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CA Court Strikes Blow Against Hidden EULAs

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the eula-be-sorry dept.

The Courts 640

vsprintf writes "Ed Foster's Gripelog has a story on California's ruling against some of our favorite software producers and software retailers. EULAs inside the shrinkwrap are no longer good enough. Retailers with rules against accepting returns of open software could be in for hefty fines or settlements. Finally, a break for the buyer. May this spread quickly to other states."

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soggy frist psot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142601)

by reading this post you agree not to moderate it down. only moderations of +1 insightful will be allowed.

Parent is topical, i.e. hidden EULA's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142638)

Mod up as funny or inciteful [sic].

timothy you ignorant nigger (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142641)

there is no way the parent post is offtopic.

What next? (5, Interesting)

krautcanman (609042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142607)

What's next? Will we have to read and agree to the EULA before we can buy?

Re:What next? (3, Funny)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142675)

In some cases that may not be a bad idea. What if the EULA says "by buying this u sign your left nut away to us to do with as we please.

Re:What next? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142700)

What if the EULA says "by buying this u sign your left nut away to us to do with as we please.

Well hopefully the people at the software company notice where I've added and initialed a change to the EULA which says "If you try to collect my left nut then I am entitled to collect both your nuts and your teenaged daughters."

Re:What next? (4, Interesting)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142676)

What's next? Will we have to read and agree to the EULA before we can buy?

Yes. From the article:

In addition, Symantec, Adobe, and Microsoft agreed to provide EULAs for the applicable software products on their web site and notices on their respective software packaging of the web addresses to such EULAs so consumers can review such EULAs prior to purchase of the software.

Re:What next? (1, Insightful)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142737)

What utter bullshit. They expect us to run to the store, look at the product, run home, read the EULA, then run back to the store to buy it? Yeah, right...

Re:What next? (5, Informative)

cyberlotnet (182742) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142786)

No you moron, they expect you to read the package prior to opening it, SEE the reference to the EULA online. Go online and read it before opening the package..

If you don't agree you can then bring it back and not have any issues because the package is not open.

Re:What next? (3, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142843)


  • What utter bullshit. They expect us to run to the store, look at the product, run home, read the EULA, then run back to the store to buy it? Yeah, right...

Presumably, one could buy the product, see the EULA url through the clear plastic wrap, go home, read the EULA on the internet without opening the package, and then open the package and use it or decide to return it unopened. Although this is somewhat difficult if the software is an OS and there are no other computers available (knoppix to the rescue?).

Alternatively, stores could put out a net connected computer that customers could use to read the EULA.

As for the EULAs being understandable however as another poster hoped, I would hesitate to place even a penny or two on that bet.

Re:What next? (4, Interesting)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142890)

Maybe, but most places I've seen won't even take wrapped packages anymore since it's so easy to rewrap these things. As early as 1991, a friend of mine at the former Babbages stores was ordered to not take returns on wrapped stuff if there was *any* question whatsoever.

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142883)

Good thing I pirate their software then!

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142677)

As long as the contract is negotiable I really don't care.

Ideally (5, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142681)

Well in this case a few things could happen.

1. Companies will make simple consumer readable EULAs.

2. People will sign away all their rights without checking the fine print.
2a Resulting in a raft of stupid consumer protection.
2b Huge public backlash when the companies try to press their rights.

3. Some people will not accept these agreements and the EULA might become a factor on what software you purchase.

Re:What next? (4, Interesting)

Kyn (539206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142711)

What if I'm buying the software as a gift?

How does that help things? /hates EULAs

Re:What next? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142715)

Well, if they wish to make it an actual binding agreement, I would think so.

Re:What next? (1)

krautcanman (609042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142854)

Perhaps a better scheme would be to also shrink-wrap the software CD/DVD jewel cases inside the box. As long as the software is still shrink-wrapped you should be able to return it to a retailer if you didn't like the EULA

not shrinkwrap... (4, Interesting)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142892)

Because a shrinkwrapped jewel case is *way* too easy to reshrinkwrap. Shrinkwrap isn't that hard to come by and all you need to find to make shrinkwrap work is hot air (hairdryer).

Many, many, many years ago I worked for a regional computer retailer (way out of business). They had a roll of shrink plastic and mounted blow dryer. They had nicknamed it the relicenser.

Paper containers with gummed flaps are a much better way of detecting an opened package.

eric

Frys (5, Funny)

Cyberglich (525256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142612)

i can't wait to put this to the test at frys

Re:Frys (5, Funny)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142755)

i can't wait to put this to the test at frys

To you and any other dirty hippy out there: If I am behind you in line and you try to explain this court ruling to a clerk, I WILL KICK YOUR ASS UP AND DOWN EVERY AISLE IN THE STORE.

Re:Frys (4, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142915)

Best.... slashdot username.... ever!!!!

Well... (-1, Troll)

commieboyredux (829367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142621)

Now I can copy CDs and return them! It's like piracy, without all the killing of my 56k!

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142664)

Well, you can certainly buy open source software from a vendor, burn, install it and hand it back asking for your money in exchange.

This is awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142625)

Finally we are seeing some progress with some of these bullshit computer laws.

No it isn't awesome, RTFA... (1, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142744)

All that's happened is that the pigopolists are putting a url on the outside of the box pointing to the full eula on their website. Still the same obnoxious bullshit, just readable if you want to go to the effort.

EULAs are bunk (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142629)

I don't care what they say, I just click ok to use the software. I don't abide by what they say. Its all lawyer talk anyway. In case your computer explodes, we don't want to be held responsible.

