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Man Finds $1,000 Prize in EULA 446

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-the-fine-print dept.
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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Man Finds $1,000 Prize in EULA

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  • No Kidding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots (753724) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:10PM (#11761086) Homepage
    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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ayaress (662020)
      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.
      • by jacquesm (154384) <jNO@SPAMww.com> on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:27PM (#11761223) Homepage
        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" :)

        • Can you provide a video?

          That sounds a lot like the FS oral sex scene.
        • Re:No Kidding (Score:3, Interesting)

          On the original Macintosh rom, Don Dxxxxx put an easter egg of a little stick guy running across the screen on the bottom. The kicker was that it only did this randomly only every 1 out of 35635 seconds or something... hard to duplicate what someone saw from the corner of their eye.

          Alas it was taken out of the release ROM.

          This was right after Lisa and Apple /// so Apple management weren't quite as playful as they had been.
        • Re:No Kidding (Score:3, Interesting)

          by johannesg (664142)
          You worked on Flightdeck? Cool! I didn't think it was so boring, keeping a bunch of planes in the air at the same time was pretty difficult.

          You don't suppose a modernized 3D version is possible, do you? ;-)

    • 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? :)
    • 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
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:55PM (#11761426) Homepage Journal
      "One of our developers buried some easter eggs in a web-based game, and nobody has claimed them yet after several months."

      Heh. I buried something like that in an essay I wrote in English Class. I had a teacher that just piled and piled and piled work on us. I was CERTAIN she didn't read through everything. "If you read this far, I owe ya a soda." I don't know which was worse: Being wrong about my teacher not reading my work, or being out 50 cents.
      • by Brandybuck (704397) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @11:42PM (#11762522) Homepage Journal
        That was at school. Try doing that at work in an important document. I did. In my self evaluation, I wrote about how I saved the company CEO from drowning, performed CPR on the vice president, single handedly rallied the stock market around our product, etc. My boss cut and pasted my text into his formal review without ever reading it.

        At the point where he asked me to sign my formal review, I had to confess.
      • by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @11:50PM (#11762599)
        My buddies and I in college had an ongoing gag... anyone who got up and left the vicinity of their computer with a lab report/paper/presentation on the screen had the phrase "I poop too much" inserted somewhere at random.

        Unfortunately, an otherwise excellent paper that I got back had a red pen circle around a certain phrase on the 9th page, with the comment "proofread" written next to it.

  • by oliphaunt (124016) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:10PM (#11761087) Homepage
    where was that EULA link again?
    • Re:GIVE ME MONEY (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tekiegreg (674773) *
      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...
  • by BizidyDizidy (689383) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:11PM (#11761092)
    Don't know if it's worth 1,000.
  • Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Avyakata (825132) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:11PM (#11761100) Homepage Journal
    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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XorNand (517466) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @10:29PM (#11762073)
      Yes, but it's brillant marketing. The company only spent $1000. They've already gotten a link from the main page of Slashdot; what more press are they going to see now? The spyware removal business has gotten pretty competitive and now thousands more geeks know about their product. Kudos to the company for a neat, non-evil marketing idea.
  • Ctrl-F (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:12PM (#11761106)
    From now on, I'm at least doing Ctrl-F, 1,000
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:12PM (#11761110) Homepage Journal
    $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.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:14PM (#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?

      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#11761153) Homepage Journal
        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.

      • >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)
      • 'Nuff said.
      • by temojen (678985) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:37PM (#11761313) Journal
        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.

        • Are you sure they weren't shocked because while you were carefully reading the consent there was a two-foot-high geyser of blood spouting from your belly button?
        • 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.

          In my ER, the staff would be more surprised that you were even educated enough to read the consent for surgery.

          Anyway, the other reply was correct in that they all pretty much say the same thing--basically that you've been informed about the risks (which pretty much always

        • by Sentry21 (8183) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @10:17PM (#11762021) Journal
          IANAL, but from what various law classes have taught me...

          When it's generally accepted that what is being put in front of you is for a specific purpose (i.e. consent for surgery or permission to run a credit check), all you need to ask for is if there's anything in the contract that you need to know. If there's anything that would not be expected (e.g. 'if you die we get your organs'), then they will tell you, and if they don't, it's not enforcable.

