Illegible Text in Eula



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  • But it's illegible even if the font shows up correctly. That's the whole point of legalese, remember? 🙂



  • I'm suprised as a technical user you still look at those screens long enough to realize it's unreadable. I think I'm at the point where I'd have clicked Install without noticing 😛



  • I skim through those every now and then, mainly to laugh at them. The best part is that in Finland those things are illegal -- wouldn't it be great if you lived in a country with actual reasonable legislation protecting consumers?



  • @Ren said:

    I skim through those every now and then, mainly to laugh at them. The best part is that in Finland those things are illegal -- wouldn't it be great if you lived in a country with actual reasonable legislation protecting consumers?

    For the most part, I don't think EULAs are unreasonable, although they do sometimes contain questionable content.  However, as someone who makes his living through software licenses, I'm pretty glad the concept exists.  Are normal software licenses not protected by law in Finland, either? 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ren said:

    I skim through those every now and then, mainly to laugh at them. The best part is that in Finland those things are illegal -- wouldn't it be great if you lived in a country with actual reasonable legislation protecting consumers?

    For the most part, I don't think EULAs are unreasonable, although they do sometimes contain questionable content.  However, as someone who makes his living through software licenses, I'm pretty glad the concept exists.  Are normal software licenses not protected by law in Finland, either? 

    The only thing I really dislike about EULAs is how long and unwieldy and somewhat unfair they've gotten. For example... A piece of open-source software telling me there is no warranty express or implied, including warranty of suitability for a particular purpose... I have no problem with that on open source. Programmers working in their spare time to contribute to the public shouldn't have to deal with massive liability. But in commercial software, it gets old... fast.

    I had one client who bought a piece of architectural CAD software recommended by some high priced consultant who later admitted he had zero CAD experience of any kind. This was a $15,000 piece of software. The list of common architectural needs it couldn't do was astoundingly huge, and there was no "manual mode" to let you add in stuff with standard architectural notation... It couldn't even do a staircase between two floors that was folded with a landing, but that's what's used in the majority of houses in that area. This software was touted as being for residential architecture. When the client demanded a refund the company pointed at the EULA... "No warranty of suitability for a particular purpose." So they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars marketing it for a particular purpose, and escape liability with a half cent piece of paper containing a EULA. Sure, it includes the phrase, "Where allowed by applicable law", but that was allowed by applicable law.

    EULAs designed to shield the sellers of the program from both mistakes and intentional deception or corner-cutting shouldn't be binding... but the rights of software authors can't be moot, either. Authors have rights, customers have rights, it's the software pirates who shouldn't have any. 🙂



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    For the most part, I don't think EULAs are unreasonable, although they do sometimes contain questionable content.  However, as someone who makes his living through software licenses, I'm pretty glad the concept exists.
     

     I think I have to disagree.  Let's look at a license most people have agreed to, the microsoft office license.  I'll compare it to books and print media, since both of those have survived handsomely for centuries without EULAs.

     Restrictions:

      - You are expected to use the software on no more than two computers, one of which must be "portable".  Yes, that's right, if you are retired and live in a different place during the winter (VERY popular in Canada, even for "poor" folk), you'll need to buy another copy of the same software for your other computer, assuming you use your laptop like a normal person (on the place, out and about) and your desktop PC normally (one in each house for sitdown type work).  The other option is to run a VPN and enjoy running the software from a NAS over the internet, or via RDP if you want to delete your local copy.  Wooooo, that's cheap.  LOL.  Difference from real life:  In real life, you take the book with you, and therefore can read it in as many locations as you like.

     -  If you include office clipart in anything, your product becomes undistributable.  Really.  " Elements. You may not grant customers of your product or service any rights to license or distribute the Media".  Difference from real life:  If you buy a sticker book, and use the stickers to gussy up something, you can sell it or give it away.

     -  You may not use the office clipart in the average political cartoon.  "You may not create obscene or scandalous works, as defined by federal law at the time the work is created, using the Media Elements.".  Difference from real life:  Do I have to point this one out?

     -  "2.1 Mandatory Activation. THERE ARE TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES IN THIS SOFTWARE THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PREVENT UNLICENSED USE OF THE SOFTWARE."  Difference from real life:  I've never had to call in to a publisher for a secret decoder ring so I could read my book.  I don't even think top secret government documents are written like that.

     - " 4. LIMITATIONS ON REVERSE ENGINEERING, DECOMPILATION, AND DISASSEMBLY. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Software, except and only to the extent that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.".  Difference from real life:  None, since I don't know of a single country that doesn't immediately invalidate that sentence.

     -  "5. NO RENTAL/COMMERCIAL HOSTING. You may not rent, lease, lend or provide commercial hosting services with the Software.".  Difference from real life:  Everything.  If you buy a book, you are welcome to use it as a platter on which you serve commercial contracts or anything you like.  And, of course, you're allowed to lease it as you please, or give it away in a library.

     - "EXPORT RESTRICTIONS. You acknowledge that the Software is subject to U.S. export jurisdiction.".  WHAAAAAAT?  Difference from real life:  When you buy a book, you are subject to your OWN country's laws, some some insane foreign country with a penchant for starting wars.

     - "13. SEPARATION OF COMPONENTS. The Software is licensed as a single product. Its component parts may not be separated for use on more than one device.".  If I buy a book, I'm welcome to tear it into sections and do as I please with them, putting some pages in my backpack, some in my car, and some in my house.

     - "If you are the person who initially licensed the Software, you may make a one-time permanent transfer of this EULA, Software and Certificate of Authenticity (if applicable) to another end user, provided that you do not retain any copies of the Software."  You are welcome to sell a used book as many times as you like.  A judge would laugh his ass off at the idea you can only sell a used book once, even if it was shrinkwrapped with such a license.

