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Anti-EULA script removes offending text

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Security for virtualized datacentres

An imaginative person has created a VB script which will search for an End User License Agreement (EULA) in temporary files created during the installation of a program or application, and remove or replace the text so the user can truthfully claim never to have seen it.

It's an interesting approach to one of the more irritating among numerous toxic by-products of the New Economy. Because software makers presume users to be bound by text which is read and agreed to after the sale, the idea here is to undermine the presumption on which the agreement is based.

It's a bit facile, and probably not legally effective for a hundred reasons; but it is a fun idea which gives us another way to look at a controversial feature of modern computing. An amusing and quite clever substitute for EULA boilerplate, which helps illuminate its absurdity, has been posted here.

"Software manufacturers give the appearance of a sale (you buy it in a standard retail store, you pay sales tax, etc.), but after they have your money they spring this 'agreement' on you and suddenly it's a lease. Ladies and gentlemen, this is known as _fraud_," the author says.

Notably, he distinguishes between copyright, which he says he respects, and arbitrary restrictions on the use of a purchased product.

"For no other type of product would we consumers tolerate this nonsense -- not even other copyrighted works like books or CDs. When you buy something it's yours and only the _law_ can restrict how you use it, not the manufacturer. Copyright gives authors the power to prevent others from publishing their work, but it is not a blanket license for them to dictate how people use it. However, courts have been slow to apply the First Sale doctrine to software, and I am impatient. By running this script you sidestep the issue entirely."

Well, perhaps not entirely. He notes that the script could be a violation of the DMCA, but concludes that this is just one more reason for Americans to harangue their humble Representatives in Congress.

Anyone wishing to play around with the script can copy it here. ®

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