A CDE Definition
The on-screen end user license agreement (see EULA) that is part of the installation of software downloaded to a computer. The term was coined as a replacement for "shrinkwrap." Before applications were routinely downloaded, a written license agreement was included inside or printed on the outside of the box the software came in. It stipulated that opening the box (removing the shrinkwrap) or opening a separate shrinkwrapped set of discs was explicit acceptance of the agreement.
There have been several court cases involving the clickwrapped license, and outcomes have favored both the software publisher and the customer.
(End User License Agreement) The legal agreement between the manufacturer and purchaser of software that stipulates the terms of usage. Pronounced "you-lah," the EULA is displayed with the installation dialog and requires the user to "Accept" or "Agree" to continue. Prior to downloadable software, the EULA was printed on or within the packaging and stated that removing the shrinkwrap from the box or discs was automatic acceptance.
The EULA generally disclaims all liabilities for loss of data in the user's computer when the software is running. It generally guarantees nothing except that a defective disc will be replaced if there was physical media. EULAs are so inclusive that if the software computed 2+2=5, the disclaimer would likely apply. Whether that would hold up in court is another matter.
If this sounds like a license to make inferior software, the first EULAs were written when operating systems were much less stable and prone to crashing, and even the largest companies were unable to test their software with everything else that users might be running at the same time. However, the issue of liability has never really been changed, and the customer takes the risks.
Does Anyone Read It?
Users rarely read the EULA because it is often long and full of legalese. In 2005, PC Pitstop wanted to know if anyone really does read it, and at the end of the EULA offered a reward if the user emailed them. After five months and 3,000 downloads, somebody did and received a check for USD $1,000.
However, the fact that people do not read the agreement is how spyware has been legally distributed to users. Some EULAs explicitly state that additional software will be installed that reports the user's surfing habits or performs some other unwanted function. See drive-by install, concurrent use license and per seat license.
Would You Read It?
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