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Re: Legal status of software licences

On Mon, Aug 25, 2003 at 05:38:38PM +0300, Aigars Mahinovs wrote:
> If it is then I can imagine such scenario:

There are much more interesting scenarios to imagine.

Person A owns a computer.

Person B installs a game on person A's computer, and happily clicks
through the EULA.  Person B is not an adult so can't be bound by a
contract anyway, even if you pretend that the EULA establishes one.
Furthermore, person B has does not own this computer and has no
authority to grant any of the things that the EULA claims (such
as permission to install spyware on the computer).

Later, Person A notices the new game and plays it, unaware that there
is any such thing as an EULA.

Shrinkwrap licenses are even stranger than click-through licenses
in this regard.  Imagine a company mailroom, where for security
reasons all packages are opened and inspected before being sent
on to the addressee.  Who here is bound by the license?

There are many cases where the person installing or unpacking a
program is not the person who bought it, and/or not the person
who owns the computer.  They all lead to strange results if you
make such EULAs valid.  That's one reason why they shouldn't
be valid.

(One reason why they _should_ be valid is to encourage adoption
of free software :-)  But I really don't like the existence
of any such mechanism that can implicitly bind me to contracts.
Imagine a soft drink bottle with a sealed cap that says on the
side, "Opening this bottle inside a car will grant Soft Drink
Producer, Inc. the right to use that car's windows to display
advertising banners", and a UCITA-like law that makes that
a valid contract.)

Richard Braakman

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