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Man Finds $1,000 Prize in EULA

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the read-the-fine-print dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 446

bhtooefr writes "When Doug Heckman was installing a PC Pitstop program, he actually read the EULA. In it, he found a clause stating that he could get financial compensation if he e-mailed PC Pitstop. The result: a $1,000 check, and proof that people don't read EULAs (3,000 people before him didn't notice it). The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs, so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA."

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446 comments

No Kidding (5, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761086)

One of our developers buried some easter eggs in a web-based game, and nobody has claimed them yet after several months.

And the kicker is, players do talk about strange "bugs", even ask us to fix them, but none of them actually goes so far as to discover those eggs. Maybe they will now after reading this post :)

So I gather some of the 3000 users may have read the EULA but dismissed the possibility of real cash prize., just like not everybody entered suparmarket prize draw thinking that they won't be so lucky.

Re:No Kidding (0, Troll)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761143)

I think I found it -- the free Viagra prescripton in the Orgasm Girl game?? ... http://www.2adultflashgames.com/f/f-37.htm

Re:No Kidding (2, Interesting)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761187)

I read EULAs. Usually not when I'm installing something, unless I suspect it may have spyware. I've never found any good easter eggs, just things like being required to upgrade to a new version after n months, being required to grant physical access to my computer on request, and some weird things like not being able to uninstall third party applications on the same partition.

Re:No Kidding (5, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761223)

Hehe, that reminds me, a long long time ago in a country far far away from the present one I was a game writer, and one of the games I worked on (the code bit) was a game called 'FlightDeck'.


Now, flightdeck was the most boring game you could imagine, and one night after a hard days work a couple of guys sat in the place where we worked and decided to liven things up a bit. Every so many thousand games one of the elevators in the carrier would go down, a guy would stand on it, the elevator would go up again, he'd strip on the deck and jump off the ship...


This lead to the most baffling support calls of people that really could literally not believe that they'd just seen what they'd seen, and of course we never let the support guys in on the joke...


to give you an idea of how long ago this was, the atari ST was the best machine you could get for little $, 68 K assembler was the way to go for fast games and the Dire Straits had just released "Brothers in Arms" :)

Re:No Kidding (1)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761217)

Hmmm...

I wonder what kind of Easter Eggs can be hidden in Rock Paper Scissors game (in your sig)...

An hidden 'TNT' option that beats everything maybe? :)

Re:No Kidding (1)

frazzydee (731240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761255)

"So I gather some of the 3000 users may have read the EULA but dismissed the possibility of real cash prize., just like not everybody entered suparmarket prize draw thinking that they won't be so lucky."
I disagree. If they did dismiss the possibility of geting a real cash prize, I'll bet my pickle that they would email anyways...it's very easy to send an email. How long does it take to send a simple email like that...a minute? Those kind of clauses are pretty rare; if someone didn't find that interesting, then they probably didn't really read it at all.

Re:No Kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761346)

" I'll bet my pickle that they would email anyways...it's very easy to send an email"

Yes - you might as well say, "here I am come spam me, I need new rolexes and a bigger member"

Not really the same at all (2, Insightful)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761337)

And the kicker is, players do talk about strange "bugs", even ask us to fix them, but none of them actually goes so far as to discover those eggs. Maybe they will now after reading this post :)

An easter egg is a fair amount different than a prize offering burried deep in an EULA. People generally will find easter eggs 1 of 3 ways:
1) by searching specifically for an easter egg because they think there is one there for some reason
2) completely by accident
3) after being told exactly how to find it by someone else who found it through methods 1, 2 or

Finding a prize in an EULA is a little easier since people really should be reading legal contracts before signing them with the next button. Not very many people are just going to randomly search for easter eggs in software, since that's just a waste of time, and equally few people will investigate bugs fully enough to find an easter egg by mistake.

GIVE ME MONEY (2, Funny)

oliphaunt (124016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761087)

where was that EULA link again?