    If software were licensed like a book, but authors considered the difference between it and a book (such as the fact it can be installed on multiple machines) I wouldn't think EULA were outrageous.  The problem is, they're the exact opposite of a book, and it's ridiculous.  A good, like a book license, would have an option of convenience installs but only one person may use the software until sold to another party, or installation on one device but anyone can use it as long as only one person at a time uses it (just like a book). The digital equivalent of a sticker book wouldn't have insane rules that prevent you from selling a single sticker, although it would say that for more than one sale of that sticker, you'll need to re-buy it.  No book prevents you from drawing genitals on it's pages (in fact, in high school, I generally found more books with this than not).  No book requires you call the author/publisher at least once to let them know you're using it.  No book prevents you from pulling it apart into pieces.  No book stops you from putting it in a library.  No book stops you from sending it to North Korea.

     And that is why software licenses suck.  Because, rather than use them to make software like all other media in our lives, they are used to make software some sort of twisted hydra ready to bite your head off.  In my life, it's usually not too hard to use a license just to prove to a manager why we need to use free software rather than payware, any of the above conditions would easily give the average manager a WTF? moment. It's not that I don't want to support people making money on software, I just don't want to support them making money on software that takes away your basic rights.

     Gah, sorry for the long post, I just needed to give you some arguments to fire down.  😃



  • @shepd said:

    I'll compare it to books and print media, since both of those have survived handsomely for centuries without EULAs.

    Except software isn't like a book at all.  It is not creative content but rather a highly-technical piece of machinery.  A lot of the wording of EULAs is just boilerblate CYA.  Software is complex and if software publishers could be sued for damages by all of their customers for a single bug, the industry would cease to exist.  Some of it, of course, contains restrictions on what the end-user may do with the product.  I'm not sure how many or which of these restrictions are actually enforced.  For the most part, the restrictions just seem to be there to protect trade secrets and the intellectual property of the software publisher.  However, I also think if a user waives a right that it should be legal, within reason.  Software licenses are contracts and I'm in favor of letting people decide which contracts they want to agree with and generally holding them to their word.  If an end-user willfully waives those rights, then clearly they were not as valuable to the end-user as use of the software was.  This allows people to make decisions about which restrictions they are willing to accept and permits accurate valuation of various uses of a product, helping the publisher target their products more effectively.



  • @Wolftaur said:

    Sure, it includes the phrase, "Where allowed by applicable law", but that was allowed by applicable law.

    Really? Wow. Where's this? I want to know, so I can avoid it.

    My understanding is, even in areas where that disclaimer of warranty is allowed for a purchased product (many places allow it for non-commercial software), there's a distinct limit on how far they'd go, and that sounds to me to be beyond the bounds based on the applicable case law I've read. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so I've only read case law on that topic from a half dozen or so locales.

    On the other hand, did you try the 'deceptive advertising' angle? I've heard of a couple of cases where that's worked - either they have to warranty that the product does what they claim, or they can't claim it. Of course, it depends on the judge, the jury, and the lawyers involved. If your lawyer can't find the appropriate precedents, you are better off not attempting the case. Even if he/she can, it'd still be tough to win with less than $15k court costs.



  • @tgape said:

    My understanding is, even in areas where that disclaimer of warranty is allowed for a purchased product (many places allow it for non-commercial software), there's a distinct limit on how far they'd go, and that sounds to me to be beyond the bounds based on the applicable case law I've read. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so I've only read case law on that topic from a half dozen or so locales.

    On the other hand, did you try the 'deceptive advertising' angle? I've heard of a couple of cases where that's worked - either they have to warranty that the product does what they claim, or they can't claim it. Of course, it depends on the judge, the jury, and the lawyers involved. If your lawyer can't find the appropriate precedents, you are better off not attempting the case. Even if he/she can, it'd still be tough to win with less than $15k court costs.

    The area had a ton of precedents and even specific legislation for fraudulent marketing: but it would have required a court proceeding. Which the company would fight tooth and nail because the instant they lose then every other angry customer gets to use that against them. The product _sucked_, and it was their only product... so they'd fight and appeal and appeal until we decided it wasn't worth it. Because of the EULA, the place that actually sold it to us wasn't required to accept it back... and so they wouldn't. We ended up using the universal loophole: disputed it with Visa. But that's only universal if you paid with a credit card.

    Actually, the product itself had one really big WTF in it: it was written in an interpreted language, not packaged or obfuscated or anything. So I was actually able to point the Visa fraud people at some of the commented out sections that said things like, "Incomplete feature commented out, fix ASAP because marketing has been advertising this feature for 3 months and sales isn't warning people it's not there before taking their money..." So it was actually one of the fastest chargebacks we ever did, despite being technical and "legally murky"...



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Except software isn't like a book at all.  It is not creative content but rather a highly-technical piece of machinery.
     

    Sounds good to me.  If I buy a computer, I can pretty much use it as a book.  Best part is if I part it out, I can sell all the parts at a profit because they're perfectly good as separate pieces!

    @morbiuswilters said:

    A lot of the wording of EULAs is just boilerblate CYA.

    Yeah, I skipped over all of that, except the export controls, those were just funny.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I'm not sure how many or which of these restrictions are actually enforced.

    In law, when that happens, the law is usually invalidated (eg:  In some towns you can't drive without a flagman walking in front of your car).  Why is the EULA still enfored when crap like this happens?  Because, unlike with governments, we don't have ways to stop such stupidity.  It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have a monopolist software company in the market.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Software licenses are contracts and I'm in favor of letting people decide which contracts they want to agree with and generally holding them to their word.  If an end-user willfully waives those rights, then clearly they were not as valuable to the end-user as use of the software was.


    ABSOLUTELY!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally against EULAs.  I just think most of them have lots of asinine terms in them.  That's why I think the EULA should be required to be presented to the customer PRIOR to buying the software.  It could be printed on a booklet and glued on the box.  A "plain english" version could be used if the company so desires to make the EULA shorter.  It's ridiculous that the customer buys a software like MS Office that bans them from making certain documents with it (like a political cartoon) and that they aren't told in plain english before buying it that they may not use the software for that.  Perhaps if people were better informed as to what they can't use the software for, they'd make better decisions before buying it.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    This allows people to make decisions about which restrictions they are willing to accept and permits accurate valuation of various uses of a product, helping the publisher target their products more effectively.

