advertisers to list all limitations in their ads, in addition to benefits of their products.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year ago | (#42179431)

What's "impossible" about eight million people each spending ten minutes at a pointless exercise?

There are plenty of reasons to disregard EULAs. "It's literally impossible to read it" is not one of them.

Man-years or people-years, not just years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179259)

Get your units right!

Worthless stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179297)

Stop acting like each person can't use the same minutes in a day.

Now consider the time wasted on... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year ago | (#42179311)

.....updates, upgrades, caused to learn a different way to do what you already knew how to do, etc......and patches because of......why?

If we billed for the time, to those we buy from that cost us this additional time.... how long would they be in business?

People should start billing at Attorney rates for (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42179365)

People should start billing at Attorney rates for there time reading stuff like this.

Why click without reading? (5, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42179413)

Well, is there any point in reading a EULA or any other online agreement? Seems like every one I've even skimmed has a provision that the agreement can be unilaterally changed -- by the company, not the consumer -- at any time simply by posting a new version somewhere. It's the consumer's responsibility, according to the agreement, to periodically check back and diff the two versions to see if there's something added/deleted/changed. So you might as well click, because even if you are OK with the terms, they can change at any time. Read it or not, the agreement you virtually signed today can be something different tomorrow. The one you read is only valid for the time it takes you to read it.

Re:Why click without reading? (1)

xtal (49134) | about a year ago | (#42179753)

Canadian law actually considers this. IANAL, but I think they use a "reasonable person" test, e.g., you are bound to what a "reasonable person" would.

Of course, the judge gets to decide what that means, but I think it's well established nobody reads the things.

Re:Why click without reading? (3, Informative)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#42179785)

Microsoft convinced me they do NOT want me to read their EULA!

I was upgrading online and decided to read the EULA. I read and read and read and finally they disconnected me from the upgrade window for lack of activity.

Don't think I got half way through the EULA, let alone understanding what I read or its implications.

And Microsoft no doubt wonders why I distrust them. They certainly distrust me. This dooms companies

Re:Why click without reading? (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year ago | (#42180451)

My favorite is clicking "agree" to the blank Steam agreement popup when installing a game. It takes a couple of seconds to load so I always "agree" to.... agree

Re:Why click without reading? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#42179821)

True, but if the terms are unacceptable to you at the time you install the software, unchecking the "I agree" box is your last chance to bail. Some of these "agreements" are more odious than others.

Re:Why click without reading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180281)

I have a Barnes & Noble Nook ebook reader. It came with a "Terms & Conditions" (EULA) file which you had to open before you could do anything else with it (at least, that's what it said).

It also came with a "Quick Start Guide" of 17 pages.

And a detailed guide of 101 pages.

The "Terms & Conditions" file is 140 pages.

I think that is a contender for a record length EULA. I only read the first page, and don't remember a word of it.

Maybe You Are Too Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179423)

Perhaps you are too stupid. I'm no lawyer, but I have no problem reading 3,500 words(OMFG!) and understanding that the EULA contractually obligates me to take it in the ass.

For the record, you don't have to use the software.

There's no doubt EULAs and their excessively complex legalese SUCK! But, it seems like you are intentionally being stupid.

Fascinating (3, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42179429)

So, a small number multiplied by a big number results in an even bigger number. Incredible!

that's 138 lifetimes a day!

Er, right. Is that a lot? It could have been anything and I would have failed to be surprised, since I had no prior impressions on the subject. Telling us that a human's blood vessels would stretch to the moon and back (or whatever it really is) is interesting and surprising because we know how big a space they're usually crammed into. This is just numbers.

Re:Fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179767)

I heard a story, not sure if it is true, but Steve Job, a long time ago, once told an engineer if he improve the boot time of computer by 5 seconds he would save a life every year.

The last time? Turbo Pascal for the Mac, 1986-ish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179477)

OK, maybe not THAT far back, but the EULA was about 1 printed page in a manual the size of a modern several-hundred-page technical book.

The EULA's summary read something like this:

"Treat this software as you would a book, except oh by the way you can make backup copies."

The software was not copy-protected.

If I recall, this is what the manual's cover looked like:
http://www.amazon.com/Turbo-Pascal-Mac-reference-manual/dp/0875241549

It could be worse (3, Funny)

Revotron (1115029) | about a year ago | (#42179499)

Everybody could take the time to read all of the inane rambling bullshit that timothy clutters the front page with. Then we'd really be wasting time.