Re:GIVE ME MONEY (2, Interesting)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761269)

Unfortunately for you, I noticed this clause:

This offer can be withdrawn at any time

Now if PcPitstop gave $1,000 to every user who Slashdots the site without a clause like this...their deficit would eclipse that of the United States Federal government in no time...so figure by now it's withrawn...

fp master (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761088)

i am 1337

BLah FP!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761089)

FP.. suck it Sporks!

Reading every EULA? (4, Funny)

BizidyDizidy (689383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761092)

Don't know if it's worth 1,000.

Re:Reading every EULA? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761115)

modd parent up lol ye

Re:Reading every EULA? (4, Interesting)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761154)

Most of 'em are text files stuck somewhere. Just grep them for phone numbers, email addresses, and if you're feeling clever, mailing addresses. ;)

Re:Reading every EULA? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761264)

Most of 'em are text files stuck somewhere. Just grep them for phone numbers, email addresses, and if you're feeling clever, mailing addresses. ;)

most of them are pretty straightforward and honest: You accept risks, no guarantee implied, we own the software but grant you permission to use, you don't distribute it for Profit!!!.

Are there any particularly egregious examples of an EULA ripping someone off, i.e.

Amubbum nuoth questor ernst boffle gu gromp wordel hur dreft the end user agrees to give up all rights granted them in their constitution, any treaties and united nations codes and must turn over all their assets to us upon demand yuop erunt wik gissop jomp si rothing kellor eth wombat fer dunel lave lithnor ruttle

Re:Reading every EULA? (0, Troll)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761344)

I think the real problem is that the first thing that comes to mind after hearing the words "PC Pitstop" are "what the hell is that?" I read my EULAs... if I had actually installed such software, I would have won the money. Maybe people who make more useful software should start implementing the same scheme.

1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761096)

yipee

FP???? MAYBE LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761097)

first ever?? for gabe and mtn. dew!!! ROFFLE

Er... (5, Insightful)

Avyakata (825132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761100)

That's not going to make people read EULAs...all that will make people do is say, "wow, I wish I had been that guy, what a break!"

Re:Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761138)

That's not going to make people read EULAs.

I'm glad it won't. If people actually read EULAs, they might be enforceable. I think it would be bad for consumers (and the industry) if EULAs were enforceable. Spyware and other such horros should be dislosed in a seporate disclaimer, not barried in an EULA.

Re:Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761179)

The moral of the story is that you should buy lottery tickets. Because someone always eventually wins. Love the logic of EULA writers. Impeccable.

Re:Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761277)

The point wasn't to encourage people to read EULA's, it was to prove that they (almost) never do.

yea let's make society crazy (0, Troll)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761101)

And why don't I just go ahead and memorize every end user agreement, warranty information card, and instruction booklet just to be safe?

Re:yea let's make society crazy (4, Insightful)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761124)

I think you are missing the point. The point they are making here us that even a cursory overview of the EULA will tell you if an application is spyware or not. Or if you will be rendered legally sterilizeable if you install this software.

Think of Rumplestiltskin, without the princess even knowing what her end of the deal is.

Re:yea let's make society crazy (0, Troll)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761160)

Similarly, have you memorized or studied the GPL and BSD license, or do you just have a pretty good idea af what they say?

for your information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761329)

I have the GPL tattooed on my pasty white ass. My GNU/Mantoy reads it to me every time he comes over to satisfy me.

Re:yea let's make society crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761182)

The point they are making here us that even a cursory overview of the EULA will tell you if an application is spyware or not.

How? I've seen many EULAs for legitimate software in which the user agrees to let the software do anything at all to the users's machine. How am I to know whether they will actually use this clause against me?

Re:yea let's make society crazy (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761191)

I think you are missing the point. The point they are making here us that even a cursory overview of the EULA will tell you if an application is spyware or not. Or if you will be rendered legally sterilizeable if you install this software.

I think the point they're making is that people don't read EULA's and in terms of research, the $1K prize was worth it for the PC Pitstop people to demonstrate that they could pretty much do anything they liked and have the user agreeing to all conditions as a precondition to use. The only real outs for the end user are 1) proving the eventual end user agreed (rather than it was all pre-installed stuff) 2) that EULA's hold any real legal weight, which some haven't.

