Those Pesky EULA’s

Lately I’ve been encountering websites with text on them or flash popups (which can usually bypass standard popup blockers) which say something like this:

“This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you consent to these cookies.”

2012-05-29_17h25_41

This is about as ridiculous as the End User License Agreements (EULA’s) which you always have to click to install a piece of software you have purchased or downloaded.

The simple fact is that nobody reads these, and this can have both positive and negative consequences. Click through for a great article on 10 Ridiculous Eula Clauses, one of which was fairly lucrative for a few fortunate readers of PC Pitstop’s EULA.)

Also included in the above article is the following XKCD, which points out how risky these “agreements” can be:

As a result, I would say that as the world’s most frequent lie, “I have read and agree to these terms” seriously trumps “I love you” or “The Check’s in the Mail.”

In the early days of its existence, Dell Computer used to include humorous bits in their magazine disclaimers. I haven’t been able to score a live example, but they looked something like this:

These are limited time offers from DELL that are subject to change without notice. Pricing, specifications, availability, and terms of offers may change without notice and are not transferable and are valid only for new purchases from Dell Small Business for delivery in the 50 United States. Taxes and shipping charges extra, vary and are not subject to discount. The Small Business site and offers contained herein valid only for end users and not for resellers and/or online auctions. Dell cannot be responsible for errors, omissions, or consequences of misuse of site and its functions. Offers not necessarily combinable. Discounts cannot be retroactively applied. Orders subject to cancellation by Dell. Software and peripherals offers do not apply to software and peripherals in the online system configuration pages, you must purchase eligible items through the separate software and peripherals online store. Shake before opening. Take only with food. Limit 5 systems and 5 discounted or promotional products per customer. If items purchased under these promotions are leased, items leased will be subject to applicable end of lease options or requirements. All sales are subject to Dell’s Terms and Conditions of Sale located at http://www.dell.com/terms unless you have a separate agreement with Dell.

Apparently someone finally decided that these were not dignified, and they quietly vanished, much to the disappointment of those who didn’t take themselves too seriously.

Despite the rare possiblity of benefiting financially or otherwise from reading a EULA, the vanishingly small possibility doesn’t offset the incredible hassle and loss of time involved. Software companies may be depending on this, but I’m not about to change my practices.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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