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  • Did you read the fine print, last time you ticked that box to say you did?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Did you read the fine print, last time you ticked that box to say you did?

    This topic contains 42 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 1 week, 3 days ago.

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    • #125073 Reply

      Kirsty
      AskWoody MVP

      It’s a rare occasion that the terms and conditions are fully read and understood, when doing things online or for EULA. This article, published by CNe
      [See the full post at: Did you read the fine print, last time you ticked that box to say you did?]

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125086 Reply

      b
      AskWoody Lounger

      If it had both mumbo AND jumbo, it was legally unenforceable anyway.

      I’d like to see Purple try!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #125145 Reply

        lurks about
        AskWoody Lounger

        I doubt they will try. I think the point they were making is most EULA are basically long-winded shyster for shafting the customer. Most will not read them because they have no option in reality.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #125167 Reply

          anonymous

          Yes, if by the time a newly purchased consumer computer can fully charge it’s battery before you can finish reading all of the EULAs and ‘privacy policies’ they are much too long.

    • #125088 Reply

      anonymous

      I read the fine print when I attempted to sign up at askwoody.com. Unfortunately, I had to decline because I was not yet ready to join in with those striving toward universal peace and free chocolate chip cookies for all.

      After all, what else am I to do with all this riot gear I bought for boycotting Windows 10?

      😉

      7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125099 Reply

      wdburt1
      AskWoody Lounger

      It’s an old concept in the law–the contract that is so dense, incomprehensible, etc. that it is not expected to be read or complied with.  A close cousin to contracts that are so one-sided that no one seriously expects that that disfavored party would voluntarily agree with them.  Contracts inequitable on their face.

      It’s a form of compulsion, and judges have the discretion to throw out them out.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #125155 Reply

        AJNorth
        AskWoody Lounger

        Being one of the four basic food groups, I am reminded of a “Peanuts” strip from about forty years ago. It is nighttime. The first panel shows Snoopy standing outside the front door, which is ajar. Inside is Charlie Brown saying, “I’m sorry, but the chocolate chip cookies have gone to bed for the night.” The second panel shows Snoopy standing in the dark, the door now closed, with this thought balloon: “Chocolate chip cookies don’t go to bed for the night.”

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125102 Reply

      anonymous

      No matter what they tell you EULA’s aren’t actually legally enforceable. Sure, they can kick off their service because its their service and they make the rules for that service, but there’s no way they can compel you to do anything outside of their service. In this case, community service.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125123 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Lounger

      I always make sure to read the EULA. The worst ones IMO are those that would give themselves the right to enter my home to inspect my computers, to make sure that I’m not using more licenses than I paid for. I uninstalled AVG Free a few years ago as soon as I discovered that “audit” clause in their EULA. As to why they would keep a clause about paid licenses in the agreement for a free product, I’m still scratching my head over that. Bottom line is that I wasn’t about to give them the smallest excuse to harass me, even if the possibility did seem far-fetched and unreasonable. If the clause doesn’t apply, then take it out or else I’m not using your software.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #125125 Reply

        Kirsty
        AskWoody MVP

        Some years ago, one bank changed their t’s & c’s, to include their right to dictate which AV solution I had installed on any computer I chose to access their internet banking. I refused to tick Agree, so now on the rare occasions I do need to access internet banking for that bank, I go to their branch, and use their “guaranteed secure” in-branch terminals!

        I wasn’t happy to give away my rights to secure my computers to a better standard than they felt appropriate…

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by  Kirsty.
        6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #125127 Reply

          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Lounger

          Sheesh, the nerve of them!!

          I would have done the same thing as you.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #125134 Reply

          anonymous

          Instead of changing my AV solution I would have changed my bank!

          4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #125146 Reply

          lurks about
          AskWoody Lounger

          What if the AV software will not run on your computer?

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #125193 Reply

          anonymous

          How would they make sure you installed the anti-virus they wanted?

          • #125226 Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody Lounger

            That can be easily checked. Ever hear of fingerprinting? Most AV products add in browser extensions. That’s what the bank is most likely looking for — some sort of browser extension which is alleged to provide a very specific type of online “security”. I would find another bank.

            -- rc primak

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #125256 Reply

              anonymous

              Even if you agree how are they going to force you to use the AV they want?