Think of Rumplestiltskin, without the princess even knowing what her end of the deal is.

And yet the princess was pretty venal, expecting to take advantage of the little dude. Ain't no saints in that story.

Re:yea let's make society crazy (2, Funny)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761214)

Think of Rumplestiltskin, without the princess even knowing what her end of the deal is.

And yet the princess was pretty venal, expecting to take advantage of the little dude. Ain't no saints in that story.



That's the point

Re:yea let's make society crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761247)

instead of reading the EULA is actually easier to tell if its spyware from 1) other peoples experience
2) monitoring your own computer to see if its being agressive.

EULAS lie
the bottom line is to check by technical means not legal ones. I have dissassembled several programs and monitor my port connections to see if something is accessing the network. I also spy on the sent packets to determine what is being sent.
If it is spyware /adware I post it in the reviews and send definition files to the spyware blocker people.

Ctrl-F (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761106)

From now on, I'm at least doing Ctrl-F, 1,000

$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761110)

$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs, looking for an Easter Egg?

Mmmm. That's a tough one, but I'll have to pass on the $1,000.

Too many look like that Gator one - pages and pages of gobbledy-gook and mumbo jumbo which ultimately translate to all your base are belong to us.

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761121)

"Too many look like that Gator one - pages and pages of gobbledy-gook and mumbo jumbo which ultimately translate to all your base are belong to us."

True.

However a good rule of thumb is that if you cant understand the EULA, dont agree to it. I mean would you sign somthing you didn't understand?

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761153)

However a good rule of thumb is that if you cant understand the EULA, dont agree to it. I mean would you sign somthing you didn't understand?

Like pretty much everyone else, if I took the time to read them all the way through and understand them then I wouldn't have time to use the product.

The only long documents I make sure I read and understand are the ones doctors give me before performing some test, like MRI or such. Hate to think I may have a staple or something and have one of those things turn my guts to hamburger because I didn't take time to understand fully the procedure and it's risks. Besides, you usually have lots of extra time in a waiting room, assuming you didn't arrive via Emergency Entrance.

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761236)

>I mean would you sign somthing you didn't understand?

completely different - contracts have law behind them. EULA's don't convincingly have the law behind them. in fact, the only court case I know of was a company arguing they were meaningless since "no one reads them anyway", because one of their customers used it against them (search /. for the story if you like)

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (5, Interesting)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761313)

I mean would you sign somthing you didn't understand?

Interestingly, in 2002 the ER staff were shocked when I insisted on reading the consent for surgery form before signing it. Most people don't read things that are put in front of them that they're told is standard and must be signed.

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (3, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761177)

That's just it, TFA points out how it's _not_ just a bunch of gobbledy-gook and mumbo jumbo. To demonstrate, it gives the first paragraph from GAIM's EULA, seen here:

"GAIN Publishing offers some of the most popular software available on the Internet free of charge ("GAIN-Supported Software") in exchange for your agreement to also install GAIN AdServer software ("GAIN"), which will display Pop-Up, Pop-Under, and other types of ads on your computer based on the information we collect as stated in this Privacy Statement. We refer to consumers who have GAIN on their system as 'Subscribers.' "

Re:$1,000 for reading all the way through EULAs? (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761322)

To demonstrate, it gives the first paragraph from GAIM's EULA, seen here: "which will display Pop-Up, Pop-Under, and other types of ads on your computer based on the information we collect as stated in this Privacy Statement."

Which is why, EULA's aside, I don't install anything I don't understand. I try to keep a minimum of apps on my computer, uninstall what I'm not using and limit my internet connection time. Also helpful is a firewall that watches for any traffic, so I may be aware that something is gathering information (he who harvests my information, harvests trash) and trying to send it out.

Cereal Port (5, Funny)

tiktok (147569) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761119)

I'm still waiting for my scale model replica Herbie The Love Bug that I was supposed to receive after mailing in 15 Cheerios box tops in 1974.