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

Darkn3ss (812009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142658)

I completely agree with this. EULA's are just able to hold a user (and then only if they license the product and leave a trail) liable if that copy ends up on the internet, etc. Am I running a pirated copy of software X? Yes, so therefore I am violating the EULA. Now once they get the USB electrocution set working if they find out you're breaking the law with your computer...that's when I'll pay attention to what they say, but until then, it's all talk...and we all know what they say about talk...

Re:EULAs are bunk (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142701)

I never accept EULAs but I always click OK. If they want me to agree to a contract then they can have their lawyers send it to me in the mail. That way I can initial out ridiculous clauses before sending it back to them.

Re:EULAs are bunk (2, Interesting)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142725)

I think a lot of people are more concerned with Microsoft's Trusted Computing Initiative, which, according to GNU advocates, means your computer essentially does not belong to you - that is, they have ultimate say over what code you run and what you do not. EULAs, especially shrink-wrap ones are a conveniant way to slip this in. By opening, say, a brand new computer with TC built in, you would be agreeing to the EULA, therefore signing over your rights to your own machine. This isn't a problem for most consumers, but I think all would, if they knew about it, be very angry at having it shoved down their throats.

As I recall, shrink-wrap EULAs were a key part of the DMCA, so if this is a step towards taking that down, rock on.

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

malchus842 (741252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142794)

While in spirit I agree with you, it appears that the courts believe that shrink-wrap EULA's are enforceable in at least some circumstances.

I've read enough of them to see some pretty outrageous terms, and I'm certain (though I'm not a lawyer) that many of the terms are simply unenforceable. Others are silly. Some actually mean something (ie only installing an OS on one CPU for which it is licensed) and are enforcible.

It's the downright stupid stuff, plus the stuff that gives them way too many rights that don't really belong to them that will get them in trouble. Maybe, just maybe, having to publish the stuff in advance, and allow people to read it in advance will put an end to some of the stupidity.

I wouln't hold my breath, though - major corporations can be pretty dumb at times. :-(

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142805)

I don't care what they say, I just click ok to use the software. I don't abide by what they say. Its all lawyer talk anyway. In case your computer explodes, we don't want to be held responsible.

This is not a troll. "First Sale" doctrine means EULAs are meaningless. The publisher cannot restrict my rights to do whatever I please with the software (copyright not withstanding) after I purchase it. A purchase is not a license.

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142827)

This is why you do not actually purchase teh software.

Just a copy of it so First Sale doctrine does not apply.

Kind of weird hu?

Eula's were invented for large business licenses and this makes sense. Microsoft started using EULA's knowing they were BS for average Joe's but no one challenged the EULA's so it gave them all sorts of legal power.

Re:EULAs are bunk (5, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142896)

This is why you do not actually purchase teh software.

Just a copy of it so First Sale doctrine does not apply.


Here we go again...

Ask Best Buy if it's a sale. (It is.) Ask Fry's if it's a sale. (It is.) Ask a Federal judge if it's a sale. (It is.) If it looks like a sale, it's a sale. You think Best Buy would refuse to sell software to my kid, who, being under eighteen cannot enter into a license agreement?

Legally, there are certain requirements for a contract, which is what a EULA is. Trouble is, EULAs don't meet the criteria. (Must be able to negotiate, must be of legal age, must show proof of acceptance of terms, must actually know who you are entering into an agreement with, etc.) EULA's are totally fiction. How many court cases have there been to seek damages from someone who didn't uphold the EULA? How about zero? Why? Because the publishers know they would lose and that would deflate the perception that these things are meaningful in any way.

Kind of weird, huh?

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142824)

Why is this modded as troll? Most users do exactly the same thing. They don't care, nor do they abide by the insanely limiting EULA's and sometimes just break them because it's easier than not.

I only read EULA's that involve interactions with my personal banking online, credit cards etc. For example, eBay, paypal, my online bank, other internet stores that save your information. Many others do the same.

But EULA's for software? No. I've never even read the GPL, but know enough about it to realize it's one (not the only) of the best things out there for software.

CrazyJim0 has a point. DOn't downmod him because he presents his case in a rough or unprofessional way. Then again this is slashdot. No professionalism here, just craftily and elegantly worded trolls with very few actually insightful comments. /end rant.

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142828)

why is this a troll but 2 comments down (parent thread) same sentiments are insightful?

If I had points, I would invoke some justice!!

Re:EULAs are bunk (1)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142872)

LOL the fact that this post got trolled is funny on its own

I've never understood the shrink wrapping thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142634)

I don't really understand the shrink wrapping law, what if a product is otherwise faulty because the software is buggy or similar? I'm sure (in the UK at least) this could potentially violate other laws regarding things should 'work as described' and similar.

Re:I've never understood the shrink wrapping thing (1)

Fareq (688769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142784)

Part of the EULA inside that box is a disclaimer of all warranties.

Therefore if you agree to the terms, they are not responsible for seeing to it that the software works as advertised, and you have agreed that this is ok.

SHOA UBER ALLES! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142637)

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Hmmm (2, Insightful)

America Balls (816764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142640)

She sounds like an iritating biddy but she makes a good point. Seriously though, how many people actually take back the software because they don't agree with the EULAs? I click 'ok' all the time. I could be agreeing donating my left nut to Microsoft but that doesn't mean I'm going to.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

almostmanda (774265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142706)

Imagine you buy a piece of software and get home and install. Upon reading the EULA (or seeing your firewall freak out), you discover the software is full of spyware, and you can't use it without allowing it to phone home to the parents company with a record of your weblogs. No indication of this on the box whatsoever, it's all in the EULA. I know *I* would want to be able to return this, or better yet, know it ahead of time so I don't have to purchase it.

Hmmm? ; ) (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142738)

I could be agreeing donating my left nut to Microsoft but that doesn't mean I'm going to.

Tell that to this [intriguing.com] guy [intriguing.com] ...

