Other-worldy Agreements (part II)
Returning to this planet, our readers didn’t seem to like “Click Here” agreements of the previous blog post any better than Mister ScienceAintSoBad:
THEIR WAY OR HIGHWAY
Perhaps, as but one frequent example of the last 35 years, click ahead EULA’s aren’t enforceable or cost effective to enforce. So the companies pushing them at us (before we even get to see if what we’re getting is worth what we paid for it) know this and don’t care as long as we’re not violating their terms in a way that really or measurably hurts them (like public sharing or sale of reproductions of their IP).
A friend of mine was a camp ranger and as a young adult I’d help him open & lockdown the camp between weekends or seasons. There weren’t terribly big latches or locks to secure and it’s not like the buildings had alarms or bars on windows. He always use to say “the locks only keep the “honest people” honest” which may seem a little cynical but really is the way a lot of things work – including things like user agreements for soft-wares. The real pirates won’t care and the mildly tempted are dissuaded……unfortunately we who consider ourselves real honest people & paying customers are treated like the former and have to shrug it off or be left out. What else ya gonna do?
(Note from me: EULA means End User License Agreement; I looked it up.)
A STANDARD AGREEMENT?
From Dick Pirozzolo :
Sounds like a good campaign issue… maybe a “Standard Software License Agreement” that every company uses. That way lawyers and DAs can pick over one doc and then the companies that make it available could say something like
Check here if you agree with Standard SW contract 47b12.
Same should go for car rentals… who knows what those documents say until your run over someone’s grandma on the Major Degan.
Whatever happened to the handshake?
I agree that these agreements stink but there’s nothing we can do about it as individuals. The government needs to get into the action here. Hopefully, congress will take a look.
CORRUPT A MINOR
Yes – I have a solution. Get your kid, or your neighbor’s kid to click the check box – or just say they did. Since they can’t enter into a contract legally being a minor, you’re off the hook |-)
IT’S HOPELESS. GET A TYPEWRITER
Nope, ’cause when they try to eliminate all the legalese and escape clauses and explain in plain English what you have to agree to, it only makes the blah blah blah longer. Plus, what are we supposed to do? If we refuse to sign the blah blah blah then we can’t download or use whatever software, etc. that we need. OK, I guess there is always the typewriter. But try maintaining a blog on that.
Annalee Newitz (Electronic Frontier Foundation) says you gotta watch it. The courts DO enforce these dumb things. She says you may find you’ve agreed not to share information, not to criticize the company,not to use certain OTHER products, and you may have waived your rights if there’s damage to your computer from the product you installed. You may even be agreeing to all changes in future agreements which are subject to change without notice. (Reminds me of when aspiring Scientologists were, supposedly, required to agree that they believe everything they’re about to be taught.)
Laws do need to be changed and consumers need to get their backs up about these agreements. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad agrees. ScienceAintSoBad Rating (Newitz/EFF article) = 10.Image credits (once again): Comics at xkcd. SO good.