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January 21, 2005 12:51 AM

Broken: TrendMicro user license agreement

TrendmicroPatrick Malecek writes:

Note the very important first line of this agreement. Guess what I had to do in order to get this far -- yep, open the CD jacket. Hmmmm.


Reminds me of this rather infamous incident:

Posted by: codeman38 at January 21, 2005 01:21 AM

that is so common, in anything you do.I especially like the agreements that specify, that a program can be on multiple computers "but" you are only allowed to be in use on a single computer at any given time... really.. how foolish is that?

Posted by: Dragon at January 21, 2005 01:39 AM

"I especially like the agreements that specify, that a program can be on multiple computers "but" you are only allowed to be in use on a single computer at any given time... really.. how foolish is that?"

Not very foolish at all. That's the "Borland license", because it was first used widely on Borland's compilers, and it's probably one of the more highly-respected non-open-source licensing schemes amongst geeky types because of its simplicity: "use this software like a book".

That way you can buy software and use it both at home and at work, or on your and your spouse's computer, without having to buy two copies to stay legal. It also means that a company of 50 where everyone needs to be able to run some software which is only run rarely will only need 2-3 licenses, not 50.

Posted by: mendel at January 21, 2005 07:44 AM

I agree with mendel, the "Borland license" is generally far more sensible than the "you can only install this on one machine"-type license. After all, what you pay for is the *use* of the program, not the actual pattern of bits on the hard drive. Single machine licenses are sort of like a book publisher saying once you've bought a book, you can't read it anywhere but in your home.

Back to the original broken post, though -- I've often wondered if such agreements are legally enforceable. How can opening the package imply agreement if you didn't know such an agreement existed before opening it? Wouldn't that render the whole agreement invalid? I'm not a lawyer; does anyone have an informed legal opinion on this?

Posted by: E.T. at January 21, 2005 11:04 AM

I am going to have to disagree with the majority here. If software publishers want to license on a single-machine-only basis, that's their prerogative. Enforcing it is obviously another matter. The "book" analogy is erroneous. There are copyright restrictions on books too -- for example, you are not allowed to copy (subject to certain qualifications) copyrighted books just because you "own" them.

Posted by: Nigel Pond at January 21, 2005 11:12 AM

The book analogy is Borland's, not mine, but it's an *analogy*. Not "the rights you have are identical to those you have on a book", but "use it like a book".

I'm not sure who you're disagreeing with, though -- no-one has suggested that software publishers should not have the prerogative to license on a single-machine basis. A couple of people have said that they like Borland licenses, though, but you're not saying that you *don't* like Borland licenses. What *are* you disagreeing with?

Posted by: mendel at January 21, 2005 11:49 AM

Sounds like the voices in his head.

Posted by: Maurs at January 21, 2005 04:25 PM

That's funny!

Posted by: Taco boy at January 21, 2005 08:11 PM

No One ever reads the "ELUA".

Posted by: Cameron at January 21, 2005 11:06 PM

If you think our law's work well you better look

hard at them. It seem to me some or all in one way or so. thy cancel them self out of in forcement of them.Look at the past and here and now and to come.I shour hope thing inprove!

There got to be a better way to get along. If under stand you right. How can you by somthing

with out look it over and knowing what it all about inside? It shour seem dum wend we don't use good jugment.

just maybe there a lot pepole that lack commen sence. I don't mean hurt anny buddy feeling at all.We just don't do thing's like we did 30 or 40 year ago. We for some reaseand don't tech are young to think for them self. to wacth out for trouble and what right or wrong now day's . Please for give my spelling. I thank you for your time and maybe I'm wrong on this. I hope for the best

Posted by: Bob at January 22, 2005 03:39 AM

ET -- I wrote a paper in law school about the EULA that says "by opening this you agree to the terms inside." Basically, courts have no idea what to do about those kinds of "contracts" at this point. Most courts at the moment are leaning towards some sort of reasonableness standard, which means that if you complain within a reasonable amount of time, your complaint could be heard and attended to.

Short answer: no one really knows if they're enforceable yet. Courts disagree, and it hasn't really made it up to the Supreme Court, yet. I suspect that what it'll come down to is the terms will standardize at some point so that most people will have an idea as to what the terms mean before they buy/open the package.

Posted by: Mae at January 22, 2005 10:39 AM

Mae -- thanks for the answer. That was always my suspicion, that no one knows whether these EULA's are enforceable, but it's great to hear an educated opinion. It'll sure be fun to see what happens when a case based on this goes to the Supreme Court -- not to mention what happens in other countries.

Posted by: E.T. at January 22, 2005 10:39 PM

The Borland license is a great idea. I've been a long-time customer of theirs. Right now I have 1 copy of Delphi. It's legally installed on 3 computers. Why should I have to pay extra because I have 98 and XP boxes, as well as a laptop? I'm not going to make any more use of it with three computers rather than one, why should I pay more?

Posted by: Loren Pechtel at January 23, 2005 01:03 PM

I am really upset! I bought an upgrade to winXP pro on sale at Frys. I returned it because it said I could only install on one PC.

I have 4 PC's in my house. Can I install on all of them and not get in trouble. Or should I get a multi licence?

Posted by: Jerry T. at January 26, 2005 11:52 PM

I hate those cd jackets that say "by opening this you agree to all liscence agreements" I can't even read the liscence agreement. That's a violation of my rights, those companies realy need to be sued into the ground for this.

Posted by: BOB at January 30, 2005 02:47 AM


ELUA, courts.. COME ON!!!! Get a clue. That's way beyond what the original post was about. If a user is expected to agree to terms BEFORE opening the CD jacket, then the terms need to be provided in some other way so the user does not need to open the jacket. F$%$%-duh!? The terms that are shown in the screen capture can only been seen AFTER opening the CD!!!

Posted by: finally at February 5, 2005 10:24 PM

Actually, that part of the EULA doesn't apply because it wasn't shown to you before you opened the CD case. It's kind of like having a disclaimer at the bottom of your website put there by JavaScript, it doesn't apply to anyone using a non Javascript browser because they weren't aware of it, nor could they be.

Posted by: Mike at April 15, 2005 11:16 PM

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