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142743)

Will you give up the right one?

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

wookyhoo (700289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142764)

It's things like giving them permission to check your computer for their software that I couldn't handle.

For example, I signed up for a hotmail account many years ago, before most people had any idea what hotmail actually was. Recently the 30 or 60 days or whatever had elapsed between me actually looking at the my mail there (mail? spam!), and so the account expired. I was given the opportunity to keep my account name, but I had to agree to a Microsoft EULA. So, I actually read it.

Basically, signing it gave Hotmail (and MS) permission to search my computer to make sure the software I was running was "legitimate" or something and then act on this information if they found anything.

Screw that!

Of course they wouldn't actually have been able to *do* that, and I don't run any MS software anyway, but buggered if I'm giving them permission to have a look at some point if they work out a way to do so.

article text (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142642)

In case the server can't keep up:

A Fatal Blow to Shrinkwrap Licensing?

By Ed Foster, Section Columns
Posted on Mon Dec 20th, 2004 at 08:02:57 AM PDT

Having so often been the bearer of bad news from the legal front, I am thrilled to have some good news to report for a change. The old-fashioned shrinkwrap license appears to have suffered from what may well be a mortal wound. Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples have agreed in the settlement of a California lawsuit to change their ways, and you can already see the first results at the software retailer nearest you.

In January 2003, California resident Cathy Baker walked into her local CompUSA store to return copies of Windows XP and Norton AntiVirus she'd purchased there. When trying to install the programs, she had of course been confronted by all the obnoxious terms in the Windows and NAV End User License Agreements. Instead of clicking OK, she took them back to the store for a refund, as the EULAs said she was supposed to do if she refused to accept the terms.

At CompUSA, however, Baker was told the store's policy was that it could not give refunds for software once the customer has opened the package. Even though Baker had no way of seeing the EULAs until after she purchased the products, took them home, opened the package and tried to install the software on her computer, she was now told she could not get her money back even when she rejected the terms. (In a somewhat bizarre twist, after she protested enough, one CompUSA employee told her that they had "secret instructions" from Symantec to provide refunds in such circumstances.) So, like many others before her, Baker was confronted with the classic shrinkwrap license conundrum [gripe2ed.com] : She could only see the terms by opening the box, and opening the box meant she was stuck with it. But Baker did something most others before her had not - she went and got a lawyer.

"When Miss Baker came to us, we felt it was an important case to bring for the benefit of the general public," says Baker's attorney, high tech litigation specialist Ira Rothken [techfirm.com] . "In our research, we found that it hadn't been discussed before - there was no guidance on it in the literature. Here you have a multibillion-dollar industry that is using improper business practices as a consistent policy, in violation of federal and California consumer warranty statutes. As a practical matter, the consumer couldn't review the terms and conditions prior to the sale and couldn't reject them with any certainty they could get all their money back."

After Rothken first filed the lawsuit in February of 2003, ensuing news coverage brought more consumers forward with similar stories of their own. An amended complaint to the case Rothken filed in May of that year added a second plaintiff along with Baker and also included Adobe, Staples and Best Buy as defendants with Microsoft, Symantec and CompUSA. Ultimately the parties entered a mediation process and in April they reached a settlement under which the six defendants had up to 120 days to make the agreed-upon changes to their procedures. The entire settlement along with the amended complaint and exhibits can be read in a PDF file [techfirm.com] on Rothken's website, but it reads in part:

"The Settlement Agreement provides to the General Public of California, amongst other things, the right of consumers to return applicable Symantec, Adobe and Microsoft software for full monetary refunds even if the shrink-wrap has been opened ... In addition, Symantec, Adobe, and Microsoft agreed to provide EULAs for the applicable software products on their web site and notices on their respective software packaging of the web addresses to such EULAs so consumers can review such EULAs prior to purchase of the software." CompUSA, Best Buy and Staples "agreed to provide such EULAS to consumers upon request prior to sale of the above software at their retail stores in California and to provide notices to consumers in such stores to effectuate the above."

There's a lot in this settlement, and I'm going to have more to say about why it's important in the near future. But there have already been changes because of it, and I think there are going to be more. When Baker walked into that CompUSA almost two years ago, there was basically no way for her to see the Windows XP or Norton AntiVirus EULA before she put her money down. Last week, as part of the General Public of California myself, I strolled into my local Staples to see if anything has changed now that these wayward defendants have had their 120 days to shape up. Sure enough, the new packages for Windows XP Home Edition and NAV 2005 direct you to Microsoft and Symantec web pages where those EULAs are posted. In fact, newer packages for Microsoft Office applications also have a URL for those EULAs, even though Office was not formally part of the settlement agreement.

And that's why I think we can expect more changes to come. This settlement isn't going to be just applied in California, it's not going to only be honored by these three software companies, and it's not only going to force brick-and-mortar software retailers to help their customers see terms before they buy. Think about it. If you were a legal advisor for Amazon, Autodesk, Borland, CDW, Circuit City, Intuit, Macromedia, McAfee, Sears, or any number of other companies involved in selling software to consumers, wouldn't you be suggesting they treat this settlement as if it were binding on them as well?

Of course, the right to return opened software and the right to see terms before you buy aren't going to rid us of all the nasty sneakwrap terms overnight. But the first step has been taken. Baker took it two years ago when she walked into a store to demand the rights that we all should have.

--------------------

Hooray? (4, Interesting)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142643)

So I guess this means I get to save a few hundred bucks the next time I buy a PC that "luckily" comes bundled with a $200 copy of Windows XP that I have "purchased" by opening the top of the box?

Re:Hooray? (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142773)

Don't count on it just yet. The article says that the companies will provide copies of the license on the internet to review before you buy and place labels on the outside of the box. So it may just be that your next Dell box has a big nasty looking Surgeon General's warning on it.

