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EULA Scanner

Finally make sense of all those software licenses you agree to.
  (+44, -1)(+44, -1)(+44, -1)
(+44, -1)
  [vote for,

Every day we click "I Agree" to numerous End User Licensing Agreements for each software package we install, but does anyone really have the time, let alone the legal expertise to read through each of these documents?

Enter the EULA Scanner. By simply copying and pasting the EULA into the scanning software, you can instantly analyze its contents and determine whether you truly agree with what its saying.

So how does it work? Well there are two stages. In the first stage the license is scanned for "spy ware" terms which have been identified by legal experts and loaded into the scanner via a subscription-based service similar to Norton Antivirus. Then in the second stage the scanner compares the other terms with the preferences you’ve set up to determine if there are any terms which you would not agree to. If any disagreements arise, you would be prompted with a “plain English” description of the offending term.

narphorium, Mar 06 2005

Comparison of Unwanted Software Installed by P2P Programs http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/p2p/
Kazaa's EULA runs for 182 on-screen pages. [waugsqueke, Mar 10 2005]

They must have read it here! http://www.javacool....com/eulalyzer.html
I think it was baked after you posted the idea here. [harebrained, Dec 09 2005]


       To some degree, background anti-spyware software renders this moot, but I like the concept.
waugsqueke, Mar 07 2005

       Yes please. +
silverstormer, Mar 07 2005

       Does the control most commonly used to present EULAs allow cut and paste (Win)?
bristolz, Mar 07 2005

       I've often wondered about the legality of a EULA. They state that you cannot use the software you've purchased in a a particular way, but this isn't stated until after the purchase. If you don't like it, you have to take the software back. Under copyright law, once the package of a copyable media has been opened, it can't be refunded - so what takes precedence: copyright law, or software licensing law? How legal is a license agreement that isn't signed? Why not have the consumer sign it at point of sale?
Detly, Mar 07 2005

       In many cases in English law it can be argued that EULAs are not valid - the contract is between the purchaser and the retailer, not the software company.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 07 2005

       For me , Its easy - I use only GNU General Public Licensed (GPLed) software ;-) But the idea is really cool. A [+] for you.
kamathln, Mar 07 2005

       [Delty], there is a more powerfull thing thasn copy paste. in vc++ it is possible to perform an extraction of text from any control visible on the screen. (Thats how many spywares work;-)
kamathln, Mar 07 2005

       I don't worry about EULA's. I keep a sticker on my monitor that says "User of this data processing station is not legally obligated to abide by the terms of any EULA or similar document whose image appears on the screen below, notwithstanding any claims to the contrary which may appear in the text of said agreement, and regardless of the labelling appearing on any button or link which is pressed as a means of bypassing any EULA which may appear. That said, don't click 'YES' on the spyware EULA's, idiot."   

       I figure I'm covered that way. Ink, light beams, it's all one.
Soterios, Mar 07 2005

       What would be nice, though, is a standardized EULA outline in which each thing one agrees to is stated in a simple sentence on a line by itself, maybe organized according to the classes of rights you're giving up.
Soterios, Mar 07 2005

       I've always suspected that EULA's contain completely outrageous clauses that no-one would ever agree to if they read them. Software companies could easily slip them in without anyone noticing and if necessary use them in court as a last resort.   

       "Are you aware Sir, that you have agreed to cede your property and estate, and that of your family for seven generations hence, should you libel or in any way denigrate the name of our company in any publication?"   

       Maybe I'm paranoid.
wagster, Mar 07 2005

       No, you're not. A reputable company put a payment offer to "a limited number of respondents" to its email address embedded in the EULA for an version of a popular computer diagnostic scan service. They did not disclose the payment amount of $1000. Months of downloads proceeded before anyone bothered to reply to the company. I think the link was about 2/3 of the way down the page.
reensure, Mar 07 2005

       Paraphrased (from memory) excerpt from a EULA from a popular P2P application:   

       This software will not collect , monitor or distribute any private information about the user...This software may from time to time download extensions and third party applications and install them conveniently, without any user input...   

       So they're telling me that they won't send out my info, but that they can and in all likelyhood will install, <b>conveniently, and without any user input</b>, software which will collect, monitor and distribute private information. Sneaky.   

       I do read EULAs. I know I'm one of the few. But it's kept my PC virtually clean for over four years. I've gotten hit by a couple of no-interaction activeX installations, but I've since reduced permissions for activeX, and have been clean ever since.
Freefall, Mar 07 2005

       Nice first post.   

       Oh krelnik! Never mind, I'll do it... WTAGIPBAN...
RayfordSteele, Mar 07 2005

       VERY nice for a first idea. +
DesertFox, Mar 08 2005

       <conjecture and unverified dimly recollected advice> I was told that it goes beyond local retail or trading laws. International copyright laws regulate what you can and can't do, as a seller, with copyable media (even though, indeed, local laws usually reflect this anyway). This remains unverified for me, though.   

       As a refund clark in a department store a few years ago, I found out that we were legally unable to apply our usual "return it if you don't like it" policy to CDs and computer games that had been unsealed.</c...>
Detly, Mar 10 2005

       EULAs are usually, at best, contracts of adhesion. As such, they are severely limited. Nonetheless, it might be useful to have something that would find stuff that weasely authors might think justifies their messing with your computer.
supercat, Dec 11 2005

       I dimly remember reading a PC magazine which had on the back page "thanks to anyone who installed last months demo cd, and thanks for the loan of your house next summer - enjoy Reykjavik"
Mr Phase, Dec 22 2005

       I hate EULAs. The VAST majority are contracts designed to do nothing more than take away as many of your consumer and property rights as possible, whilst giving some schmuck with too much money anyway even more rights to control what goes on your computer, and how.   

       They make them so long, IMHO, deliberately so you won't read them.   

       People who write EULAS designed to do such things (not ALL EULA's are evil, just most) are scum, and should be thrown into a putrid pit of filth and made to copy their own work out, verbatim, 1000 times using nothing but a quill and their own blood.   

       Am I going too far?   

       Anyway I like this idea - so another croissant from me to you.
ElTel, May 12 2006

       EULAs are all but unenforceable for non-business customers. Which means, de facto, they can say what they like but the user is still going to do whatever the hell he wants to.
kinemojo, Sep 02 2007

       Someone needs to make a tagline out of something like: 'By reading this you agree to our EULA'
marklar, Sep 03 2007

       Maybe, ElTel, you should merely refrain from buying products with EULAs like that...
ihope127, Sep 03 2007

       ihope127: How is he supposed to refrain from such purchases, given that the EULA is often not made available until after the purchase is made?
supercat, Sep 05 2007

       I'm planning a crowd-funding campaign (Kickstarter or similar) to start a service that would leverage the crowd... users would upload a EULA before accepting, and the service would respond with a quick report card giving information about parts of the EULA that this user has seen before, parts that are new to this user but many others have seen, parts that are totally new (read these!), and parts that have been commented on: http://blog.youluh.com
slylock, Jun 08 2012


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