     And I think you agree!  🙂  Although you'd probably say "well, they could return the software after sitting at their computer for an hour reading and considering it", but have you ever tried to return software?  Take a look at the effort it takes to get a windows refund, it's ridiculous!



  • I think the funniest part is that they always give you a little tiny window to read the EULA.  Even on a web page, where I can maximise the browser to fill my 1280x1024 screen, the EULA is in a fixed-size window less than 300 pixels high.  I'm sure if you ever used the "print" option, it would come out in a narrow column less than 1/4 of the actual page width.

    They obviously don't want to make it easy to read, let alone easy to comply.



  • @shepd said:

      - You are expected to use the software on no more than two computers, one of which must be "portable".  Yes, that's right, if you are retired and live in a different place during the winter (VERY popular in Canada, even for "poor" folk), you'll need to buy another copy of the same software for your other computer, assuming you use your laptop like a normal person (on the place, out and about) and your desktop PC normally (one in each house for sitdown type work).  The other option is to run a VPN and enjoy running the software from a NAS over the internet, or via RDP if you want to delete your local copy.  Wooooo, that's cheap.  LOL.  Difference from real life:  In real life, you take the book with you, and therefore can read it in as many locations as you like.

    I find it hard to believe that "poor" people have two houses and three computers.

    @shepd said:

      No book stops you from putting it in a library.  No book stops you from sending it to North Korea.

    I think you'll find that most books do include a small bit of text that does require you to obtain the publisher's permission (in writing) to put the book in a lending library.  The same as you can't buy a CD and play it on a radio station without permission.

    If your book happens to be "GE Guidelines for Nuclear Powerplant Design" then I think you will find it difficult to send it to North Korea.  The problem with software is that virtually any software could be used to produce weapons - even terrorists must have accounting software if their organisation is big enough.



  • @Qwerty said:

    The problem with software is that virtually any software could be used to produce weapons - even terrorists must have accounting software if their organisation is big enough.

     OK, how are you going to use these software to produce weapons:

    • iTunes
    • /bin/true
    • GNU Emacs
    • DONKEY.BAS for GW-BASIC by Bill Gates


  •  @samanddeanus said:

     OK, how are you going to use these software to produce weapons:

    • iTunes

    Where's your imagination?  Think of the damage you could cause with strategically-played music...



  • @samanddeanus said:

     

     OK, how are you going to use these software to produce weapons:

    @samanddeanus said:

    iTunes
    Have you heard some of the crap that passes for music these days?  It's enough to make one contemplate suicide.

    @samanddeanus said:

    /bin/true
    while /bin/true; do launch_icbm --target < /dev/rand; done

    @samanddeanus said:

    GNU Emacs
    I believe it's C-^ M-? 3 C-M-P M-x [name] to activate the emacs hitman mode.

    @samanddeanus said:
    DONKEY.BAS for GW-BASIC by Bill Gates
    Don't be ridiculous: you can't write real programs in BASIC.

     




  • @samanddeanus said:

     OK, how are you going to use these software to produce weapons:

    • iTunes
    • /bin/true
    • GNU Emacs
    • DONKEY.BAS for GW-BASIC by Bill Gates
    iTunes: Used to distribute instructions as podcasts
    /bin/true: Weapons can use shell scripts too
    GNU Emacs: How can the best editor in existence NOT be useful for writing weapon control code?
    DONKEY: Mass distribution used as red herrings to confuse (and sicken) investigating agents


  • @Eternal Density said:

     @samanddeanus said:

     OK, how are you going to use these software to produce weapons:

    • iTunes

    Where's your imagination?  Think of the damage you could cause with strategically-played music...

    Somewhere, Jack Johnson is slipping a ruffie into the drink of some girl he intends to date rape.

     

    Oh, and he's also crying.  He's crying because you said his music could be used to hurt people which is simply not true, if you disregard "date rape instigated by playing soft acoustic music for some chick at a party so she thinks you're sensitive and lets her guard down long enough for you to slip a ruffie into her drink."



  •  @Ren said:

    I skim through those every now and then, mainly to laugh at them. The best part is that in Finland those things are illegal -- wouldn't it be great if you lived in a country with actual reasonable legislation protecting consumers?

    They're not illegal as a whole AFAIK.  Just certain parts of them.  Two specific things come to mind, there are probably more:

    1. You must be able to view the EULA before accepting it.  Thus conditions like "By opening this shrinkwrap you accept the EULA" are illegal if the EULA is enclosed in said shrinkwrap.

    2. You always have the right to transfer the license to another person.

    I think there's also something about a software vendor being obliged to make the software usable for N years to the future (possibly N == inf?).  This mainly concerns software with online checks - if the company goes out of business or decides to discontinue the online service, it must provide a patch or other way to continue using the parts of the software that don't require said online service.  Operating system or hardware compatibility does not fall under this.

    To provide an example of an EULA term I'm sure applies in Finland: Virtually all MMORPGs have conditions that you may not use gameplay-altering programs (unattended automatic gold farming etc) nor sell game currency or items for real money.  If terms like this were invalidated by law, it would make the country an instant safe haven for these less-than-respectable activities, with a probable end result of the whole country getting banned from the game.



  •  Here's a fun fact.

     I live in Iceland and at one point there was a guy working (that is, he advertised and charged) on cracking a tv station decoder, allowing you to watch paid subscription without paying. The TV station sued and the guy won on the following fact: If you buy something, it's yours and therefore the TV station can't do anything about it. This caused the TV station to rent out it's decoder machines instead of selling the to clients.

     This means that in Iceland, you can crack, hack and anything you want with any objects you buy, including PS3, XBox and so on. Completely legal 😃

    Another fun fact: Downloading copyright items is legal while sharing is illegal. If you are downloading, you are not breaking any rules. There are 300.000 inhabitants in Iceland and on Iceland there was a single torrent website which had over 100.000 users, that's over 1/3 of Iceland. Of course there were alot of duplicate users but this is still a large number. The media sued the guy hosting the torrent website but the case was dropped. The reason is, he is not sharing any illegal stuff, the one hosting the website. Pretty cool eh 😉 To live in a country where downloading is legal.

