Watch Out For Freeware - Are You Alert For The Hassles That Can Come Forth

Computers & TechnologySite Security

  • Author Jose Sogiros
  • Published February 16, 2010
  • Word count 855

Are you also neglecting your software security? For Certain you are! That is, unless you are one of the 0.1 percent of users who do scan the End User License Agreement (EULA, also known as software license). Else, well, then you sign up contracts blind because that box filled with legal mumbo-jumbo when you install a program, yes, it is a contract!

Software security wouldn't actually be an issue, if all software licenses were unproblematic arrangements setting out fair terms of practice. Unluckily, most are endless texts with juristic patois that leave behind those few who do read them, tormented. Some shut in conditions to which the average user would object if he recognised what he was agreeing to. For example, in propagation to protection against cracking, many software licenses now contribute the software company the right to accumulate data about your computer and have it automatically transmitted to the software seller. Some, in particular software licenses for freeware, apply clauses whereby you agree to the installment of added software you do not want, some of it blatant spyware or adware. As a consequence, one might assume that the freeware is to blame for all the irritating matters that have taken place, however, isnt it the end user who doesn't read the legal material, who is to blame?

Either way, people do not interpret the EULA. When downloading and setting up software, we are usually curious about what the new software will bring. That EULA is just one more thing to drop time because it is normally not readable in a short quantity of time, therefore not read at all. But so, the following idea that then rises is: what have you accorded to when you clicked I agree?

Then, if all is specified in the software license, then that is as well what can assist determine about what you wish to have installed, or not! Indeed, particularly the software balancing at the edge of judicial boundaries will seek to tidy what is not wholly good. And you guessed it right: that is most often brought out in the EULA.

In attorney terms, an End User License Agreement is a legal contract between a software application author and the user. It is a license that allots the user the right to utilize a computer software in a specific and well determined manner. Commonly, a EULA defines the number of computers a user can utilise the software on, that reverse engineering or cracking or any other form of illegitimate piracy is disallowed, and any lawful rights they are giving up by agreeing to the EULA. The user is usually required to check a button to accept the terms of the EULA, or is said consenting it by opening the shrink wrap on the application package, or even exactly by simply utilizing the application. The user can refuse to participate into the agreement by rendering the product for a refund or by clicking I do not accept when prompted to consent the EULA during an install in which event the software installing is usually stopped. By the way, for websites, the TOS (terms of service) is the juristic counterpart from the End User License Agreement for computer software.

Remark that appending the negative matters to software has for the most part occurred with freeware, however, there seems a tendency recently to shift those said negative habits towards shareware and trialware, yes also the terms of service of several famous companies has been under fire.

An example is Googles Chrome browsers terms of service which contributed Google a non-exclusive right to display and distribute all substance transmitted over their web browser.

In fact, a elementary idea behind the EULA is quite well-founded: to protect the seller from software piracy. But the trouble is that software licenses are getting more and more suppressive all the time. E.g. Microsoft started in vista's EULA to disallow the installing in virtual machines though this is precisely what researchers and reviewers are practicing for their job.

It is lawyer material but you may wonder whether these licenses are legal. According to lawyers though, most of them do survive in court, the exception being if the text is not somewhat comprehensible. Another exception has to do with children who are more often than not freed for the agreements made this way.

The fact that a EULA might not be legally enforceable - for whatever reason - is of little comfort because it is being enforced on you whether you like it or not. Once the program is installed on your machine, the damage is done and it doesn't even count if the ratified contract were lawfully invalid. Already only by using the computer, the user is confirming his share of the contract.

The elementary thought behind the software license - making a fair legal defense against illegal software piracy - has long been bypassed indeed. Well, be warned, a click of the computer mouse could produce a good deal of inconvenience. So, only one advice can be given: shake off that blindfold, do scan the EULA, and that does not apply for freeware alone!

Author Sogiros is in surety computer application. As well, he advises in creating programmer tools to bring out better anti piracy program.

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