          I imagine that if tested in court, EULAs would be considered in the same realm.
          • by espo812 (261758) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @12:04AM (#11762732)
            all you need to ask for is if there's anything in the contract that you need to know.
            IANALE, this certainly isn't legal advice, but I would imagine the suits at any place that deals in contracts/releases like that should have educated the workforce that the proper response to "Is there anything I need to know?" is "Yes. Read the whole thing."
            I imagine that if tested in court, EULAs would be considered in the same realm.
            So you have to call up the software manufacturer and ask "Is there anything I need to know in this EULA?" Might as well read the damn thing while I'm on hold. And they should just say "Yes, read the whole thing."
    • by fimbulvetr (598306) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:21PM (#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.' "
      • 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 i

      • To demonstrate, it gives the first paragraph from GAIM's EULA, seen here:

        Please, please, people, make an effort and reread your post before submitting it.

        My very first thought was: Gaim [sourceforge.net] has an EULA? Oh my god, how long did i sleep last night?

  • Cereal Port (Score:5, Funny)

    by tiktok (147569) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:14PM (#11761119) Homepage
    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.
  • The only thing this proves is that the world should not have to be burdened with crap like EULA's.
  • Chances are... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:16PM (#11761136) Journal
    ... 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.
  • Yeah Right! (Score:5, Informative)

    by md17 (68506) <james@NOspam.jamesward.org> on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:17PM (#11761146) Homepage

    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! (Score:4, Informative)

      by TTMuskrat (629320) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @11:57PM (#11762666)
      I personally would like to see a standard, simple format for EULA's like credit card companies do with rate disclosures.

      I wouldn't use credit cards as a good standard for disclosure. There was an episode of Frontline on PBS called "Secret History of the Credit Card" (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cre dit/ [pbs.org]) and they pointed out the really fine print on those credit cards brochures - things like "a clause that allows the company to change your interest rate (APR) at any time, for any reason, as long as they give you 15 days' notice".

      I think credit card disclosures are just as bad as EULA agreements and that there are more than a few companies that don't want you reading either.
  • 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.
  • by osewa77 (603622) <naijasms@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:18PM (#11761155) Homepage
    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").
    • 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 say
    • Because it would be convinient for the customers?
    • 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.
    • For years no-one bothered to read the license on IP Filter because it looked just like a standard BSD-like license. Then Mr Reed actually stood up and said something like "hey! You can't distribute modified versions of my code!" and the shit hit the fan because people actually bothered to read the license and found out that he had indeed reserved that right to himself. Of course, the result of this debarcle was that IPF was pulled from OpenBSD and those lovely chaps wrote their own IP filter in two weeks
    • 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").

      I was thinking nearly the same thing. What I would like to see is instead of licence agreements, basically provide them with some flexibility in terms of what they can mandate by copyright law. So, for example, a company could say you are only allowed to have the progr

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @09:05PM (#11761492) Homepage Journal
      why can't we have standard comercial agreements?

      Right, and those are called laws. Most of an EULA is already codified in various laws, and everything else is asking you to give up your rights.

      If I buy a telephone at WalMart I don't have to sign an EULA. If I buy a softphone at WalMart they expect me to agree to an EULA. What's the difference?

      If I buy a car, it comes with software in it, but they don't expect me to sign an EULA.

      As far as I can tell, an EULA is saying that Chewbacca lives on Endor.
  • by qw0ntum (831414)
    I'm reinstalling all the programs I own just so I can check their EULA's now.
  • by eck011219 (851729) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:19PM (#11761159)
    I read my Win2000 SP4 EULA and found out that I owe THEM $1000. Those jerks still haven't cashed my check, either.
  • Difficult (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sucker_muts (776572)
    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 (Score:3, Informative)

      by LuSiDe (755770)
      The GPL is not an EULA afaik.

      As you say: reading is one, understanding is two. Often related to each other, but not by definition.

      What if you haven't read (for example) the GPL but understand it well enough to know: 1) the most important implications/rights to your work or the work you're using? 2) the very details? 3) what someone who's a lawyer explained to you in laymen terms? and all this due to translations of license (e.g. done with GPLv2, but not legally binding) or brief explanation in laymen term
    • The lawyer quoted in the article, Parry Aftab [aftab.com], isn't she the infamous Aftab who (was said to have) harassed Katie Jones [slashdot.org] of Katie.com [katie.com]?

      From the article "...if the agreement is incomprehensible, it may be unenforceable, according to Aftab."

      Personally i wouldn't trust Ms. Aftab to sit the right way on a toilet. Let alone give sound legal advice.