      • #125169 Reply

        anonymous

        Yes it is technically possible to include the free/software key logic and showing of separate document files in the installer program. In my opinion the coders & legal also take the easy way out too by including the all-in-one document.

    • #125128 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger

      If you have a strong stomach, check out the South Park episode “Human CentIPad.”  If the title reminds you of something awful you may have heard about in a meme…. yes, it’s just what it sounds like, but the broader story is that it’s a parody of ridiculous terms in EULAs, and the show uses a particularly extreme example to illustrate the point.

      I have often used made-up (and less… well, gross) examples of things that, if put into a EULA, would be invalid and unenforceable.  A lot of people seem to think that whatever a company like Microsoft puts in a EULA, it in effect becomes law once ostensibly agreed to, and of course that’s exactly what those companies want you to think.  Once you illustrate that there is a limit, that there is a point where even if the user clicked through and “agreed” to something, it’s still not valid, then you can begin to discuss exactly where that line is.

      It’s also interesting to note that most EULAs are not licenses at all.  A license is a specific carve-out or exemption of copyright or patent law that the owner of that copyright or patent may grant to a given party or entity.  That’s all a license can do; it cannot impose additional requirements upon the licensee.

      When Microsoft prohibits reverse engineering of any of its software in the “EULA,” it is attempting to place a limitation on the customer that is not within the copyright law itself.   That’s beyond the scope of license, and into the territory of contract law.  What that means in terms of the oft-cited “you don’t own the software; it’s only licensed to you” is still subject to speculation.

      Of course, it is completely reasonable that a contract be created that defines the terms by which a license is granted, but that doesn’t mean the entire thing is a license.  While regular people may call the EULA a “license,” you can be sure that the company’s lawyers will focus more on the word “agreement,” which again means “contract.”  Specifically, it’s a shrink-wrap contract, which doesn’t mean the whole thing is invalid on its face (the basic validity of the concept has been upheld thus far), but the exact position of the line between what’s enforceable and what isn’t is not yet known.

      Standard disclaimers; this isn’t legal advice, I’m not a lawyer, all that kind of thing.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125132 Reply

      anonymous

      I always make it a point of telling people to read the TOS or EULA to something, Google and social media especially. I tell people to read them so they know what those services are doing with their information that they blindly sign up for. It could say for example that they reserve the right to monitor what you do and sell that information to the highest bidder. (The happens anyways, but I’m just saying.).

      And then if you don’t agree to a EULA or TOS, then you shouldn’t be using a service. Say you read Facebook’s TOS, well if you don’t agree with it then you can’t be using Facebook as you are disagreeing to a legal agreement. But when I try to warn people about the datamining that’s being done to them I get ignored. But I can guarantee if they actually read what they’re agreeing to they’d change their tune.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125136 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody MVP

      Thing is, again and again it’s the “bringing frog water to a boil slowly” thing.

      People WANT the tech; it does good things for them (or at least entertains).

      What was unacceptable a few years ago (spying, taking control of one’s device, signing ever more unfortunate agreements) is now commonplace.

      It’s nice to think “What if they built a EULA and no one agreed?” but it’s simply not going to happen.

      Where does it end?

      I kind of think stronger laws are going to have to be written to define what can be done by corporations to people who would otherwise blindly agree to be taken advantage of.

      -Noel

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #125148 Reply

        Kirsty
        AskWoody MVP

        I kind of think stronger laws are going to have to be written to define what can be done by corporations to people who would otherwise blindly agree to be taken advantage of.

        Unless those were worldwide laws, not much of a difference would be felt. Certain jurisdictions have laws about one-sided or unconscionable contracts already, but it hasn’t created enough of a ripple around such t’s & c’s yet… if only! I guess we live in hope 🙂

    • #125137 Reply

      anonymous

      I hope that some of these people giving legal advice are lawyers and that if you sign something that you are not responsible for what you signed.

      I  always  thought that if you sign something you are responsible for what you signed.

      If there are any lawyers out there how about some legal advice?  Are you or are you not responsible for what you sign?

      • #125147 Reply

        lurks about
        AskWoody Lounger

        In contract law, there is a concept of negotiation. If the EULA terms, which the end user was not allowed to negotiate any of the terms, is too broad or one-sided it can be successfully challenged. The key is how broad is the EULA and how much does it infringe one’s rights. At best these are murky questions in general and for specific EULAs even murkier.

