Enforceability of EULAs

Don Shelkey, the author of Enforceability of EULA’s [1] is a lawyer (not providing legal advice, of course). This article provides a quick review of how the courts have viewed End User License Agreements. It appears that in many cases, a click-through license agreement is enforceable as a contract. Good to know if you’re either clicking through, or creating/choosing a EULA for your software.

This still leaves the GPL untested. Given that there’s no “consideration” for GPLed software, and that you generally don’t even clickthrough and many GPLed packages, the GPL will probably still have its day in court.

[1] [link goes to MirrorDot because the original seems to have gone off the air]

3 thoughts on “Enforceability of EULAs”

  1. Its not quite true that GPL hasn’t had its day in court. Its been tested (and won) in Germany.

    Obviously this is not an international result (anymore than a US or UK legal case would be) but it bodes well

  2. More to the point, the GPL isn’t a contract, and it doesn’t control your *use* of the software, only copying.

    This is a common misinterpretation of the GPL. Notice for example that in SCO v. IBM, IBM countersued for “GPL violation”, but if you read the actual complaint, they’re suing for *copyright infringement*, because SCO doesn’t have a valid license under the GPL, due to repudiating it and distributing under more restrictive terms.

    In other words, following the conditions of the GPL gives you a shield against copyright infringement charges. It is not a contract, but a conditional grant of permission.

  3. D’oh. I knew that, but I forgot about it. Of course, that’s right. The GPL is strictly a license to a copyrighted work. That should be pretty clear cut.

    Thanks for setting me straight!

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