In other news, if you buy a $1 candy bar every Sunday, that's $52 a year! But wait, there's more. If everybody in Detroit, MI bought a candy bar every Sunday, that would be $36,742,420 a year! And if they bought THREE candy bars, then OMG! That's $110,227,260 per year! And OH EM GEE, IF THEY PAID 7% SALES TAX THAT WOULD BE $7,715,908.20 IN TAXES A YEAR FROM CANDY BARS!

ERMAHGERD, NERMBERS!

Re:It could be worse (2)

sp332 (781207) | about a year ago | (#42179695)

But you're not legally liable to buy a Snickers bar, whereas you are legally bound to follow the terms of the EULA. It's not optional.

Re:It could be worse (1)

Revotron (1115029) | about a year ago | (#42179735)

You're not legally bound to follow the terms of the EULA unless you accept it and use the software, and by extension, the license it comes with. You can reject the EULA after reading it and uninstall the software, or just not download it in the first place, and that's that.

Re:It could be worse (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180063)

Good luck getting your money back if you bought it. That is the real crime here.

Re:It could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180163)

Yes,but the real question is, who pays for software anymore?

Re:It could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180093)

...You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

Insanity should not be respected... (5, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#42179523)

I click, because if I am ever sued over an EULA, I will demand a jury. And demand that the jury read the EULA. I will then provide them an updated EULA before the trial is over. And demand they read that as well. If I feel the jury is still, not convinced of the fact that EULAs should be non-enforceable. I will provide a third update.

If I lose my case, then I know this world is so utterly insane....that what I do doesn't really matter. And I will ensure the publisher of the EULA is eradicated from this insane holo-simulation.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year ago | (#42179667)

Insanity has nothing to do with whether or not you will lose a case. The only thing that matters is if you can afford a better lawyer than the other guy.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#42180241)

Much agreed...

Insanity, factors into, what one does after one loses a crazy case. Do you take...or do you start singing "We're not going to take it!" and suddenly find yourself wearing a V for Vendetta mask.

Just remember, employees are normal people, often who dislike their companies' own policies but have need of a bread check. Don't take vengeance out upon innocents. ;-)

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#42180263)

We also learned from Dotcom that whether or not you can get the feds to bankrupt your opponent out of hiring a good lawyer also has a significant influence on who will win.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (2)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#42179701)

Likewise, another argument. I email every one who send me email, that in order to do so, they are subject to a license agreement in which their very souls become my possession, and all material possessions - and since companies are people too, they are subject as well.

Since Adobe sent me an email after I sent them the license notification. They are now subject to my license terms. Yes, it's stupid. But it's essentially what EULAs do.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42179721)

Indeed - I guess that if your "Jury of peers" have actually ever had to install any Adobe software, you've got a pretty good chance of being in the clear.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#42180257)

Honestly, I think Apple's iTunes is FAR worse than Adobe.

Adobe downloads in seconds - iTunes downloads a 100 times the data. Plus always wants "new" versions of QuickTime and what not.

Re:Insanity should not be respected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180423)

I click, because if I am ever sued over an EULA, I will demand a jury. And demand that the jury read the EULA. I will then provide them an updated EULA before the trial is over. And demand they read that as well.

Being a dick to the jury might not be as clever as you think.

or just assume every EULA contains: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179549)

1) you have no rights to this software, we can revoke use at any time
2) software will compile usage data not only of this program but of anything else done while the program is running.
3) compiled data will contain unique identifiers which can be traced back to an individual user.
4) compiled data will be sent back to us to be analyzed and/or sold to third parties
5) We can modify this document at any time.
6) You have no rights to sue us for any reason. You must agree to the decision of our arbitrator.

Uh... no. (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42179559)

I don't doubt that a good majority of people do simply click the check-box, and ignore the EULA...

The article then goes to use some creative math to imply that it must be virtually impossible to accomplish by assuming it takes 10 minutes to read, multiplying that by 8 million downloads per day, and then converting that to years, saying that it works out to 1522 years

However... this is wrong.

It's bad math. Bad in the sense that it ignored significant figures, and bad as anyone who respects dimensional analysis can affirm.

10 minutes to read the EULA multiplied by 80 million users per day simply equals 80 million user-minutes per day.