    • #125139 Reply

      BrianL
      AskWoody Lounger

      WOW! It goes to show you!!! We, all, have a probably read the first EULA that came with our first computer program entry and that was the last that we Ever ever looked at. I think that even includes professional techs.

    • #125140 Reply

      jescott418
      AskWoody Lounger

      I pretty much expect anything offered free is going to require I hand over a lot of information. Has anyone ever read what many apps collect just for providing you with a app that really shouldn’t require personal information? How many are really that naive about EULA’s these days? As one lawyer put it in a column on EULA’s.  It’s almost a certainty that a EULA for a free service, product, or whatever is not going to protect your privacy. The only value that is being collected is your information. Besides, if it discloses this in the EULA and you don’t read it. That does not mean you can cry wolf and complain about privacy being stolen.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125153 Reply

      AJNorth
      AskWoody Lounger

      There is a useful article on EULAs by Serdar Yegulalp published in InfoWorld on 2016.06.20, “7 tools for cutting through software legalese” – http://www.infoworld.com/article/3084659/open-source-tools/7-tools-for-cutting-through-software-legalese.html .

      In particular, it mentions a handy little Windows utility called EULAlyzer (free for personal and educational use) that I’ve employed for years, and some others might find useful as well: https://www.brightfort.com/eulalyzer.html .

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #125158 Reply

      anonymous

      I was notified by my bank that a certain free third party software package was recommended for all their online customers. I read the terms and conditions prior to installing it and noticed that the third party would collect personal information from my PC for their use. The software is a security package. I did install it after having determined who the third party was, what the data was and what it was used for. If there had been no transparency, no way it would have been installed.

      However …

      I asked the bank what would happen if I had not installed the security software and my online account was ever hacked. Would I be liable for any loses? They did not answer my question.

      • #125159 Reply

        anonymous

        Not sure where to put this.  Trying to look at m brinkmann on ghacks.net.  My bullguard is blocking the site  (phishing)  as I have used it before I was wondering if it is a prob with b/guard or ghacks.  Have emailed b/guard but not had an answer yet.

      • #125164 Reply

        Daubie
        AskWoody Lounger

        What’s to prevent them from doing so, anyway, unless you encrypt all your stuff?

         

      • #125228 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody Lounger

        It’s not like every bank requires such nonsense. Mine does not, nor did my previous bank in another State.

        -- rc primak

    • #125194 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      I never read the EULA when I am installing something. I figure people like Woody will catch it if there’s anything I should be aware of.

      As far as which A/V I am using, if they can’t detect which A/V I am using at the time the EULA is displayed, why would they be able to detect it later on?

      And what if I’m using Linux rather than Windows?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #125229 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody Lounger

        I can tell you that they do know what AV you used when the EULA displayed. And that most such sites do not work at all under Linux, even with the same browser.

        -- rc primak

        • #125248 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          If they can tell what AV I am using when the EULA is displayed, and if my AV is not acceptable to them (see post 125123 and following posts above), they should display a message telling me that I can’t use their software with that AV on the computer. That is the ethical way to do it; the un-ethical way is to bury a statement about my AV not being acceptable on screen 43 of a 90-screen EULA of legalese.

    • #125195 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      Someone ought to start an online company which will evaluate your EULA and tell you what it means in plain English. You could pay so much per month for x number of EULA evaluations.

      • #125219 Reply

        AJNorth
        AskWoody Lounger

        Greetings Mr. Phelps,

        In my post a few clicks above, I mentioned the utility “EULAlyzer” that may go a long way to serving your purpose: https://www.brightfort.com/eulalyzer.html (there’s also an article referenced that you might also find worthwhile). (Of course, if you or any members of your team are captured or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge.)

        Cheers,

        AJN

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #125200 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody MVP

      It has occurred to me… If NONE of us ever reads any EULA – and that’s not hard to imagine actually happening – then EULAs would become completely unenforceable. Just don’t accidentally leave it on the screen without hitting the OK button for longer than 3 seconds.

      It might be a rare case where modern norms could actually be changing for the better.

      Well, judge, as you know NOBODY reads those things, so why should we care what’s in them?

      It needs to be about what’s reasonable and customary.

      -Noel

    • #125230 Reply

      rc primak
      AskWoody Lounger

      In light of all this discussion, I am considering using EULAlyzer a lot more frequently.

      -- rc primak

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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