Shouldn't have 'em (1)

glenebob (414078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761123)

The only thing this proves is that the world should not have to be burdened with crap like EULA's.

I read the MicroShaft EULA once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761130)

You know what it said?

Congradulations, you now have a small shaft.

Awesome (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761135)

This is great, but EULAs are still way to long to read. Maybe if they made them like 2 paragraphs and included a summary above them, more people would read them.

Re:Awesome (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761261)

Maybe if they made them like 2 paragraphs and included a summary above them, more people would read them.

for that to work it would have to have a "reply to this" button.
even then, you'd get lots of "I didn't RTF EULA, _but_..." replies.

Chances are... (2, Informative)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761136)

... we, the slashdotting community, will not be receiving an award for burning down their server. :(

After discovering the nastiness of the kazaa family back in the day, i've been much more careful about reading the EULAs - plenty of "iffy" programs have not been installed on my Windows machines because of the trash found in so many EULAs that apparently no one reads anymore! (or did they ever?)

'cept our newly enriched friend ... what's his name and email again? i'm his cousin ... and stuff.

Its like on the highway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761142)

If you go too fast, you miss the money...

Yeah Right! (5, Informative)

md17 (68506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761146)


so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA

Because all spyware apps include a EULA with "THIS IS SPYWARE" in big bold letters? People don't read EULA's because they are legal fluff and mean nothing to the average reader. I personally would like to see a standard, simple format for EULA's like credit card companies do with rate disclosures. Otherwise most users have no idea what they have just agreed to.

Re:Yeah Right! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761251)

Actually, people don't read EULAs because the average person lacks the common sense to go "there's a catch" when meeting a free lunch. Because really, products that need EULAfication of major drawbacks are catching the eye with their "obvious" advantages. I personally don't think people should read every EULA. But I do think they should question free lunches. Then again, crooks always got rich, be it by real life scams, or EULAs.

Standardization of EULAs ? You mean like:

1. TYPE A EULA. Product made by company with a capital of over $$$. (real legalese, Microsoft as an example)
2. TYPE B EULA. Product made by company with a capital under $$$. (pseudolegalese due to 1. company overstretching to cover market or 2. company embellishing stuff to aim higher)
3. TYPE C EULA. Product made by small company, hungry for fast money and betting on user ignorance.

Let's get real. Maybe most companies would be able to respect the same conditions, but definitely they won't be able to respect the same terms. So much for the standards. I mean unless you're really ok with the Peoples' Bank of Burundi offering you the same form to fill as the Bank of America.

EULAs for marketing! (1)

telemonster (605238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761149)

Now companies can bury advertisements for other products and use creative writing that makes it sound like there could be reward by reading the EULA.

A standard set of EULAs (5, Interesting)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761155)

Nobody needs to read a GPL license more than once; why can't we have standard comercial agreements? What we need is a standard set of EULAs for different types of software with coded variations ("basic closed source EULA with XXX clause").

Standard EULA (1)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761230)

It would be like granting anyone interested the right to buttrape the user (hereafter THE LICENSEE) with a cactus.

It would be 725 pages long to cover every possible scenario.

It would not be legally binding anywhere except maybe in USA. In Finland, at least, EULAs and other forms of shrink-wrap-licenses are ballast. They are not legally binding as they are not contracts.

Re:A standard set of EULAs (1)

GQuon (643387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761234)

That's a good idea. But it's something that benefits the customer instead of the lawyers, so I don't think so.

At least each company usually stay with one licence, so those who only use programs from one vendor would have less EULAs to read.

AFD copyright [dietmar-knoll.de] does this for closed source freeware and shareware.

Of course, in most jurisdictions the EULAs are meaningless drivel that neither add to or remove rights from the customer, since law regulates everything there. They really just would need a few lines saying "This is owned by X, ©,® we have legal rights, look it up in Z and Y legal code. No warranties."