Re:Hooray? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142838)

Interesting scenario, but what's to prevent an attorney from adding a few lines of boilerplate to the back of the sales contract/receipt to require acceptance of the EULA for any and all software 'sales'?

In-store EULA (4, Interesting)

Biomech Dragon (177813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142647)

What this probably means is that the EULAs for all the products in the store will be available to be read before you buy the software. (If not on the outside of the box, that being too wordy for most pieces of packaging.) In other words, if you think you might have a problem with what the EULA is going to say, you'd better spend 15 minutes poring over it at Fry's.

Re:In-store EULA (4, Insightful)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142703)

Yup, all it means (from the article) is that the companies are now putting their EULAs on their websites and a sticker or label on the box that says "the EULA is here (insert URL), you may wish to check it before purchasing this product".

Not exactly a vast improvement...

N.

Re:In-store EULA (2, Interesting)

g0at (135364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142818)

That's even worse than having it INSIDE the box. At least the current way, you have a paper copy in hand that you can take into court. A web site can change or vanish at any time.

-ben

Finally! (3, Interesting)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142648)

It's about time. Companies have gotten away with this for a very long time. What if someone buys a box with software and don't agree with the EULA. They can't return the box and they might have to go trough hell to get there money back. It wasn't right and I'm glad the government sees this now. Most likely other states will follow this ruling.

Re:Finally! (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142934)

Easy way to get your money back.

1. Use credit card to buy.
2. Initiate charge-back when they screw you. Just th threat of one might be enough.

Ex Suprnova users rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142649)

Now I won't have to download all my games, I'll just buy them, burn them and then return them for cash. Sweet!

On a related note... (3, Interesting)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142650)

I've purchased a shrinkwrapped software package. It includes an installation program which requires me to accept the EULA to run. Instead, I snoop around on the CD and find the files I need, or otherwise find a way to make use of the software without using the install/eula program(me). I in any way bound by the EULA indirectly, or is my use of the software then only bound by copyright?

If I am EULA free... anyone feel like writing a program that will install Windows from a CD?

Re:On a related note... (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142708)

Most software says on the box that u have to read and agree with the EULA before use so I don't know how well it will fly in court...

Re:On a related note... (3, Insightful)

cambipular (787309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142768)

Unfortuneately, ignorance isn't an excuse that courts generally recognize. The software is copyrighted, and you, the user, are responsible for understanding the license before you USE it. The issue is that before this ruling, customers were deliberately prevented from reading the EULA before they purchased software, then not allowed to return it UNUSED.

Re:On a related note... (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142788)

DMCA says that it's illegal to circumvent copy protection:)

Re:On a related note... (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142800)

You are still bound by copyright law not to install Windows on more than one system.

So writing an install program for Windows is pointless unless of course there are some other irks in the license agreement you do not like.

Re:On a related note... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142902)

Are you sure of that? It seems like copyright law says that you can't distribute copies. If the Windows EULA were non-binding, then is there anything in law that says I can't install it on every computer in my house?

IANAL, so I'm asking this seriously. I can photocopy every book in my house as many times as I want, I believe, but is software inherently different?

Article Text (2, Insightful)

BullfrogJones (572383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142653)

A Fatal Blow to Shrinkwrap Licensing?

By Ed Foster, Section Columns Posted on Mon Dec 20th, 2004 at 08:02:57 AM PDT

Having so often been the bearer of bad news from the legal front, I am thrilled to have some good news to report for a change. The old-fashioned shrinkwrap license appears to have suffered from what may well be a mortal wound. Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples have agreed in the settlement of a California lawsuit to change their ways, and you can already see the first results at the software retailer nearest you.

In January 2003, California resident Cathy Baker walked into her local CompUSA store to return copies of Windows XP and Norton AntiVirus she'd purchased there. When trying to install the programs, she had of course been confronted by all the obnoxious terms in the Windows and NAV End User License Agreements. Instead of clicking OK, she took them back to the store for a refund, as the EULAs said she was supposed to do if she refused to accept the terms.

At CompUSA, however, Baker was told the store's policy was that it could not give refunds for software once the customer has opened the package. Even though Baker had no way of seeing the EULAs until after she purchased the products, took them home, opened the package and tried to install the software on her computer, she was now told she could not get her money back even when she rejected the terms. (In a somewhat bizarre twist, after she protested enough, one CompUSA employee told her that they had "secret instructions" from Symantec to provide refunds in such circumstances.) So, like many others before her, Baker was confronted with the classic shrinkwrap license conundrum: She could only see the terms by opening the box, and opening the box meant she was stuck with it. But Baker did something most others before her had not - she went and got a lawyer.

"When Miss Baker came to us, we felt it was an important case to bring for the benefit of the general public," says Baker's attorney, high tech litigation specialist Ira Rothken. "In our research, we found that it hadn't been discussed before - there was no guidance on it in the literature. Here you have a multibillion-dollar industry that is using improper business practices as a consistent policy, in violation of federal and California consumer warranty statutes. As a practical matter, the consumer couldn't review the terms and conditions prior to the sale and couldn't reject them with any certainty they could get all their money back."