The number of minutes per year can be easily calculated by multipying 60 times 24 times 365.25 = 525,960 minutes per year.

If we divide 80,000,000 user-minutes per day by 525,960 minutes per year, the result is in man-years per day, and is roughly 152.1. This figure is a full order of magnitude less than the figure they claimed. It's obvious that they slipped up on a decimal point somewhere.

However... 152.1 man-years is not the same thing as 152.1 years. And since that's still being split across 8 million people, it ends up still coming out to that same old 10 minutes per person. Many of them would simply have to be happening simultaneously, of course.

Again, however, I'm not suggesting that many people actually read the EULA or even that most people read it... only pointing out that the apparent absurdity that it could not reasonably happen is actually a deduction based on a fallacy. 80 million minutes works out to This sounds like a lot... but remember, again... that's split across 8 million people, so each one of them would still only take 10 minutes to read it.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#42179901)

Are you sure you've never got any figures out by a factor of 10? Now give it a 20th read to be sure.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42180013)

It's possible I made a significant figure error myself, as I accused the article of doing, but I'm pretty sure I'm correct. I'm calling them more on the notion for ignoring the fact their long period should have actually been man-years, and not simply years, however... and when you divide that across 8 million people, it's still only 10 minutes per person, which is hardly the mathematical absurdity implied by the article.

Not that I believe that many people actually read the EULA.... I'm just pointing out the fallacy that the article seems to rest its premise on.

Re:Uh... no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180131)

This sounds like a lot... but remember, again... that's split across 8 million people, so each one of them would still only take 10 minutes to read it.

Yes, and what if all those 8 million users would use those 10 minutes to do something else, something productive and helpful to society? I think that's the main point of the story.

A car analogy:
You drive to work but are 10 minutes late due to traffic. No problem, all your colleges are 10 minutes late due to traffic. Still not that big of a deal, it's just 10 minutes for each of them.
Except your boss is just out 10 minutes * number of workers * wage/10 minutes. All those 10 minutes put together become a total that is meaningful and negative for said company.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42180243)

I'm not suggesting that the cumulative figure isn't that large. I am merely pointing out that the article has ignored dimensional analysis, evidently equating man-years per day to actual years per day to suggest it's absurd to think it is even mathematically possible for that many people to read the EULA.

And again, I'm not suggesting that they do... only pointing out the flawed math, and showing that it's actually *highly* possible.

Is such a contract enforceable? (1, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42179571)

An enforceable contract generally includes:
* an exchange
* a meeting of the minds

Is there really an enforceable "meeting of the minds" when you have a long, complex legal document, your buyer is not "sophisticated" enough to presumably know what is in the agreement without reading it, and you, the seller, do not make sure the buyer reads and at least appears to understand the legal document?

There is a reason closing a house or signing a lease on an apartment takes awhile: The buyer typically has to sign or at least initial every page. "Click though" agreements that don't make you "click through" each screen-ful of text (a scroll bar that can be quickly scrolled to the bottom doesn't count) is far, far, from making sure the buyer reads and appears to understand the agreement.

Adobe isn't the only company with long, complex licenses. Many open-source licenses have nuances that even lawyers argue about (particularly regarding the "viral" nature of some licenses).

Re:Is such a contract enforceable? (1)

u38cg (607297) | about a year ago | (#42180251)

EULAs are surprisingly untested in contract law. But in legal systems based on English law, including most of the US, they are probably worth very little - Denning's red hand and all that. It's strongly debateable whether they form part of a contract at all.

Re:Is such a contract enforceable? (2)

aedil (68993) | about a year ago | (#42180399)

There is also the notion that an EULA bears only explicit agreement from one party, which generally isn't enough to call it a true contract in writing. A unilaterally binding agreement is not really a contract in the strictest sense. When combined with the actual act of purchasing, one could try to argue that the entire transaction (that concludes with the agreement to the EULA) constitutes some form of contract, but I doubt that in a legal sense that would be held up as a broad interpretation of the contract concept.

I know of at least one situation where a contractor had a customer sign his agreement that stated that the customer would pay a certain amount for work listed on the agreement. There was a dispute over the work, the agreement was brought into evidence, and rendered invalid as a contract because (1) the customer never got a copy of the agreement he signed, and (2) the agreement did not contain a signature of the contractor or representative.