     

     

    P.S.

    On Iceland we have to pay for every mb we download from foreign countries so all these users were living on Iceland. Because of how we have to pay for every mb we download from foreign countries (except if you have an expensive ADSL connection and even then, it's limited to 40 GB a month) the local torrent community is very strong and many enforcements have been applied to prevent foreigners to participate in our local communities 🙂



  • @Qwerty said:

    I think the funniest part is that they always give you a little tiny window to read the EULA.  Even on a web page, where I can maximise the browser to fill my 1280x1024 screen, the EULA is in a fixed-size window less than 300 pixels high.
    300 pixels? Take a look at PowerPoint Viewer 2007 EULA:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    And let's not forget the invisible EULAs:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    My personal favorite however is Intel's EULA:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us



  • @BlackMan890 said:

     This means that in Iceland, you can crack, hack and anything you want with any objects you buy, including PS3, XBox and so on. Completely legal 😃
     

    It was until a while in the Netherlands. Unfortunatly EU law forbids "To circumvent, crack, [...] or otherwise evade an effective protection" thus effectively making nearly anything impossible.
    Fun fact: For a while people were arrested for connecting to unsecured wireless networks using that law (none of them got sentenced)
    Fun fact: Some guys made a website on how to decrypt DVD's, turned themselves and were relieved of all charges in trail, since CSS isn't effective according to the judgde. Thus making a cracked protection ineffective.

    @BlackMan890 said:

    Another fun fact: Downloading copyright items is legal while sharing is illegal. If you are downloading, you are not breaking any rules.

    That still makes torrents illegal. Unless everybody would leech. Which would make an Iceland torrent community impossible.

    @BlackMan890 said:

    To live in a country where downloading is legal.

    Join the club


    @BlackMan890 said:

    I live in Iceland

    Gimme back my money!



  • @dtech said:

    Fun fact: Some guys made a website on how to decrypt DVD's, turned themselves and were relieved of all charges in trail, since CSS isn't effective according to the judgde. Thus making a cracked protection ineffective.

     

    This was in Finland.  The original court case was a couple years ago, and recently (a few months ago) a higher court level reversed the decision.  Now we are waiting for a response to the appeal to supreme court.  Meanwhile, CSS protection is considered effective again and anyone watching a DVD on Linux in Finland is a criminal.  Yay for legislation WTFs.

    Here's a blog post from Turre Legal, the lawyer company handling the case for the defendants: [url]http://www.turre.com/blog/?p=156[/url]



  • @morbiuswilters said:

     

    Somewhere, Jack Johnson is slipping a ruffie into the drink of some girl he intends to date rape.

    John Mayer doesn't need to use drugs.  He just gives them his best doe-eyed face and they disrobe frantically.  Advantage John Mayer, I think.



  • @dtech said:

    Unfortunatly [b]EU law[/b] forbids
     

    @tdb said:

    This was in Finland.  The original court case was a couple years ago, and recently (a few months ago) a higher court level reversed the decision.  Now we are waiting for a response to the appeal to supreme court.  Meanwhile, CSS protection is considered effective again and anyone watching a DVD on Linux in Finland is a criminal.  Yay for legislation WTFs.

    Here's a blog post from Turre Legal, the lawyer company handling the case for the defendants: http://www.turre.com/blog/?p=156

     

    But I should have made that clearer yes.

    But that is unfortunate, I didn't know it.



  • Speaking of the United States: 

     

    @tdb said:

    1. You must be able to view the EULA before accepting it.  Thus conditions like "By opening this shrinkwrap you accept the EULA" are illegal if the EULA is enclosed in said shrinkwrap.

    Untrue.  You only have to accept the license before you use the software, which means "clickwrap" licenses that make you show agreement with the license are legally binding.

     

    @tdb said:

    2. You always have the right to transfer the license to another person.

    Unsure.  While the rule of first sale might apply, a license is a contract and it is quite possible for the software publisher to refuse to transfer the contract.  I don't think US courts have come to a firm conclusion on this.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Untrue.  You only have to accept the license before you use the software, which means "clickwrap" licenses that make you show agreement with the license are legally binding.
    What you said after "untrue" is true, however it does not address tdb's point, which was: @tdb said:
    1. You must be able to view the EULA before accepting it.  Thus conditions like "By opening this shrinkwrap you accept the EULA" are illegal if the EULA is enclosed in said shrinkwrap.
    You are not bound to the terms of a contract until you have had an opportunity to review the contract in its entirety, at which point you may elect to be subject to those terms. A contract that, from the outside of the packaging, says "You agree to the following by opening the packaging. You will give up your unborn ch-", does not come into force just because you open the packaging, because you did not see the full terms of the contract. You must perform some other overt act of acceptance AFTER you've been allowed to see the whole thing. This is why several "clickwrap" licenses in the past have required the user to scroll to the end. However, it was later determined that it's sufficient to notify the customer that there is such a license and make a way to get it clearly available, although not necessarily easily.@morbiuswilters said:
    Unsure.  While the rule of first sale might apply, a license is a contract and it is quite possible for the software publisher to refuse to transfer the contract.  I don't think US courts have come to a firm conclusion on this.
    They haven't, but google for "'Adobe' 'garage sale'". There's a court case either pending or resolved where Adobe sued a guy for selling used copies of its software. I cbf to find the other court cases.

    Ender, why did you change the ThreeDFaceText to be illegible on your WindowBackground? nVidia cannot be held accountable for your changing of color schemes.

    Now, as regards samanddeanus, the OP, yeah the font size is small, but the font used is Segoe UI, which for some reason does not have regular hinting, only ClearType hinting, and you will need to turn on font smoothing to read the text. Obviously not a configuration the testers thought of.