Re:A standard set of EULAs (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761246)

Big companies have a staff of lawyers hired on full-time. Lawyers want to keep their job and prove they're useful. Thus, every time a new version of the product comes out, they must also generate a new version of the EULA.

Re:A standard set of EULAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761280)

Or you could have a centralized EULA summary website. Each license only needs to be read ONCE by ONE person who then puts the proper checkmarks in a stardardized form (This EULA says that... (1) the software can stop working at a given date (2) the software phones home (3) etc...) Then as a user, you go to the site to learn the gist of the 17 page EULA of the software you plan to buy.

The fact that such a website doesn't exist is probably an indication of people's belief that EULAs are a joke (or at most a literary competition among PHBs).

Of all the bad luck ... (5, Funny)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761159)

I read my Win2000 SP4 EULA and found out that I owe THEM $1000. Those jerks still haven't cashed my check, either.

Re:Of all the bad luck ... (5, Funny)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761231)

Don't worry, windows isn't the only one. I just reinstalled linux and while reading the agreement it turns out I owe some 3rd party $699.

Re:Of all the bad luck ... (5, Funny)

swerk (675797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761331)

My favorite agreements (not quite EULA's, most of them, but similar) are on websites. Most of the time they just use a textarea as a poor man's iframe to hold the agreement's text, and you must click the "I accept" submit button to continue. Nearly every one of these i have encountered (Verisign does this for sure, if you want to try it out) does not lock the textarea. So, I erase all the crap that's in there and replace it with:

Company XYZ hereby agrees to pay me $1,000,000.

Now that's a contract I can agree to!

Difficult (2, Interesting)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761165)

A lot of EULA's are difficult to understand, a lot of technical/computer language, and not to forget legal/lawyer stuff.

Knowing so many open source lovers (like myself) are here on slashdot, how many of you have read the GNU GPL?

I had trouble understanding it all, but English is not my primary language...

Re:Difficult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761239)

I've read the GPL and I have a decent handle on the language...and I'm still confused by it. From what I know, it goes along the lines of:

* Code comes with the program and both are as is and whoever wrote it ain't liable if it borks your stuff.

* You have the right to play with the code all you want BUT if you redistribute the program, you gotta have the code available as GPL. (unlike BSD, for example, where you can "steal" the code and not give back any improvements)

* You can charge enough money for the cost of collecting/burning/shipping the media.

Not inherently spelled out but...there's nothing stopping you from charging for services related to the code -- like installing, maintaining, supporting, etc.

Re:Difficult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761272)

I agree, all licenses sound like some lawyer crap. But they must sound like that, otherwise some smartass could figure a way around them.

I have no problem with EULAs sounding like crap, but they at least could provide us, mortals, with some text we actually understand. I love the way Creative Commons license does this. Check out their site -> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/ [creativecommons.org].
If you just want to install it and orget about it you only need to read the "You are free to" and "Under the following conditions" statements. Of course if you plan to mess with the code or use it to it's max, you might want to read the whole text.

And btw, to answer your question - yes, I've read the GPL several times now and still don't get it completely. Whenever I notice a license like that (that I don't know fully) I try to search if anyone has written a short "what you can", "what you can't" article. Thats easy with the BSD license, because it only says "do what you want, we don't give a shit" :)

No even reads.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761173)

0 rated comments...if you find this comment I will give you $1000...email me at pater@slashdot.org :)

I read EULAs (1)

GQuon (643387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761184)

I read EULAs too.
Nowadays I usually just skim really fast through them though, since many are so similar in structure.

I know they aren't enforceable, at least where I live. However, if I'm requested to use a product from Microsoft - yes, work dictates - I make sure to read every clause of the EULA, privacy policy, etc. If I find some crazy clause I can use it as a good legal argument for not using the program. And I don't want to be semi-legally bound to perform in a naked marriachi band outside Bill Gates' home. Even if it IS for charity.

Don't read EULAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761188)

Don't bother reading them. It's a tremendous waste of time and they're in a language only professionals can understand anyway.

