Feeds

Anti-EULA script removes offending text

See-no-evil

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.