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Adobe EULA Demands 7000 Years a Day From Humankind 224

Posted by timothy
from the just-really-fast-readers dept.
oyenamit writes "When was the last time you actually read and understood the EULA before installing a software? Never? You are not in a club of one. Unless you are a legal eagle, it would be almost impossible to fully understand what you are agreeing to. Consider this: The Adobe Flash installer has a EULA that is 3500 words long. Adobe claims that the software is downloaded eight million times a day. If each person takes 10 minutes to read (and understand!) the entire text, they would consume over 1,522 years in just one day. If we put that into man-hours: an 8hr day, 240 working days in a year, that becomes 6944 years in a day. Turn that into a 50-year working life and that's 138 lifetimes a day! The Register deconstructs the text that we all blindly agree to by clicking the 'I have read and understood the...' checkbox." Also, never operate a GPS device in a moving vehicle.
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Adobe EULA Demands 7000 Years a Day From Humankind

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:07AM (#42179179)

    and then again how long are US bills and laws?

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:22AM (#42179401)
    A few years ago, my iphone decided to update itunes. A new EULA was presented to me that I had to agree to in order to download any more music or apps. I started to skim it to see if I could spot anything that might explain why they were updating it. Then I saw that it was page one of sixty four on the iphone screen.

    I think they've since fixed that with an "e-mail this to me" option, and I could have just not bought that Taylor Swift song right then and there (don't judge me.) Still, 64 pages? In a sane world (which the legal system is not), that massive shit of dense legalese would be clear proof that the EULA was never meant to be read or understood by the user. Just have me press a button agreeing to not sue Apple for anything. It's just as fair and makes just as much sense.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:23AM (#42179413)

    Well, is there any point in reading a EULA or any other online agreement? Seems like every one I've even skimmed has a provision that the agreement can be unilaterally changed -- by the company, not the consumer -- at any time simply by posting a new version somewhere. It's the consumer's responsibility, according to the agreement, to periodically check back and diff the two versions to see if there's something added/deleted/changed. So you might as well click, because even if you are OK with the terms, they can change at any time. Read it or not, the agreement you virtually signed today can be something different tomorrow. The one you read is only valid for the time it takes you to read it.

  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:28AM (#42179475) Homepage Journal

    They aren't enforceable.

    Unfortunately, often they are. It's more a matter of "technically, the law can consider them a binding contract", and it often comes down to a judge to decide whether or not it's truly binding.

    We've seen several cases here recently where a user clicked through a TOS and clicked "agree" which caused them to waive some rights, which ended up being relevant in court later.

    So in cases like these where there's an obvious "bad law" (or precedence) on the books, it usually comes down to who can afford more justice (hire more lawyers) to get the legalities "interpreted" their way determine who wins.

    It's a basic problem without a clear-cut solution. Companies need to be able to protect themselves from random people that will abuse the legal system. That's why boxes of q-tips have to say "don't put in your ear". But people need that same protection from companies that also abuse it with thinks like "agree to no class action lawsuit". TOS are double-edged swords, the problem is there's no balance. It's hard to codify "common sense", there's no easy way to draw a good line. It's both a way for people to protect themselves from being taken advantage of, AND a tool to use to take advantage of others.

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:56AM (#42179851)
    I could be wrong(it has happened before) but EULAs have never been tested in court in the European Union. Typically you only get to see the EULA AFTER you have entered a binding contract. And naming the terms of a contract after you have entered it is simply bad faith. When was the last time you got automatically fully refunded when you clicked "I don't agree."
    Also if you can demonstrate you didn't understand the terms of a contract it also gets voided. That shouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

    Nobody seems too keen to test EULAs in court because they move on dodgy legal terrain.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:11PM (#42180063)
    Good luck getting your money back if you bought it. That is the real crime here.
  • by Beorytis (1014777) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:13PM (#42180107)
    Ignorantia juris non excusat
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#42180481)

    No, it's like I walk into your store, pick up a box that says "Blue shirt" on it, pay you $50, walk out the door, open the box and find that the shirt that is locked inside a second box with a lock on it. That lock has a note that says "By opening this shirt you agree to allow our store to track your movements via GPS, take video with hidden cameras installed in this shirt and sell those videos to the Tosh.0 show if any of them are deemed funny"

    If I don't agree, I don't get the shirt I just paid for... I take it back to you and you tell me "All sales are final!" So what the hell is the customer supposed to do? It'd be one thing if you had to agree to the EULA before you paid... but after the fact?

  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:06PM (#42180761) Homepage

    It's a joke assertion that the average person should be able to read and understand 3500 words of dense legalese in 10 minutes too - infact I claim that *nobody* can do that, not even a crack lawyer with eulas as a speciality.

    A qualified person might, in an hour or so, feel *reasonably* sure what the EULA says. An average person could likely spend a day analysing the text, and stil miss substantial points.

  • by Altanar (56809) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:28PM (#42181059)

    Or use Google Chrome. It has an Google-built PDF reader and Google-managed Flash updates. You never have to touch an Adobe installer ever again.

    But if you're anti-EULA, Foxit is no help. Point of comparison: The Foxit EULA [foxitsoftware.com] is 3,683 words long. The Adobe section in Google Chrome's EULA [google.com] (which covers Flash) is 2,476. Google Chrome's ToS in the EULA is 3,983 words.

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