  • You are not bound to the terms of a contract until you have had an opportunity to review the contract in its entirety, at which point you may elect to be subject to those terms. A contract that, from the outside of the packaging, says "You agree to the following by opening the packaging. You will give up your unborn ch-", does not come into force just because you open the packaging, because you did not see the full terms of the contract. You must perform some other overt act of acceptance AFTER you've been allowed to see the whole thing.

    Not to mention that there have been documented cases in the U.S. of someone buying a package, opening it to read the EULA, deciding he disagreed with the EULA so tried to take it back to the retail store at which point he was told that it was unreturnable because he'd opened it.  This is an ongoing war between the software manufacturers and the retailers and they're using the customers as the front-line soldiers.  Ed Foster (rest his soul) used to keep track of this kind of thing on a regular basis on his Gripeline website.



  • @BlackMan890 said:

    Pretty cool eh 😉 To live in a country where downloading is legal.

     

    It's legal to download in virtually EVERY country, just not to upload. Why do you think the RIAA and the like don't go after people downloading from FTPs?



  • @shepd said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    For the most part, I don't think EULAs are unreasonable, although they do sometimes contain questionable content.  However, as someone who makes his living through software licenses, I'm pretty glad the concept exists.
     

     I think I have to disagree.  Let's look at a license most people have agreed to, the microsoft office license.  I'll compare it to books and print media, since both of those have survived handsomely for centuries without EULAs.

     Restrictions:

      - You are expected to use the software on no more than two computers, one of which must be "portable".  Yes, that's right, if you are retired and live in a different place during the winter (VERY popular in Canada, even for "poor" folk), you'll need to buy another copy of the same software for your other computer, assuming you use your laptop like a normal person (on the place, out and about) and your desktop PC normally (one in each house for sitdown type work).  The other option is to run a VPN and enjoy running the software from a NAS over the internet, or via RDP if you want to delete your local copy.  Wooooo, that's cheap.  LOL.  Difference from real life:  In real life, you take the book with you, and therefore can read it in as many locations as you like.

     -  If you include office clipart in anything, your product becomes undistributable.  Really.  " Elements. You may not grant customers of your product or service any rights to license or distribute the Media".  Difference from real life:  If you buy a sticker book, and use the stickers to gussy up something, you can sell it or give it away.

     -  You may not use the office clipart in the average political cartoon.  "You may not create obscene or scandalous works, as defined by federal law at the time the work is created, using the Media Elements.".  Difference from real life:  Do I have to point this one out?

     -  "2.1 Mandatory Activation. THERE ARE TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES IN THIS SOFTWARE THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PREVENT UNLICENSED USE OF THE SOFTWARE."  Difference from real life:  I've never had to call in to a publisher for a secret decoder ring so I could read my book.  I don't even think top secret government documents are written like that.

     - " 4. LIMITATIONS ON REVERSE ENGINEERING, DECOMPILATION, AND DISASSEMBLY. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Software, except and only to the extent that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.".  Difference from real life:  None, since I don't know of a single country that doesn't immediately invalidate that sentence.

     -  "5. NO RENTAL/COMMERCIAL HOSTING. You may not rent, lease, lend or provide commercial hosting services with the Software.".  Difference from real life:  Everything.  If you buy a book, you are welcome to use it as a platter on which you serve commercial contracts or anything you like.  And, of course, you're allowed to lease it as you please, or give it away in a library.

     - "EXPORT RESTRICTIONS. You acknowledge that the Software is subject to U.S. export jurisdiction.".  WHAAAAAAT?  Difference from real life:  When you buy a book, you are subject to your OWN country's laws, some some insane foreign country with a penchant for starting wars.

     

    FYI, I was with you until that last moronic sentence.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    Ender, why did you change the ThreeDFaceText to be illegible on your WindowBackground? nVidia cannot be held accountable for your changing of color schemes.

    He might not be the one at fault. nVidia has a habit of using horrid color schemes on their installers. Case in point: in the video driver update I installed recently, someone thought that black text on dark grey was a good color scheme for buttons.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    Ender, why did you change the ThreeDFaceText to be illegible on your WindowBackground? nVidia cannot be held accountable for your changing of color schemes.
    I changed Window Text to white and Window Background to dark grey. Most programs had no problems with that, but that installer for some reason forced the text background to white while using Window Text colour for the text (usually the inverse thing happens - program uses windows default for background, but forces text to black). As you can see from the other two screenshots, I now use a slightly different colour scheme (though still with inverted fg/bg luminance), but properly written programs have no trouble with that.



  • @operagost said:

    FYI, I was with you until that last moronic sentence.

    I didn't agree with much of anything he said, but this is a huge WTF.  Not only does it contain a trollish anti-US comment, but it's also silly.  Why wouldn't the US prevent export of technology that has significant military uses?  Should they permit the export of nuclear secrets, chemical weapons recipies, anthrax strains and anti-aircraft missiles as well?  I know the law doesn't prevent encryption from getting into enemy hands, but it at least prevents large, open transfers of technology which hopefully slows the enemy down some.  Am I missing something?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Am I missing something?
     

    Yes, I suppose you are.  I accidentally typed "some some" rather than "not some".

    I'll be subject to the laws of my own land, thank you very much.  If I want to bring my laptop to Cuba with me, noting that I'm not from the US and therefore not at war with them, and it has MS Office loaded on it, and I sell it to someone over there, explain why I shouldn't?  According to the EULA, this is breaking the terms, as this would be trading with the enemy and therefore against US export restrictions.  If I were, instead, to bring my craptastic old TRS-80 model 100 to sell, though, that's OK, since AFAIK it didn't have this sort of EULA.

     Hopefully this clears some of the confusion up.  It's not just related to some sort of crazy nuclear arms or something like that, that's not what I read in that sentence.  That sentence reads to me as "If the US won't export this software somewhere, neither can you."  This, of course, includes not just bomb making information, but exporting a diet coke to a thirsty person in a "trading with the enemy act" nation.

     Sorry you guys get tarred with a "stupid" brush over there, but every person outside the USA thinks I'm the crazy one when I tell them that if an American sells their car to a cuban they can go to prison.