After Rothken first filed the lawsuit in February of 2003, ensuing news coverage brought more consumers forward with similar stories of their own. An amended complaint to the case Rothken filed in May of that year added a second plaintiff along with Baker and also included Adobe, Staples and Best Buy as defendants with Microsoft, Symantec and CompUSA. Ultimately the parties entered a mediation process and in April they reached a settlement under which the six defendants had up to 120 days to make the agreed-upon changes to their procedures. The entire settlement along with the amended complaint and exhibits can be read in a PDF file on Rothken's website, but it reads in part:

"The Settlement Agreement provides to the General Public of California, amongst other things, the right of consumers to return applicable Symantec, Adobe and Microsoft software for full monetary refunds even if the shrink-wrap has been opened ... In addition, Symantec, Adobe, and Microsoft agreed to provide EULAs for the applicable software products on their web site and notices on their respective software packaging of the web addresses to such EULAs so consumers can review such EULAs prior to purchase of the software." CompUSA, Best Buy and Staples "agreed to provide such EULAS to consumers upon request prior to sale of the above software at their retail stores in California and to provide notices to consumers in such stores to effectuate the above."

There's a lot in this settlement, and I'm going to have more to say about why it's important in the near future. But there have already been changes because of it, and I think there are going to be more. When Baker walked into that CompUSA almost two years ago, there was basically no way for her to see the Windows XP or Norton AntiVirus EULA before she put her money down. Last week, as part of the General Public of California myself, I strolled into my local Staples to see if anything has changed now that these wayward defendants have had their 120 days to shape up. Sure enough, the new packages for Windows XP Home Edition and NAV 2005 direct you to Microsoft and Symantec web pages where those EULAs are posted. In fact, newer packages for Microsoft Office applications also have a URL for those EULAs, even though Office was not formally part of the settlement agreement.

And that's why I think we can expect more changes to come. This settlement isn't going to be just applied in California, it's not going to only be honored by these three software companies, and it's not only going to force brick-and-mortar software retailers to help their customers see terms before they buy. Think about it. If you were a legal advisor for Amazon, Autodesk, Borland, CDW, Circuit City, Intuit, Macromedia, McAfee, Sears, or any number of other companies involved in selling software to consumers, wouldn't you be suggesting they treat this settlement as if it were binding on them as well?

Of course, the right to return opened software and the right to see terms before you buy aren't going to rid us of all the nasty sneakwrap terms overnight. But the first step has been taken. Baker took it two years ago when she walked into a store to demand the rights that we all should have.

This might actually be bad... (0, Flamebait)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142656)

Considering that this will most likely lead to an increase in casual pirating, we are also more likely to see an increase in new "copy protection", compatibility problems, and more hassle for users.

Yeah it sure is great...

Mirrored article (2, Informative)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142660)

For those who can't see the article:

Mirrordot Mirror [mirrordot.org]

N.

Re:Mirrored article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142767)

More readable URL:

http://www.gripe2ed.com.nyud.net:8090/scoop/story/ 2004/12/20/8257/4850 [nyud.net]

See http://www.scs.cs.nyu.edu/coral/ [nyu.edu] for information about the Coral peer-to-peer content distribution network.
Use it by just appending ".nyud.net:8090" to the host portion of any URL.

Looks like it's slow already - sorry Ed (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142679)

The text more or less:

Having so often been the bearer of bad news from the legal front, I am thrilled to have some good news to report for a change. The old-fashioned shrinkwrap license appears to have suffered from what may well be a mortal wound. Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples have agreed in the settlement of a California lawsuit to change their ways, and you can already see the first results at the software retailer nearest you.

In January 2003, California resident Cathy Baker walked into her local CompUSA store to return copies of Windows XP and Norton AntiVirus she'd purchased there. When trying to install the programs, she had of course been confronted by all the obnoxious terms in the Windows and NAV End User License Agreements. Instead of clicking OK, she took them back to the store for a refund, as the EULAs said she was supposed to do if she refused to accept the terms.

At CompUSA, however, Baker was told the store's policy was that it could not give refunds for software once the customer has opened the package. Even though Baker had no way of seeing the EULAs until after she purchased the products, took them home, opened the package and tried to install the software on her computer, she was now told she could not get her money back even when she rejected the terms. (In a somewhat bizarre twist, after she protested enough, one CompUSA employee told her that they had "secret instructions" from Symantec to provide refunds in such circumstances.) So, like many others before her, Baker was confronted with the classic shrinkwrap license conundrum: She could only see the terms by opening the box, and opening the box meant she was stuck with it. But Baker did something most others before her had not - she went and got a lawyer.

"When Miss Baker came to us, we felt it was an important case to bring for the benefit of the general public," says Baker's attorney, high tech litigation specialist Ira Rothken. "In our research, we found that it hadn't been discussed before - there was no guidance on it in the literature. Here you have a multibillion-dollar industry that is using improper business practices as a consistent policy, in violation of federal and California consumer warranty statutes. As a practical matter, the consumer couldn't review the terms and conditions prior to the sale and couldn't reject them with any certainty they could get all their money back."

After Rothken first filed the lawsuit in February of 2003, ensuing news coverage brought more consumers forward with similar stories of their own. An amended complaint to the case Rothken filed in May of that year added a second plaintiff along with Baker and also included Adobe, Staples and Best Buy as defendants with Microsoft, Symantec and CompUSA. Ultimately the parties entered a mediation process and in April they reached a settlement under which the six defendants had up to 120 days to make the agreed-upon changes to their procedures. The entire settlement along with the amended complaint and exhibits can be read in a PDF file on Rothken's website, but it reads in part:

"The Settlement Agreement provides to the General Public of California, amongst other things, the right of consumers to return applicable Symantec, Adobe and Microsoft software for full monetary refunds even if the shrink-wrap has been opened ... In addition, Symantec, Adobe, and Microsoft agreed to provide EULAs for the applicable software products on their web site and notices on their respective software packaging of the web addresses to such EULAs so consumers can review such EULAs prior to purchase of the software." CompUSA, Best Buy and Staples "agreed to provide such EULAS to consumers upon request prior to sale of the above software at their retail stores in California and to provide notices to consumers in such stores to effectuate the above."

