10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To

Ads by Google

eula clauseLet’s be honest, no one reads EULA’s (End User Licensing Agreement) – we all just scroll down to the bottom and click “I Accept”. EULAs are full of confusing legalese to make them incomprehensible to the average person – no one actually wants us reading them (you could use EULAlyzer, which reads them for you). That explains how these ridiculous clauses can exist in EULAs without any outcry.

I’m no lawyer, so I can’t comment on the legal status of EULAs, which are different in each country. But the enforceability of EULAs is generally controversial, and some of these clauses would likely be tossed out by a judge, even if EULAs were legally enforceable.

 iTunes – No Creating Nuclear Weapons

Apple’s iTunes EULA expressively forbids you from using iTunes to create missiles and biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.

eula clause

Are there hidden weapon development options in iTunes? Even if there were, would terrorists be thwarted by not wanting to violate the EULA?

Safari For Windows – You Can’t Install It On Windows

For six months after it was released, Apple had the following clause in Safari for Windows’ EULA:

Ads by Google

eula contract

Apple was pushing Safari for Windows via Apple Update, but you were only supposed to install it if you were running Windows on an Apple computer. The fact that this term made it into the EULA – and lasted for six months before it was noticed – shows how everyone, including Apple itself, ignores EULAs.

Google Chrome – Google Owns You

Like Apple, Google wasn’t paying attention to its EULA when it launched the Chrome web browser. When it was released, the EULA contained the following clause:

…you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

The EULA clarified that Google Chrome was indeed considered a “service.” According to the clause, Google claimed a perpetual license to publish and publically display your online banking passwords and everything else you did online.

Google quickly removed the offending clause. It’s clear that Google had just copy-pasted an existing EULA into Chrome without actually reading it.

Far Cry 2 – Enforced Morality

Far Cry 2’s EULA prevents you from using the game “contrary to morality or the laws in force“. Whose morality, exactly? Some groups would say it’s immoral to play a violent video game at all.

To make it nice and easy to read, this EULA is helpfully presented as a small, light gray text on a dark gray background.

eula contract

Microchip – We’ll Show Up At 3.00am & Audit You

Microchip’s MPLAB X used to contain the following line in its EULA:

Microchip’s authorized representatives will have the right to reasonably inspect, announced or unannounced and in its sole and absolute discretion, Licensee’s premises and to audit Licensee’s records and inventory of Licensee’s use of the Software, whether located on Licensee’s premises or elsewhere, at any time, in order to ensure Licensee’s adherence to the terms of this Agreement.

In other words, Microchip reserved the right to knock on your door at 3.00am and immediately audit you to ensure compliance with its software licensing agreement.

PC Pitstop – $1,000 For Free

To prove a point that no one reads EULAs, PC Pitstop once had the following clause in its EULA:

eula contract

It took four months before someone noticed and claimed a $1,000 prize.

Microsoft Windows – The OEM Restriction Retailers Ignore

Let’s say you want to buy a copy of Windows. You might think that you could head to NewEgg or another retailer and buy one of the popular copies of Windows, but you’d be wrong.

Look closely and you’ll see the “OEM” tag on each of these operating systems. OEM means it’s for an “original equipment manufacturer” and can only be installed on one computer – ever. At one time, Microsoft allowed hobbyists building their own PCs to purchase and install OEM versions of Windows. The actual license agreement no longer allows this, but many Microsoft representatives continue endorsing it.

eula controversy

The disclaimer hidden on the Details tab informs us that this product is only for people installing Windows on a PC and then selling the PC.

eula controversy

If you buy one of these copies, you’re violating the Windows license agreement and will have a “non-genuine” version of Windows. According to the EULA, you might as well be a pirate.

Ed Bott over at ZDNet has chronicled this problem and the contradictory information provided by Microsoft.

Sony & EA – No Class Action Lawsuits

If you accepted the PlayStation Network’s new terms and conditions when it updated back in September, you agreed to this:

Any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action…

In other words, by agreeing to this mandatory update, you signed away your right to a class action lawsuit (if that’s legally possible). You can opt out by sending a physical letter to Sony, something just inconvenient enough that very few people will do it – if they even read the EULA in the first place.

The EULA for EA’s Origin includes the same language.