Slow news day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179573)

Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

Uh... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#42179595)

Adobe EULA Demands 7000 Years a Day From Humankind

No they don't. The last time I checked they didn't, nor has anyone, demanded that "humankind" use Flash to begin with. Even if they did, it's an EULA. You are not forced to read it in order to agree to it. Nor is it enforceable in most places even if you do check the agree button. Even if they did demand that we read it, it's irrelevant. This is less relevant than when a 2 YRO throws a tantrum demanding a new toy. Or me "demanding" everyone on /. must send me $5

Besides, if I want to operate my nuclear facility using Flash I will. And if Adobe comes after me, I will launch a first strike on their lawyers offices using my Flash controlled weapons system that is guided using Flash for aerial navigation.

8 million A DAY? (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#42179627)

8 million a day seems a little absurd.

There are only 7 billion people on the planet, and the vast majority of them don't dwell on the internet.

For those who do, I'd guess that they watch a youtube video once and voila, they don't need to install flash again*.

*Then again, it does seem like adobe patches air, pdf, and flash 600 times/day (for functionally the same bloody software that's been installed for 10 years...), so maybe the math DOES work out.

Re:8 million A DAY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179819)

Not really. It's not just new installs, there are regular updates and you do have to click through the license crap each and every time.

It's like the "app" store junk games claiming to be downloaded a bazzilion times, when most of them are for each little update, bug fix and new level added they do.

i didn't know reading was additive (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year ago | (#42179645)

I dislike EULAs as much as the next guy, but what kind of sensationalist metric is this? If it takes 1 person 10 minutes to read something, it takes a billion people 10 minutes to read it (assuming they all read the same language at the same pace). They can all read it at the same time. It's not like they are all in a line waiting for the previous reader to finish.

it would be far better to say that 1 person is presented with 20 EULAs on a daily basis. at 10 min a piece, what 1 person wants to read that much crap?

Re:i didn't know reading was additive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180381)

I do agree the headline is sensationalistic - that tends to be the nature of headlines - they want to grab your attention. But it's quite common to measure total effort in terms of man-days, or some other appropriate figure.

For me at least, pointing out that the 10 minutes for everyone adds up to 7000 years a day made me think about the sheer waste to humankind that would be involved in the pointless activity of reading the EULA. Of course, hardly anyone actually does that...

Read 350 wpm of lawyer-speak with comperhension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179765)

You've got to be kidding me.

Most people can't read 350wpm of fiction. Lawyer-speak is an order of magnitude more complicated.

Scraping the barrel today, aren't we? (2)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#42179799)

OMG! Imagine how many years have been wasted to like, fucking Atlas Shrugged man.. If everyone who read it took like, 30 hours to read it that'd be like, a million years in wasted man hours. Whaooo...

It reminds me of those anti piracy studies that take some figure out of their ass, multiply it by the number of downloads of Rihanna albums on a few BT trackers and then claims that's what they've lost in revenue this year.

Re:Scraping the barrel today, aren't we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179905)

Well, there's been plenty of otherwise-good lives wasted after reading Atlas Shrugged, but not QUITE for those reasons.

Summary (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42179937)

Would it be possible to make a human-readable short summary of the core idea of the particular EULA, followed by the actual text?

For example: "By accepting these terms, you agree not to disassemble, modify or redistribute this software. It is provided to you as is, without any warranty. For details, the complete end user agreement follows."

Propose a word limit on EULAs (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#42179961)

I propose a word limit on EULAs. Many many many online services have limits on message size, in various scopes.

I say we place one on EULAs and similar legal documents. Limit on total word count, and total time to read count. Since people read at diffrent speeds, I propose the following calculation.

15 min of reading time at 50% percentile reading speed, or no more than 30 min at one standard deviation below the mean.

..."Warning: Do not insert in ear canal!..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42179983)

Every package of Q-Tips contains a warning that, if followed, rendered the product useless for its primary use.

If they want me to read that... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#42180019)

I want a signing bonus!

Re:If they want me to read that... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#42180291)

I will also propose a new licence agreement:

We are God with regards to this product and anything you put into it or it does to or with your system or business. In exchange for this product merely existing, or having existed on your system you wave all rights past, present, and future. By agreeing to this, we own your ass and everything in it. If you sue us, that is fine, we own your bank accounts too.

Why are there so many comments here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42180039)

Did anybody actually RTFEULA?
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