There's a lot in this settlement, and I'm going to have more to say about why it's important in the near future. But there have already been changes because of it, and I think there are going to be more. When Baker walked into that CompUSA almost two years ago, there was basically no way for her to see the Windows XP or Norton AntiVirus EULA before she put her money down. Last week, as part of the General Public of California myself, I strolled into my local Staples to see if anything has changed now that these wayward defendants have had their 120 days to shape up. Sure enough, the new packages for Windows XP Home Edition and NAV 2005 direct you to Microsoft and Symantec web pages where those EULAs are posted. In fact, newer packages for Microsoft Office applications also have a URL for those EULAs, even though Office was not formally part of the settlement agreement.

And that's why I think we can expect more changes to come. This settlement isn't going to be just applied in California, it's not going to only be honored by these three software companies, and it's not only going to force brick-and-mortar software retailers to help their customers see terms before they buy. Think about it. If you were a legal advisor for Amazon, Autodesk, Borland, CDW, Circuit City, Intuit, Macromedia, McAfee, Sears, or any number of other companies involved in selling software to consumers, wouldn't you be suggesting they treat this settlement as if it were binding on them as well?

Of course, the right to return opened software and the right to see terms before you buy aren't going to rid us of all the nasty sneakwrap terms overnight. But the first step has been taken. Baker took it two years ago when she walked into a store to demand the rights that we all should have.

--------------------

Post your comments about this column below or write me directly at Foster@gripe2ed.com. To receive this column every week in my free e-mail newsletter, please go to my subscription page and follow the instructions to opt-in for the EdFoster mailing list.

She should shop where I do (1)

Post It Now (831323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142680)

A little store called 'The office storage closet'. There's one conviently located in the office I work in.

Good Riddance Shrink Wrapped EULA! (2, Insightful)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142691)

like any of us is going to pick "I Dissagree" AFTER WE HAVE PAID FOR AND TAKEN THE PRODUCT HOME???

It's pretty silly, Hurray for the courts!

Re:Good Riddance Shrink Wrapped EULA! (1)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142792)

like any of us is going to pick "I Dissagree" AFTER WE HAVE PAID FOR AND TAKEN THE PRODUCT HOME???

It's pretty silly, Hurray for the courts!

So there's nothing you won't agree to? That's pretty sad. At least one woman had the principles to refuse. By all means, sign your rights away to your corporate overlords. All I can say is that you should be willing to stand up and fight like a woman for your rights.

URLs are good enough? (1)

lspd (566786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142697)

The article states that the current shrinkwrap scenario is fine as long as they put a URL to the license terms on the box. This is progress, but it's a baby step towards a real solution. Either accept returns or disclose the license prior to purchase.

Re:URLs are good enough? (3, Insightful)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142727)

Either accept returns or disclose the license prior to purchase.

The article says that under the settlement they have to do both.

Just more activist judges (-1, Flamebait)

g0hare (565322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142699)

Unless they do what we want, then they're just "right" /end sarcasm

The Age of Wal-Mart (4, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142714)

I wonder how this will really affect anyone. The last time I was in a Wal-Mart I saw a sign by the service desk that said "Due to copyright laws, we cannot accept returns of opened software or music." I'm no lawyer, but that to me seems like a false statement. There aren't any copyright laws that prohibit merchandise returns. But good luck convincing Wal-Mart otherwise.

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142749)

Take them to small claims court.

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (-1, Flamebait)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142761)

Not a problem in CA. We wise blue staters make laws so that Wal-Marts cannot be opened here. Wouldn't want Wal-Mart going into Inglewood and pushing all those mom and pop bailbondsmen, race track/casinos and obsolete sporting arenas out of business.

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142835)

I was going to mod you down ... but Im gonna do the manly thing and reply.

Walmart *IS* evil, and they deserve to die, and if people dont want them around, thats their choice.

In small community they built *TWO* Super Walmarts. "Main Street" here had gotten very raggedy when the first regular walmart was put in. Now the 6 or 8 grocery stores in town that *ACTUALLY PAY LIVABLE WAGES* will be slowly put out of business. Then the prices at the Super Walmart will skyrocket. Thats what they do.

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142837)

Didn't they open one in the hood in watts or south-central LA?

You would be amazed at what Walmart could do with a little lobbying for more business convient laws.

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142888)

There are most definitely Wal-Marts in California. This has nothing to do with red or blue states. Stop pretending that being a dem is so much better; you're not.

Really has nothing to do with copyright laws (1)

Henry Stern (30869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142881)

WalMart doesn't want to go to the expense of sending the product back to the vendor. As far as I know, they can't resell software and music as new once it's been opened. It's just easier for them to say "It's illegal for you to return this software" than "We don't want to deal with the RMA or take a loss on it."

Re:The Age of Wal-Mart (3, Insightful)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142917)

I live in a Wal-Mart-free country, but what's the issue here? Returning unsuitable merchandise is OK just about everywhere, and any store pretending otherwise hasn't got a legal leg to stand on. They can put up all the in-store signs they like, but that doesn't override my right to a refund.

I return opened-but-not-installed software after refusing to accept the EULA terms, and some spotty Wal-Mart checkout person refuses to give me a refund. I then call his supervisor, and continue until I either get someone who says "OK" or I've spoken to the most senior Wal-Mart person in the store. If I don't get the OK, I get my lawyer and we take it from there.

Yep, I'll be potentially taking on the combined legal might of Wal-Mart, so maybe I should be very very scared. However, in such a clear cut case against such a big corporation, I'd have no trouble finding legal representation that'd be happy to work on a pro bono basis - think of all those class actions against huge tobacco and asbestos companies over the years.