All Over the Place – Only One Backup Copy

eula controversy

Many EULAs stipulate that you may only have one backup copy. Do you use a backup program, like Apple’s Time Machine or Windows Backup? You could be violating several EULAs.

Practically Everywhere – The EULA May Change At Any Time

image

Many EULAs reserve the right to change at any time, so it doesn’t really matter what the EULA says when you read it. I hope you’re periodically monitoring the terms of use of every website you use, since they all expect you to!

eula clause

I’m sure there are many more ridiculous EULA clauses out there, but no one reads the EULAs to find them. Do any of you actually read EULAs? Have you found other ridiculous clauses in them?

Image Credits: Annoyed Businessman via Shutterstock, XKCD: Faust 2.0

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Hacker Groups
Hacker Groups
106 Members
Internet Crimes
Internet Crimes
43 Members
Internet Piracy
Internet Piracy
23 Members
Internet Meme Origins
Internet Meme Origins
21 Members
WWW Fact or Fiction
WWW Fact or Fiction
20 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (63)
  • Steve Sybesma

    EULAs are a joke because:

    1) no one reads them, and;

    2) if anyone did, few except the most anal legalists would take them seriously, and;

    3) who the hell has ever been or will ever be busted on a small technicality that isn’t worth the company’s time to go after you for? you have to think about that part…if you don’t make it worth their time and money, besides you not caring, they couldn’t care less also…so the casket of contempt for EULAs has its last nail hammered into it on that point alone

    4) the are 100% about controlling you and your enjoyment of what you purchased; in other words, piss on that

    I worry not. I have never lost a minute’s sleep over a EULA. I couldn’t possibly care less.

  • hotdoge3

    The MyWebSearch Toolbar can be easily uninstalled.
    No Spyware, No Adware. The MyWebSearch toolbar does not collect any personal information about you (such as your name, email address, etc.). Further, it does not: (a) collect or report back to us (or anyone else) any information about sites you visit on the Internet; (b) collect or “screen-scrape” any search queries or information that you provide to any other web-sites; (c) serve pop-ups when you are on other websites; or (d) collect or report back to us (or anyone else) any data regarding your computer keystrokes or other data unrelated to the services the Toolbar provides.
    The MyWebSearch toolbar also uses “cookies”.
    ? so it all GOOD ? I don’t think so ?
    _______________________________________________________________
    Yazzle Games – Your pass to everything free and fun. (nice fun ? not my likening)

    Functionality. The Company offers some of the most popular software applications available on the Internet, such as screen savers, games, ring tones, and instant messenger applications, in exchange for your agreement also to install Outerinfo, the Company’s advertising software. As a result of installing the Company’s Software, you will see occasional pop-up or pop-under ads based on your online activities.

  • Asangansi

    LOL!!!

  • Noi Kristinsson

    In regards to google drive EULA. We own what we make and no EULA can change that by clicking I AGREE.
    It is stated in Berne Convention, among other things:

    Article 3
    The protection of this Concention shall apply to:
    (a) authors who are nationals of one of the countries of the Union, for their works, whether pulished or not;

    Article 6bis
    (1) Independently of the author’s economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.

    Article 9
    (1) Authors of literary and artistic works protected by this Convention shall have the exclusive right of authorizing the reproduction of these works, in any manner or form.

    The berne convention was first written in 1886 and latest update is from 1979 and most countries in the world agree to that license. Which literally says: Your work is your work, you own it and no one can take that ownership away.

    At most one could assign a Creative commons license to it once published, but since your email is not published only the standard copyright protections apply.

    • Chris Hoffman

      Interesting. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand all the details.

      Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that a EULA asked for more than the law allowed it to. They try to overreach a lot.

  • john_atte_kiln

    Well, this is all very well, and jolly amusing and all thoses things, but tell us this … what can you do if you don’t agree with a clause? There are never facilities to do qualified agrees, so what then? As far as I can see the only choice is to not install and that’s not useful. What do you suggest MakeUseOf? Amaze us.

    • Chris Hoffman

      All you can really do is not install it. I’ve also seen cute programs that will let you modify they EULA in the box before clicking agree — but I don’t think anyone really believes that will change the contract.

      If you don’t agree, either don’t install it or shrug and install it anyway. Honestly, even lawyers don’t sit down and read EULAs for the programs they install. They’re not really meant to be read.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.