     @morbiuswilters said:

    Should they permit the export of nuclear secrets, chemical weapons recipies, anthrax strains and anti-aircraft missiles as well?

    Does that matter as long as it's contrary to the EULA for me to sell MS Office to a Cuban?  Hands up if you think this is a good idea that makes sense.  Is Cuba going to become a powerhouse of warfare against the US because they have some ugly clipart?  Really?  If so, I want some of that stuff too.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    Now, as regards samanddeanus, the OP, yeah the font size is small, but the font used is Segoe UI, which for some reason does not have regular hinting, only ClearType hinting, and you will need to turn on font smoothing to read the text. Obviously not a configuration the testers thought of.
     

    I did have subpixel smoothing (LCDs) enabled in my Ubuntu GNU stroke Linux in which I was trying to install MS .NET in WINE. Is .NET allowed to be installed in WINE or does the EULA only allow it to be used on Windows



  • @shepd said:

    I'll be subject to the laws of my own land, thank you very much.  If I want to bring my laptop to Cuba with me, noting that I'm not from the US and therefore not at war with them, and it has MS Office loaded on it, and I sell it to someone over there, explain why I shouldn't?  According to the EULA, this is breaking the terms, as this would be trading with the enemy and therefore against US export restrictions.  If I were, instead, to bring my craptastic old TRS-80 model 100 to sell, though, that's OK, since AFAIK it didn't have this sort of EULA.

    It's a contract you agreed to.  Don't like it?  Don't use it.  Hell, even if it wasn't against the law to export, the publisher still has a right to make not exporting it a stipulation of the contract.

     

    @shepd said:

    Hopefully this clears some of the confusion up.  It's not just related to some sort of crazy nuclear arms or something like that, that's not what I read in that sentence.  That sentence reads to me as "If the US won't export this software somewhere, neither can you."  This, of course, includes not just bomb making information, but exporting a diet coke to a thirsty person in a "trading with the enemy act" nation.

    Right.  Excluding weapons, encryption and sensitive technology, the basis of economic sanctions is irrational.

     

    @shepd said:

    Sorry you guys get tarred with a "stupid" brush over there, but every person outside the USA thinks I'm the crazy one when I tell them that if an American sells their car to a cuban they can go to prison.

    I'm sorry Europeans aren't widely thought to be stupid in the US.  Also, even though it is irrational, are you saying European nations don't engage in economic sanctions?  Because I'm pretty sure European nations have economic sanctions against many countries that would make trade illegal.  Hey, I'm with you that it's stupid and counter-productive, but perhaps you should be fixing your fucked up country and leaving ours up to us?

     

    @shepd said:

    Does that matter as long as it's contrary to the EULA for me to sell MS Office to a Cuban?  Hands up if you think this is a good idea that makes sense.  Is Cuba going to become a powerhouse of warfare against the US because they have some ugly clipart?  Really?  If so, I want some of that stuff too.

    I don't think it makes sense, but if it's part of the EULA it's a condition of using the software.  Don't agree?  Don't use it.  Simple.

     

    Also, the main point had nothing to do with economic sanctions and had instead to do with ITAR restrictions on exporting encryption to hostile countries.  How did we get off-topic like this?  My original point is that the US restricting the export of weapons and military technology (such as encryption) was reasonable.  I was challenging anyone to come up with a rebuttal.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Don't agree?  Don't use it.  Simple.
     

    I'm not going to discuss the other stuff, since this is the meat of your argument.  I don't really disagree except to say that generally the US (and other forward-thinking nations) press on their monopolies not to force ridiculous terms on their customers, since the customers don't have a choice in the matter outside of refusing to use the technology, which isn't a competitive option in a monopoly.

    And, as I said before, it isn't hard for me to find idiotic terms in a EULA that let me convince the companies that I work for they'd be better off with something with a better license.  Often times, that means no authors get any money, because the company selects a Free Software solution.  If more people read them, EULAs would be the longest death notes in the world.  😉  Just my opinion, of course.  There are some EULAs that are good, and some that suck.  The thing is, the VAST majority of payware are of the latter type, and the VAST majority of Free software are the former.



  • @shepd said:

    I don't really disagree except to say that generally the US (and other forward-thinking nations) press on their monopolies not to force ridiculous terms on their customers, since the customers don't have a choice in the matter outside of refusing to use the technology, which isn't a competitive option in a monopoly.

    Microsoft is not a monopoly in any traditional sense of the word.  If people want alternatives, there are plenty.  If nobody wants to accept Microsoft's terms, they can go somewhere else.  Most anti-trust legislation is nutsacks anyway because it doesn't look at the core question ("Why did the market consolidate to a monopoly for X?") thereby discovering if the monopoly poses any true harm to the consumer or if it is just the most efficient mechanism for the particular product.  Instead anti-trust legislation only addresses breaking-up monopolies to create artificial competition in the market.  The problem is, we don't know why the market had a single forerunner.  It may be that breaking up the company is far more harmful for consumers (generally how the AT&T break-up is viewed).  It may be that the market is going throw a period of rapid growth and that consolidating as much as possible in the form of a single producer eases transition from advancement to advancement, but that the monopoly will naturally fall apart as the market matures (as seems to be the case with Microsoft).



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Instead anti-trust legislation only addresses breaking-up monopolies to create artificial competition in the market.  The problem is, we don't know why the market had a single forerunner.  It may be that breaking up the company is far more harmful for consumers (generally how the AT&T break-up is viewed).  It may be that the market is going throw a period of rapid growth and that consolidating as much as possible in the form of a single producer eases transition from advancement to advancement, but that the monopoly will naturally fall apart as the market matures (as seems to be the case with Microsoft).

    Competition doesn't even necessarily help the consumer. The two easy examples? Gas, and SAS/SCSI hard drive pricing... Just because you have competition doesn't mean any of the companies are interested in being fair or truly competing... If it's most beneficial to everyone in the market for everyone in the market to gouge, they will all gouge. That's been proven over and over again. Even if you can look at places where monopolies were broken up or artificial competition was created, it didn't tend to help. (Cellphones come to mind...)