The obvious solution to the EULA problem is to never agree to one, ever. If you use only Free Software you never have to agree to one because a free software licence is never a licence to use.

Nice "parable", but no great utility (5, Insightful)

rkmath (26375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761190)

So this is the latest variant of the old fable (big boulder in the middle of the road, everyone walks around it, the chap who finally pushes it aside finds the treasure underneath). But really - nice as the story is, is it going to make any change to how people treat an EULA? I think not.

People will still not read an EULA because

(a) They know thay not every EULA has a $1000 check buried in it

(b) They still won't understand the real point to reading the EULA - which is understanding exactly what the software claims it will do on your computer.

Unless they get (b), there really is no reason to read an EULA.

Steve Mann's Ouijagree (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761196)

In Steve Mann's award winning paper [eyetap.org] he describes a technique he calls Ouijagree. The next time you are presented with an EULA, grab three nearby people (family members, fellow employees) and have them gentle place their fingers on the mouse. Add your own fingers and then call upon the spirits to agree to the EULA. Watch! as the mouse slowly glides from its current position, possibily spelling out the names of lost loved ones, as it approaches the I Agree button. Should it linger over the button too long, feel free to click yourself as the spirits have made their intention clear. Now it is not you who has agreed to that EULA, it's your long dead great grandfather, who came from beyond the grave to take away your legal responsibility.

What is the point (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761207)

Well how come reading EULA would prevent users from getting invaded by spyware? Indeed having EULA is just making spyware legal in one sense. Of course no such a vendor, would put 'this will install spyware' in EULA of its program. There're hundreds of ways of telling you'll get the info from usage of computer and send them to somewhere.

Unless you check the codes/traces of an application, you can never be sure if it'll install a spyware or even a spyware itself.

Readership rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761208)

0.033% is pretty low. I'm thinking it will go a bit higher if people start giving away money with their programs, even if "we don't care... we just want to use the damn thing!"

So that's why people don't read the articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761227)

They're too busy reading the EULA of every software they install, and all this time I thought they just didn't care!

nice irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761287)

You didn't read the article did you?

Re:nice irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761335)

you don't come here often, do you?

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761228)

The $1000 checks find EULA!

I don't trust a EULA to tell me it has spyware (3, Interesting)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761250)

From TFA:

"The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs, so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA."

This is even assuming the 'this product includes spyware' statement is even there, encoded in a bunch of legalese. Companies that have spyware in their products are going to hide it as much as is legally possible, and even moreso if they think they can get away with it. This story indicates that they probably CAN get away with it.

Reading ta uela all the way thru ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761259)

Reading a EULA all the way thru ? that's like asking people to read a century(s) old document : It's in a language that uses words that you think you recognise, but, when "experts" are asked, mean something quite different ...

The problem is that a EULA is not *ment* to be understood by the "EU". If it was, it would not have been written by a language only advocates and the like *claim* they understand (but I'm, because of first-hand information, not all that sure about that either).

Even worse : EULA's legal in one country can be (largely) un-lawfull in another. But even when the (soft-)ware is adapted to the language of a country, the EULA remains the same : largely against the country's (the adaptation is done for) laws.

I ask you : is that to tell the "EU" what the can and cannot do, or is it just to put up a "you are not allowed to do anything" -smoke-screen ?

Re:Reading ta uela all the way thru ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761330)

They have to be written like that. Because if you write "this software may not be sold" some smartass laywer may figure out that this does not nessecceraly (spelling?) mean that you can't sell this software together with a comercial software. Meaning someone can take your software bundle it together with a comercial software and market it as if they are selling both, the comercial and the (so called) free software, when in reality you meant to say that it can only be used for noncomercial use and can not be distributed with a comercial software.

Leave all that technical crap to the laywers but give us (END USERS) some small snippet of what it means in simple words.

For fucks sake, it is supposed to be END USERS LICENSE not PRO LAYWERS...

What to do about EULAs (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761265)

I know everyone hates EULAs, but what's the recourse? Would we rather that companies didn't spell out what rights you have in the EULA?

