EULA: What are you agreeing to?

A quote from Richard Stallman in The GNU Manifesto (1985) has stuck with me since I heard Ted’s lecture: “I cannot in good conscience sign a non-disclosure agreement or a software license agreement.” Thinking about anonymity and nodes and the purpose of the Internet – “all users are created equal” – means any company asking for you to pay for their software is inherently trying to tear down that key feature. What makes this worse is we don’t read them! We could be signing over our lives to Apple and Microsoft et al and we’d have no idea because we just flick through the installation set-up and as soon as the proverbial “I agree” button pops up, we click it.
The following video is just a little taste of what you already agreed to.

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2 comments

  1. Hey,

    Your post is vary on-the-nose and true in the cases of many people who have installed a program to their computer – and let’s face it, by this point this constitutes basically anyone who even has a computer to install on! I like how you have linked Richard Stallman’s view with such a common practice that we all undertake to install those programs. It is a link that I never picked up, however naive that is.

    Your inclusion of the EULA video is a very practical way to further extend your point in this post, and it does bring up the need to question, or second-guess, ourselves whenever we come across such an agreement with program installations. I know that is was only once that I, instead of mindlessly clicking through the process, actually attempted to read the End-User License Agreement before giving up not even a quarter way through because of the seemingly endless legal jargon that all seems to say the same thing.

    Also, thank you for including the part of iTunes EULA about not creating missiles and other chemical weapons. It adds a touch of humour to your video that lightens the theme, as well as gaining large interest in the video. Seriously, has someone been able to do this in the past using iTunes software for there to be a need to put this in the EULA? Or are iTunes just being creepily and scarily prepared for something we don’t know ?!

    Thank you for your post!

  2. Really loved your video made on screencast!

    Let’s be real though, why does the the terms and conditions section have to be so long! We live in an instant society, and I completely doubt that we should have to read a complete T&C’s before clicking agree! “yes i have read the terms and conditions” is the the biggest lie in the world.

    They need to at least present a short bullet list of the most important things we’re signing up to and then have further information for those that actually want to read the terms and conditions! I heard once that they put a prize in a terms and conditions agreement for a program and if they actually read it all they won a large some of money!!
    Great blog overall!

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