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Microsoft is not a monopoly in any traditional sense of the word.
     

    Can I quote that?  Please?  I think I'll give up replying to you now.  Your sense of reality is clearly far too warped to make it worthwhile.  Perhaps on another thread...



  • @Wolftaur said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Instead anti-trust legislation only addresses breaking-up monopolies to create artificial competition in the market.  The problem is, we don't know why the market had a single forerunner.  It may be that breaking up the company is far more harmful for consumers (generally how the AT&T break-up is viewed).  It may be that the market is going throw a period of rapid growth and that consolidating as much as possible in the form of a single producer eases transition from advancement to advancement, but that the monopoly will naturally fall apart as the market matures (as seems to be the case with Microsoft).

    Competition doesn't even necessarily help the consumer. The two easy examples? Gas, and SAS/SCSI hard drive pricing... Just because you have competition doesn't mean any of the companies are interested in being fair or truly competing... If it's most beneficial to everyone in the market for everyone in the market to gouge, they will all gouge. That's been proven over and over again. Even if you can look at places where monopolies were broken up or artificial competition was created, it didn't tend to help. (Cellphones come to mind...)

    Gouge?  Being fair?  The companies are just selling their products for as much as they think they can get.  With the latter, it's the fact that SAS/SCSI is a smaller market with customers who are a lot about quality, so they compete less on price (although the price is still set by competition).  With gas, they're just selling it for whatever they can get.  People depend on gas and that makes it a very important, high-demand resource.  The market is simply responding to the issues with meeting demand for gas by adjusting the price upwards.  This signals market participants that it is becoming more difficult to meet demands for gas and it makes alternatives to gas seem more attractive relative to gas.  The price is just information and attempts to obscure this information by price caps and anti-gouging laws is foolhardy and counter-productive.  These efforts mask important signals about supply and demand and encourage consumers to continue consumption unabated.  This will leave to inevitable shortages that cause great harm that could have been prevented by the market.  In gas shortages, EMTs and Police might be caught without or critical business might be halted because the price was kept artificially low and the resources were thus inefficiently distributed.  This happened all throughout the 70s once price caps were put into place and it led to wide-spread economic trouble.  In 1981 the price caps were removed and the shortages vanished and the price soon bottomed-out as the supply and demand could be accurately assessed for the first time in a decade.

     

    TL;DR  Price caps and anti-gouging laws hurt the market and should never be encouraged. 



  • @shepd said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Microsoft is not a monopoly in any traditional sense of the word.
     

    Can I quote that?  Please?  I think I'll give up replying to you now.  Your sense of reality is clearly far too warped to make it worthwhile.  Perhaps on another thread...

    Um, how are they?  They don't have a lock on some single resource that nobody else can use.  There have always been plenty of competitors and there still are and likely will be for some time.  The thing is, it is not in the best interests of most end-users to switch platforms because they have a lot invested already.  This is a form of lock-in, but it certainly isn't stopping companies from offering products to migrate away to competitors if people are interested.  There are always going to be 800lb gorillas.  Yes, they have more leeway and are difficult to topple, but they aren't invulnerable.  They got to be 800lb gorillas because they served a need well which resulted in massive investments in their technology.  This gives them a some more they can get away with.  It's like trusting someone who has performed well many times before to perform well again, even if you have your doubts.  A very good, consistent performer will inspire more confidence than a relative newcomer.  This is only natural and reasonable, it generally results in net benefit because the 800lb gorilla can explore different options not open to a less confidence-inspiring performer.  The downside is that the 800lb gorilla has more leverage with customers due to the large investment, which means the gorilla might make onerous demands.  These demands may be harmful or they may not be, but there is a limit to how harmful things will get before people will jump to a competitor.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Price caps and anti-gouging laws hurt the market and should never be encouraged.

    Yeah, anti-gouge laws are usually bad news... but my point was more that competition doesn't always automatically produce "the best product for the best value." SAS/SCSI drives may be a smaller market, but the reality is they could be cheaper still-- you can garner that simply by looking at the expense reports the makers have to publicize because of shareholder laws. The margins on a 72GB SAS drive are way, way higher than the margins on a 1TB SATA drive. They're not currently actually going over the line of tolerable in my opinion: my point was merely that if competition did what they always claim it'll do when they break up monopolies, at least one company would have decided, "Hey, let's slash prices and take a lower margin so we corner the market." The fact that hasn't happened proves that creating competition just because "monopoly is automatic bad bad evil" is a stupid idea-- competition isn't a magic wand. A monopoly should only be broken up if it's proven to be seriously harmful and abusive... by actual behavior on the part of the company, rather than theoretical "problems" that are "the automatic fault of having a monopoly." I'm all for competition, I just don't happen to think a monopoly is automatically bad: what if you get a monopoly because you kicked all your competitors' asses in fair competition? Forcing competition might do nothing other than harm the best product, and thus, everyone using it.

    The only anti-gouging laws I actually approve of are the type to prevent actual exploitation. For example, in the state of Florida, if you buy 20 generators while a hurricane is approaching, spending $200 each, and then, after the hurricane takes everyone's power away you resell them for $800 each, you can go to jail. I lived in Florida during Hurricane Ivan, and there was actually a pizza place charging $45 for a _small_ pizza, rather than the normal $7... preying on the people who couldn't get generators before the storm thanks to everyone buying 20 and 30 of them... There were people going to Home Depot and buying an entire truck full of plywood, needing only 2 or 3 boards for their own windows-- but they'd sell them for 10 times what they paid, to others who couldn't get them because people were buying just to immediately resell at a profit. That's illegal, and THAT should be. But a general anti-gouging law, capping price to a percentage of manufacturing costs or similar? All those ever do is cause serious caps on R&D budgets, which screws us all...