      Oh, and down with software patents and Linux rules n all that.
  • 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 Gate
  • by rkmath (26375) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:23PM (#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.
  • by nigham (792777)
    me, and everyone in my team are just going to spend time reading EULAs all day long. Sounds like its more productive than research anyway.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:24PM (#11761196) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:25PM (#11761206)
    Will he read the soul-selling EULA on the back of the $1000 check?
  • Weatherbug from aim for example has no mention its spyware in the EULA. Is htat legal?
  • by antispam_ben (591349) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:30PM (#11761250) Journal
    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.
  • Consider this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HyperChicken (794660) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:30PM (#11761254)
    Sure, it cost them $1,000, but it's going to get their name in the press.
  • 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.

  • by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:34PM (#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... (Score:3, Informative)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:35PM (#11761292) Journal
    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.
  • by Clyde (150895) *
    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).
  • by focitrixilous P (690813) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:35PM (#11761301) Journal
    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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deton8 (522248) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:37PM (#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.
  • by bwcarty (660606) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:37PM (#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.
  • by Spasemunki (63473) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:39PM (#11761327) Homepage
    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!
  • 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.
  • 3000 people before me didn't notice. Cha-ching!
  • a special consideration which may include financial will be awarded to a limited number of authorize licensee to read this section of the license agreement and contact PC Pitstop at consideration@pcpitstop.com. (FoxNote: it should be obvious we shouldn't bombard this email server) This offer can be withdrawn at any time.
  • by IvyMike (178408) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:53PM (#11761408)
    The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs

    This is not a goal I want to be moving towards.

    I mean, I can go to home depot and buy a nail gun and a welding torch without having to read, parse, and agree to any complex and lengthy legal agreement. Why should I have to do this to buy and use software?
  • by egburr (141740) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @08:55PM (#11761425) Homepage
    As the article says, it pays to read the EULA. I may not have received big bucks, but at least I managed to receive what the EULA said I should despite the company's refusal to honor it.

    A few days ago I submitted a story [slashdot.org] about Blizzard not honoring their EULA in full. After much arguing with Blizzard's support staff, I have heard from them today:

    We have been investigating the issues you have raised in connection with our EULA and our Terms of Use. Our legal team is currently in the process of revising our documentation to make the permissions and restrictions more clear for situations such as yours.

    In the meantime, we will provide you with a new standard-edition Authentication Key for World of Warcraft. Please use this key to create a new account for yourself:

    [key deleted]

    Please note that the account associated with the old key that you have will be permanently disabled and rendered unplayable, in order to facilitate the creation of a new account.

    If you are interested in purchasing additional copies of World of Warcraft, we strongly recommend that you not acquire used or opened copies, since similar circumstances may similarly delay or prevent your ability to enjoy the product.

    The really funny part is that they have never asked for the old key, yet somehow they have disabled it. I can't check, because it never worked for me.

  • The time I would've had to spend reading every single EULA, that manufacturers pretended I was agreeing to by installing their software, is worth far more than $1,000.
  • Yeah, but if you IGNORE all the EULAs and DON'T register the apps, you have soon ripped off more than $1K's worth of software - it's a no-brainer really!
  • by defile (1059) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @09:33PM (#11761699) Homepage Journal
    Software companies, feel free to use in your own products. Released into the public domain.

    ----

    YOUR_COMPANY_NAME_HERE ("Company") makes this copy of NAME_OF_YOUR_SOFTWARE_PRODUCT ("Software") available to you ("Licensee") under terms of this End User License Agreement ("EULA"). By installing software you agree to be bound by the terms contained herein.

    LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

    Company makes no guarantee of any kind, and waives all implied warranties including mercantibility and fitness for a particular purpose. Company shall not be held liable for any damage, personal injury, deaths, loss of profits, growth of additional organs, or any other injury or debt suffered by licensee due to any negligence, fraud, or other criminal or civil breach of contract or law committed by company. Licensee will hold company harmless under all circumstances in perpetuity.

    PARTICIPATION IN GAINS

    Company shall participate in the profits, advantages, or other benefits that the licensee experiences as a result of installing, using, or otherwise having anything to do with software no matter how remote or mundane. Company reserves the right to inspect the records of licensees business, premises, or person at any time for any reason to determine if it is entitled to a share of licensee's gains.

    GRANTING OF ALL RIGHTS

    Licensee gives software and company the right to do do anything it wants to your property or person for any reason. See limitation of liability and participation in gains for more information.

    SEVERABILITY

    Should a court of any kind find any part of this agreement unenforceable, the remainder of the agreement shall still have full force and effect.

    IMMUNITY FROM LAW

    No court shall have the power to enforce any of these provisions against the company, but shall have unlimited power to enforce any provision against the licensee. Licensee accepts the jurisdiction of any court.

