An immensely funny look at the sad sad world of software EULAs, over at TG Daily, here. Some of them are real screamers, such as the one from “The Breeder Group” (no, I have no idea who they are either) who require you to not only sign away your right to a chargeback (which is where you have the bank reverse a charge on a credit card by stating that the charge was false, fraudulent or whatever), but also to pay EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS (US, presumably) if you even try. In cash, too, not some piddly cheque or somesuch. Now you’ve just got to laugh at that. How can they even think that’s going to hold up to real legal scrutiny?
As the article points out, most EULAs are thrown out with prejudice, because (my words) they’re utter bullshit. Unfortunately, particularly in the U.S., some courts get some really weird ideas, and actually do try to enforce them.
What this really highlights in my mind is the disconnect between law and reality. And the greater that disconnect gets, the less people care about law. It’s like all this public transport ticket infringement stuff; it’s so far removed from reason that no one cares about it anymore. I have no trouble not buying a ticket anymore; hell, the law is obviously so far off the end of sanity, how can I possibly hope to deal with it? It’s pointless.
I think EULAs are going to implode on themselves, under the weight of their own stupidity. Companies keep putting in these ridiculous conditions and rules, which everyone already ignores. Once a few are challenged big-time in court, it’ll set some very sweet precedence against the EULAs. They’ll become so stupid in so many cases – even moreso than now – that it will no longer be in any way legally binding even if a user does “Accept” the EULA; since it’ll be assumed that they never read it and have no care for it anyway.
The only time I’ve ever read a EULA, or provided one with my own software, has been when they’ve been satirical. I think one of my EULAs required users to forfeit their first borns to me, or somesuch. I had fun writing it, and from memory a few users emailed me and said they got a laugh out of it. 🙂