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Microsoft is not a monopoly in any traditional sense of the word.  If people want alternatives, there are plenty.  If nobody wants to accept Microsoft's terms, they can go somewhere else.  Most anti-trust legislation is nutsacks anyway because it doesn't look at the core question ("Why did the market consolidate to a monopoly for X?") thereby discovering if the monopoly poses any true harm to the consumer or if it is just the most efficient mechanism for the particular product.  Instead anti-trust legislation only addresses breaking-up monopolies to create artificial competition in the market.  The problem is, we don't know why the market had a single forerunner.  It may be that breaking up the company is far more harmful for consumers (generally how the AT&T break-up is viewed).  It may be that the market is going throw a period of rapid growth and that consolidating as much as possible in the form of a single producer eases transition from advancement to advancement, but that the monopoly will naturally fall apart as the market matures (as seems to be the case with Microsoft).

    They may not be a true 100% monopoly, but they've certainly done their share of trying to screw competitors, partners and customers alike.  "You want to sell computers with Firefox preinstalled?  No more Windows licenses to you."  Various FUD campaigns against Linux.  Trying to put an annual fee on Windows XP.

    Considering how computers are almost forcibly pushed into every home, regardless of people's technical knowledge, how large a percentage do you think is even aware of alternatives?  If Windows Update popped up one sunny day with a message "Please enter your credit card information for your Microsoft® Windows™ subscription payment.  If the payment is not completed in 15 days, your computer will become inoperational." what do you think people would do?  What would you do?

    There have also been other attempts for monopoly-like situations where multiple companies have been involved.  The Trusted Computing Platform initiative is one of them.  Imagine having your computer in control of media companies.  Trying to install a non-authorized operating system?  No can do.  Watching a movie on your old video projector with no encryption support?  Nuh-uh, go buy a new one.  Installed the same version of Office on two computers?  There, now all your documents are locked until you buy another license for $500.

    RIAA and MPAA are already rising above the law at an alarming rate.  They would very much like to have a pay-per-use system where you dish out a few cents every time you listen to a music track, perhaps a dollar or two for every view of a movie.  Entertainment is becoming increasingly locked down and controlled by the companies making it, with the spreading of HDCP and similar DRM technologies.  EA is doing similar things in the gaming industry by introducing the three-install limit to Spore.  If we don't fight back, we may soon find ourselves in a world where we must pay for anything we want to do with our own computers.  Except they won't be ours anymore, they will be owned by the companies that are graciously letting us use them. 



  • @samanddeanus said:

    Is .NET allowed to be installed in WINE or does the EULA only allow it to be used on Windows?
    When.NET 1.0 was originally released, it was my understanding that the EULA allowed it to be installed on computers, without regard for operating system. However, ever since .NET 1.1, which was included as part of Windows Server 2003 and "available downlevel as an update", it's been subject to the "Supplemental Licensing Agreement for Operating System Components," which means it can only be installed and used on Windows. However, Rotor (Microsoft's Shared Source CLI) and Mono (the open source project) can both be compiled and installed on Linux.



  • @tdb said:

    They may not be a true 100% monopoly, but they've certainly done their share of trying to screw competitors, partners and customers alike.  "You want to sell computers with Firefox preinstalled?  No more Windows licenses to you."

     

    And how exactly is that "screwing" the competitors?  It is their product, they can dictate how it will be packaged, plain and simple.  Snapple can tell Win Dixie that if it doesn't display their product at the front of the store that they won't allow them to carry it.  That is their right.  Would be stupid for them, but you get the point.   People are always talking bad about Microsoft for trying to promote their own products such as IE or Office.  Why shouldn't they? As morbiuswilters said: if you don't like it, you have choices.



  • @amischiefr said:

    @tdb said:

    They may not be a true 100% monopoly, but they've certainly done their share of trying to screw competitors, partners and customers alike.  "You want to sell computers with Firefox preinstalled?  No more Windows licenses to you."

     

    And how exactly is that "screwing" the competitors?  It is their product, they can dictate how it will be packaged, plain and simple.  Snapple can tell Win Dixie that if it doesn't display their product at the front of the store that they won't allow them to carry it.  That is their right.  Would be stupid for them, but you get the point.   People are always talking bad about Microsoft for trying to promote their own products such as IE or Office.  Why shouldn't they? As morbiuswilters said: if you don't like it, you have choices.

    And what if they say that if the store displays any other products in the window, they can't carry Snapple's product?  Or that if they even carry any competing products, they can't carry Snapple's?  Now suppose that Snapple has a 95% market share - the store can choose to either ditch all competitors' products, or lose 95% of its sales in that category.  How would the competitors compete at that point?  This is exactly the case with Microsoft: based on their monopoly on the OS sector, they tried to force competitors out of retail market on other sectors as well.



  • @tdb said:

    Considering how computers are almost forcibly pushed into every home, regardless of people's technical knowledge, how large a percentage do you think is even aware of alternatives?  If Windows Update popped up one sunny day with a message "Please enter your credit card information for your Microsoft® Windows™ subscription payment.  If the payment is not completed in 15 days, your computer will become inoperational." what do you think people would do?  What would you do?

    Several things you could do: 

     a) Download a crack

     b) Sue MS for violating their own license agreement

     c) Use GNU stroke Linux (with WINE if you need to use Windows programs)

     d) Make a GUI Interface with Visual BASIC

      e) ...

       f) Profit!

     



  • @tdb said:

    And what if they say that if the store displays any other products in the window, they can't carry Snapple's product?  Or that if they even carry any competing products, they can't carry Snapple's?  Now suppose that Snapple has a 95% market share - the store can choose to either ditch all competitors' products, or lose 95% of its sales in that category.

    Dell sells computers with Ubuntu Pedanticyak stroke Linux and M1cro$oft Windoze and also FreeDOS. I have an advertisement from Dell that has a laptop with Ubuntu GNU stroke Linux advertised on it as well as one with Microsoft Windows.



  • @tdb said:

    And what if they say that if the store displays any other products in the window, they can't carry Snapple's product?

    I, for one, think they have a perfect right to do that.

    Then again, I'm a contractor at Microsoft.


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