    RECOVERY OF FEES

    Licensee must reimburse company for all enforcement fees incurred as a result of any action, in addition to paying a $100,000,000 penalty to the company, whether or not its action is justified.

    GOOD FAITH AND DUE CONSIDERATION

    Licensee declines any due consideration in accepting this EULA. Licensee accepts this agreement in good faith and verifies that they have read it and understood it in its entirety even if they just scrolled to the end and clicked OK without so much as glancing at it.

    RESTRICTIONS ON REDISTRIBUTION

    Licensee may not redistribute software in any way. Licensee may not format shift or space shift this software. Licensee waives all fair use rights, including the right to make a backup copy. Backup copies may be purchased from company for a (large) fee.

    RESTRICTIONS ON USE

    Licensee can only use the software for its intended purposes. We'll let you know what its intended purpose is when we catch you doing it and bring costly legal action against you.

    Licensee must discontinue use of software and upgrade when company decides software has reached its end of life.

    REVERSE ENGINEERING

    Don't even think about it unless you've got really deep pockets so we can sue you for everything.
  • Proof? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Natchswing (588534) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @09:35PM (#11761717)
    This sounds like some pretty good PR fluff. Does anyone have any proof this exists?

    Sounds like a great marketing idea.

    1. Get a friend of yours to say they got $1000 from your software
    2. Advertise the event on your website
    3. Include a fair share of advertisements on page
    4. Submit miracle story of how great EULA's are to slashdot
    5. People flock to your website to see what it's all about
    6. Profit

    Even underpants gnomes can figure this one out. Until somebody does an indepth report on the story I'll consider it a ploy and move on.

  • by ArmchairGenius (859830) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @10:24PM (#11762047) Homepage
    No one reads them and everyone (including the companies that include them with their products) knows that no one reads them.
  • by Garabito (720521) on Wednesday February 23, 2005 @11:23PM (#11762394)
    This reminds me of the story [snopes.com] of Van Halen putting a little clause in their concert contracts, stating that they demanded a bowl of M&Ms in backstage, but the brown ones would have to be removed. The presence of a single brown M&M in the bowl was enough to cancel the concert without any notice.

    According to the band the reason for this clause was to assure that the contract had been read and understood and therefore, all technical specifications for stage conditions, power and so forth would be met.

  • Yuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cookiepus (154655) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:00AM (#11763270) Homepage
    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."

    Of the things I want to do the LEAST in my life, reading EULAs ranks pretty high among things which do not cause physical pain or summering to my loved ones.

    Fuck reading it. I am more likely to look a prog up on CNET. If it had a lot of thumbs-down, I read those and see what people complain about. People always complain about spyware if its there (and sometimes even if its not)

    Doing a google or deja search for name of the program and spyware always brings up some discussion of that topic, which lets me know conclusively (well, as far as something can be conclusive on an internet thread) what the answer is.

    Reading the actual EULA? If I am a billion dollar company about to bind something with my product, yea I'll read it. But for something I am installing at home, behind a firewall which will prevent it from phoning home, FUCK IT! Who cares what they wrote?

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:36AM (#11763525) Homepage Journal
    Back in '95 or so, free SSH clients were more or less non-existant. About all there was for the PC was F-Secure's SSH client, which they allowed people to download 30 day trial copies for. When my copy expired, I poked around in the EULA that came with it. I found that the EULA stated that the copy was valid for exactly 60 days. =)

    So I emailed them asking them for a copy with the correct number of days enabled. They wrote back, instead of making the programmers go to the effort of recompiling, how about just a free copy of the client? Which was exactly what I was hoping to get by asking for the extra 30 days. ;)

    To this day, I still use my free copy of F-Secure SSH.

    -Bill Kerney
  • by cliffski (65094) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:17AM (#11765171) Homepage
    If I have to read the EULA, or am legally expected to have done so, I need to know the length of it before purchase.
    If I'm buying a new mousemat and it has a 20 page EULA, I'll decline the purchase, as the reading time outweighs the value of the product.
    This means all products need the full EULA text printed on the outside of the packaging.
    EULAs are bullshit that keep lawyers in sports cars, one reason my games don't have them.
  • Its 'shirk' ware. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crovira (10242) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:25AM (#11765204) Homepage
    The thing is that the content of the text is ignored partly because people are looking at what buttons to push to get past it to get the software they wanted at the pace that the expect computers to deliver it...

    A computer screen a work or the home is exactly the WRONG place to ask if you've developped sober second thoughts about having shelled out money already.

    You could write in there that they agree so sell their souls into perdition and nobody would notice.

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