Downsides for me, assuming it goes down this path:
- have to search through phone book for legal rep
- pain of dealing with legal people in general
- time, stress and general mental wear and tear (all claimable as damages *when* I win)
- loss of access to my refundable money while it all gets cleared up

Downsides for Wal-Mart, assuming it goes down this path:
- bad PR (and any legal person working on this on a pro-bono basis would be doing handstands to get this case on TV and in print media. "Big bad corp versus downtrodden individual" still makes press headlines...)
- loss of availability of its people while they're tied up with legal stuff
- possibility of a class action suit emerging
- possibility of more serious charges (racketeering?) being brought after they go down this path beyond a certain point
- possibility of consumer-protection government agency intervention (e.g. ACCC in Australia)

With Wal-Mart presumably being staffed by non-drones at some level of seniority, I'd have to think they'd work out that just giving me the refund I've requested in a timely fashion would be much less painful for them.

returns? (2, Insightful)

mottie (807927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142723)

doesn't this mean that if I lived in california I could go out, buy software, copy the cd, and then take it back?

seems like its an incentive for companies to implement online activations, hardware keys, etc.

Common sense... (4, Insightful)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142729)

...says that EULAs should have to be signed prior to the forking over of the loot. I pick up a box containing software, walk to the shop counter, pay my money and from that point on the software is mine to use as I wish (save for the protections granted by copyright to the seller, and various "fair business" obligations that serve to protect the buyer).

If there's some legalese that I'm supposed to agree to before installing and using the software, then it should be presented to me before I hand over the money.

Intellectual property isn't THAT much different to real property: when I buy a washing machine, I don't take it home, plug it in and then find out that it's illegal to use it to wash blue clothes...

Re:Common sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142846)

A web site where we could read plain language summaries and evaluations of various companies' EULAs would help consumers make informed descisions.

Hidden EULAs (5, Interesting)

OverflowingBitBucket (464177) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142748)

Not only is it ridiculous to attempt to change the terms of sale after sale with hidden EULAs, AFAICT it is generally not legally binding to do so, unless specifically legislated to do so. I seem to recall specific legislature in some state in America, easy mod points to those who know it.

IA-definitely-NAL but in a very-very-light commercial law subject I took at Uni we looked at cases where terms and conditions were displayed inside a carpark (which you can't see unless you purchase the ticket). When something went wrong, the ones trying to enforce the terms and conditions lost their cases quite convincingly.

Morally (and with any luck legally) you shouldn't be obliged to go to the hassle of returning something because it contained a EULA or similar that you didn't know about (or weren't told about) that you disagree with. The transaction of cash for product ended when you handed your money over for the product and got the product in return. You shouldn't have to chase your money back because they chose to alter the deal afterwards. *does best Vader breath*

Of course things may be very little different if you obtained something for free or were presented with the agreement before purchase. A new trick used in car parking is to say it is subject to the terms and conditions, and if you don't agree, you can leave without charge in the first half hour. These were the first car parking terms I ever actually bothered to read, as they may actually stand up in court. I am guessing the GPL is pretty solid too, being a distribution license that gives you rights above what you already have, should you choose to accept it.

Since Slashdot doesn't RTFA... (2, Insightful)

eSims (723865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142759)

here is a comment posted at the bottom of the article that is worth repeating: By request?? (none / 0) (#5) by Anonymous User on Mon Dec 20th, 2004 at 03:56:50 PM PDT

What's with the "by request" crap? I don't want to go into Best Buy and chase down an "associate" every time I want to know about licensing of a product. If the software company lost, and consumers won, how come consumers are running around looking for help?

Post the license stuff right there on the shelf with the software, or better yet, put it on the box in the first darn place. If its so complex that it won't fit with readable fonts, maybe its better to go buy something else.

Good grief, we aren't winning, we are getting punished for objecting....

Re:Since Slashdot doesn't RTFA... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142825)

What's with the "by request" crap?

S.O.P. for the entire legal world.

Ask to see every EULA at the store, every time you come in, and get as many friends of yours to do the same as possible.

Eventually, the GM will just post them next to the software.

Spyware makers next (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142770)

If the EULA's are no longer valid, than spyware can be interpretted as a worm or trojan horse which would make the programmers and companies who write teh software liable for criminal and civil damages.

Ouch. And good for us.

I was under the impression any license agreement was not valid anyway without a notary present for a signature. Clicking a botton can not be interpetted as signing a document. Especially if no lawyer or notary is present.

I think the whole concept of a EULA is bs. MS who started this with average joe consumer knew it too but gave it a shot.

Corporate customers who sign legal agreements is a whole different matter.

Too bad actually.... (1)

MikeyVB (787338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142775)

I was hoping to get one of these companies into court over the validity of their EULA, get one of their guys on the stand, and have him/her sworn in on the stand with a laptop while clicking on "I Agree"

Plain English Campaign (4, Interesting)

Smiffa2001 (823436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142778)

"But Baker did something most others before her had not - she went and got a lawyer."

I mean this is the US right??!? And NO-ONE had gotten a lawyer before...? I thought you guys sued if someone looked at you funny. Or made posts like this... Ooops..

Seriously though, it's a great point but EULA's aren't ever in plain english. I accept that the legalese is to an extent needed due to interpretation worries and the like but you could get the folks at he Plain English Campaign http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/ [plainenglish.co.uk] to turn these damn things into something that we might actually read and understand. EULA's might not be something most of us want/need to 'get by' on a daily basis but it'd certainly increase the chances.

Ying-Yang (2, Interesting)

jedkiwi (825683) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142803)

Although this is great for the prospective buyer who simply doesnt like the EULA, it is also a blow for others. Why? because Adobe, Symantec and microsoft are now going to have to implement greater security measures to keep out piraters.