It's not the company's fault. It's a problem of our litigious legal climate that comapnies have to put in print what should be obvious. In a way, companies are doing us a favor by delineating our rights.

Now if only people would actually empower themselves by reading them. They're usually not that complicated.

EULA's should..... (1)

shrewd (830067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761279)

have limits imposed on them such as a word length etc etc, im sure im not the only one who has encountered excessively large and watered down EULA's

As far as I am concerned... (2, Interesting)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761286)

... you can keep the $1000.

EULA's suck. Why should this do anything to change my opinon?

PS. I wonder what would have happened if the corp refused to pay up?

Great, but... (2, Informative)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761292)

Im pretty sure EULAs are not legally binding under the UK Consumer Rights Act (namely the bit that talks about fair legal contracts drawn up buy both parties on equal footing, and also statutory rights) anyone know better?

Personally I think this is a case where the government needs to protect the ignorant and at the same time protect me, because if the idiot masses don't read EULAs and allow their consumer rights to be chipped away, then mine will also be lost.

Throw out the whole system (2, Interesting)

Clyde (150895) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761294)

This things should not be legally binding. Consumers should have a standard, mandated set of rights when purchasing software and other products. EULAs only exist for the benefit of companies that don't tend to give a shit about the interests of their customers (spyware as the perfect example, microsoft as another).

Only took 3000 users? (4, Funny)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761301)

Man check out what I discovered in the GPL after reading it closely.

Version 2, June 1991

Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Preamble

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.

SEND EMAIL TO rms@gnu.org to claim a million dollars and a portion of my beard.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.

HEY YOU! Want free ci41i5? Email linus@kernel.org

Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.

Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION

KICK ME
Man the things you can't do with an EULA these days.

Non Personal (2, Insightful)

Deton8 (522248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761311)

I'd just like to point out something about the claim in spyware EULA's which says that you are agreeing for them to capture "non-personally identifiable information" -- while it may be true that the captured web history and form input logs don't literally have your name in them, it's a simple matter for the customer of the spyware marketing service to match up a given capture log with your known identity on one of their web sites, by matching page sequences and/or time stamps, and then from that starting point they then can tell what you *individually* were looking at, searching for, and entering into web forms on every other site you visit, forever.

Imagine if you follow somebody around for months and watch every move they make -- you can learn anything needed to advance whatever agenda you have in mind.

Unfortunately, that $1000 check (5, Funny)

bwcarty (660606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761314)

has small print on the back stating that by endorsing that check, he agreed to switch his long distance carrier to Siberian Porn & Bell, he provided his bank account number to the entire country of Nigeria, and his testicles will be fed to contestants on Fear Factor.

A stunt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761315)

Anyone think this might be a very slick publicity stunt? How many users (of course not /. folks) will want to check out this company's software now? Brand exposure in media and customer downloads... hmmm...

Cut 'n' Paste, baby (5, Funny)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761327)

I'm not convinced that the people who include EULA's in their products even read them. There is clearly a lot of cutting and pasting that goes on. I find lots of bizarre threats about infringement and exclusivity attached to unsupported free products. One Eula had changed the warranty section to read: "by agreeing to this license, you are granted a warranty for a period of zero (0) days.", rather than just change the language to indicate that their was no warranty.

Best one I've seen so far: reading the EULA for a RPG dice rolling program, I find this:

Section 3.a.i: This software is a guitar utility. This is a learning tool.

A dice roller that teaches you to play the guitar? Now that's a feature!

Very good, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11761328)

It seems obvious to me that most software companies don't want you to read their EULA. They make it as difficult as possible to do so, by saving the best bits for last, by having large sections all in caps (likely a requirement for emphasis, but more difficult to read I find), and by having the EULA display windows as small as possible, so that excessive scrolling is necessary.

Copy editor needed (1)

kiltedtaco (213773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761340)

The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs, so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA.

Is this sentence readable to anyone?

Please, proofread what you submit. Cause the slashdot "editors" sure aren't going to do it for you.
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