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Apple, others chastised for licenses

updated 06:40 pm EST, Wed February 20, 2008

software agreements

The UK National Consumer Council (NCC) has called for increased, regulated mitigation of what it calls practices by software companies that "mislead computer users into signing away legal rights," -- including Apple. The organization is asking the European Commission to extend the scope of the Consumer Sales and Sales Guarantees Directives to include digital contracts and license agreements. NCC says its research reveals that software rights-holders are shifting the legal burden onto consumers who buy computer software, leaving them with less protection, providing companies an "unfair advantage over consumers."

The NCC shopping survey of 25 software products found a "widespread lack of clear, upfront information written in plain English." The NCC says that more than half of the 25 products surveyed did not mention on the packaging that the consumer has to sign an end user license agreement (EULA) before they can use it, and only four of the companies included a web link to an online copy of the agreement, and six more included paper copies inside the instruction manual that could only be accessed after opening the pack. On seven products the only option was to read the agreement onscreen. This means that consumers are unable to make informed decisions before they buy a product, yet are being forced to take on an unknown level of legal responsibility.

17 companies NCC has referred to the OFT for investigation are: Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, Chief Architect, Symantec, Magix, Nero, Corel, Sega, Nova Development, Britannica, Sonic Solutions, Twelve Tone Systems, THQ, GSP, McAfee, Kaspersky.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. e:leaf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Although

    I might agree that EULAs are out of hand stupid (it seems that we are "leasing" software when we buy it rathr than purchasing it), I'm not sure that government legislation is the right way to go.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    quality

    How about not allowing the software vendors to use the license agreement as a way of absolving themselves of all responsibility for putting out c*** that compromises our systems. MS would be out of business inside of a year! If someone makes a faulty toaster that burns down my house, they are liable. If someone makes software that destroys the data on my computer, they aren't in any way responsible? Something is wrong with that.

  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Ender/Leaf - Much agreed

    I have to say that both these points i've been proclaiming for some time also. Why is a buy not a purchase? And why are you allowed to write c*** code and not be held responsible. Sure, code is not a closed system like a toaster, but then again, why not? If the app is a closed system, then who is to blame if a problem occurs? The coder of the app, or the OS?

    Funny how we never thought to blame the bread company for their product jammer the toaster and causing it to fail. We always blame the toaster company for not ensure it could not happen.

    The OS should make sure the owner, itself, and other programs are protected. If an app circumvents that, then they should be help accountable, otherwise, the OS is liable.

    JMHO (._.)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: ender/leaf

    If someone makes a faulty toaster that burns down my house, they are liable.

    Well, unless it turns out you didn't pay attention to the 65 different "Do's and Don'ts" in the instruction manual. You know, the ones that warn you against toasting in the shower, using the toaster on anything thicker than 1/2" slice of bread, etc.

    Why is a buy not a purchase? And why are you allowed to write c*** code and not be held responsible.

    What's really the question is "If it's not a purchase, but a license, why won't you people replace my copy when the disk goes bad or is destroyed????"

    Sure, code is not a closed system like a toaster, but then again, why not?

    Actually, most software is a closed system. Except the Open-Source stuff.

    If the app is a closed system, then who is to blame if a problem occurs? The coder of the app, or the OS?

    You are! Duh! It's your fault for, uh, not backing up regularly. It certainly isn't the coder's fault for writing crappy code.

    Funny how we never thought to blame the bread company for their product jammer the toaster and causing it to fail.

    I'm sure someone has (this is America, we've learned long ago that you sue EVERYONE, not just the one who seems responsible - h***, people want to sue gun companies because someone got shot).

    The OS should make sure the owner, itself, and other programs are protected.

    Yet it is impossible to do this. As anyone will tell you (and all apologists will tell you when people complained about 10.5.0 bugs, "You've got to expect bugs. You can't make a perfect system").

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