Or, if they are smart:

They could create a program for these retailers, where they would enter the product's serial number, and it would instantly check if that product had been regestered, hence installed. This would be easy for M$, seeming as how they already keep tracks on each product key issued.

This is not really a good development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142807)

They are still contracts of adhesion. There are really only two ways to avoid those. Either:

a. The buyer is given a chance to negotiate terms; or
b. Consumer protection laws mandate certain terms.

In the US (and elsewhere) the first option is not practical for mass-marketed items.

And in the US, with our repressive corporate-fascist regime, with consumer-friendly politicians like Ralph Nader far from being in a position where his ideas are taken seriously (unlike in the 1960s golden age in the US, when consumer protection laws were actually enacted), the second option isn't realistic, either.

That leaves the only remaining option choosing not to buy, choosing not to respect EULAs, exercising individual marketing power. This trend has been happening for a while on a lot of fronts, hence the rise of Linux etc.

This doesn't sound like a victory. (5, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142834)

It sounds like here the entire issue was not the enforceability of the EULAs, but the idea that you could be presented with this contract and not be given the ability to return it to the store. This is not a victory; this just predicts a situation where persons objecting to terms in EULAs will be universally responded to with well why don't you just take it back to the store.

A victory would be something saying that first sale rights apply to software, just like they do to books, and if you take a piece of software to the front counter of a store and purchase it you just bought a copy of that software, even if the software vendor includes a piece of paper saying that you didn't.

The next step ... (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142845)

... is to forbid the imposition of a new, more restrictive EULA in exchange for obtaining a security update. An update that enhances functionality is different, but the user should not be forced to pay for (either with dollars or with loss of rights) the enhanced functionality to get the security upgrade.

Windows refund for Linux users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142858)

Finally you are entitled to a hefty refund if you want to buy a computer and have been forced to pay for unwanted and illegally bundled Microsoft software: http://www.windowsrefund.net

Why the EULA must be read before the install. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11142868)

Recent experience with a network administrator (albeit a not to swift one) has shown me that you've gotta read that thing first- for every piece of software you install. Nefore the wrap comes off. Long before.

The admin was using AVG anti-virus (the free version) to protect all machines on a network. Never bothered to read the licensing agreement that said specifically that you couldn't install on a network. Claimed to a business manager that it was free. Period.

Needless to say, there was egg on the face of the admin when she found out (was told) that the product wasn't free to use in that manner.

For the sake of all, there should simply be a book at the seller's with all the EULAs placed there for light reading. Don't like the EULA, don't get the product. Easy as pie. I'm not going to take it home, check the EULA on a web site, and then make my decision.

Web sales? Agree to the EULA before you download product. Equally simple.

Not much impact... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142869)

Unfortunately, it looks as if a monumental ruling (at least, in /.'s eye) produces, in the end, nothing more than a disclaimer sticker on the front box.

Sure enough, the new packages for Windows XP Home Edition and NAV 2005 direct you to Microsoft and Symantec web pages where those EULAs are posted.

Perfect. Another warning label. So we went from "Warning: By opening this package, you agree to the following terms of the EULA as explained on the enclosed CD" to, "Warning: By opening this package, you agree to the following terms of the EULA posted at http://www.screwtheconsumer.biz/allyourbasearebelo ngtous.html"

Australia has the ACCC (3, Informative)

CypherOz (570528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142874)

Most software EULAs are not fully legal in .au due to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [accc.gov.au] and associate trade practice law which lets a consumer return goods if faulty or do not work as specified.
Quote:
Under the Act the consumer is entitled to expect to enjoy quiet possession of the goods and to own the goods outright, subject to lawful restrictions made known to the consumer before purchase.

As a consumer, goods that you purchase must:
* be of merchantable quality--goods have to meet a basic level of quality and performance given the price and description of the goods
* be fit for the purpose--goods must do the job you made clear to the supplier you wanted them to do or that are implied from the circumstances in which you purchased the goods
* match the description or sample given to you before purchase, whether through a catalogue, labelling, packaging, on a website or in person.

Remedy or appropriate action

If you believe that one of these conditions or warranties has not been met, you have a choice of possible actions that may be available depending on the circumstances. If you find you have a problem with goods or services, you should stop using the goods and approach the seller or the service provider as soon as possible to explain the fault or problem. You can also explain your preferred remedy to the situation or problem, taking into account that the Act is not designed to protect consumers who are careless or unreasonable in their demands.

You may want to ask the service provider to repeat the service, or pay for the service to be repeated. You may want to ask that the goods be repaired or replaced or pursue a refund. Sellers are not required to provide you with a refund if you have simply changed your mind or you find a similar or the same item more cheaply elsewhere.
Also under .au common law you cannot contract out of negligence. Simply: If you software is faulty, and the vendor knows (or can reasonable know about the fault) and does damage then the vendor is liable.

Welp... (1)

Marthisdil (606679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142909)

Well, now, hopefully companies will include activation cards inside the box that you have to call a number the company provides, speak to a rep, give your info, state that you agree to the license, then you get a reg key. I only wish a lot of software would do this - would keep a lot of idiots from making my job tougher because they don't know crap, or are using pirated software.

hot sh*t (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142912)

video games are free again!! woooooo

uh.. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142913)

CD Keys and the CDs themselves are then sealed seperately, broken software is still non-returnable. Grand victory for the consumer.

A variant on the classic paradox (2, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11142924)

If they allow consumers to return software after it has been opened, the floodgates open up for absolutely HUGE amounts of software piracy... people would buy software, install it (and probably duplicate the CD), then return it claiming they didn't agree with the EULA on install. What's to stop them? Getting rid of EULA's completely?

Ever wonder what happens when an irrestible force meets an immovable object?

I can't wait to see how this pans out.

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