I'm a Human Inbox

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sony's EULA worse than the rootkit


[Media: Article]

I complained earlier about Sony's Rootkit, and now EFF has translated Sony's EULA (End User License Agreement) from Legalese into something understandable by normal people. Amazingly, the EULA is just as insulting, or worse than their intrusive malware.

1. If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That's because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.

2. You can't keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a "personal home computer system owned by you."

3. If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids "export" outside the country where you reside.

4. You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates.

5. Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to "enforce their rights" against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this "self help" crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.

6. The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That's right, no matter what happens, you can't even get back what you paid for the CD.

7. If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.

8. You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.

9. Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.


As a customer I feel personally insulted by License Agreements like this. I feel personally insulted when I'm treated as if I'm going to steal from a business when I approach them willing to give them my money. Lately I've had department stores, video stores and movie theatres ask me for my backpack when I enter their store. There have been times when as I'm leaving I had to wait 10 minutes before they took the time to return my backpack to me. I have started to refuse to give them my backpack and leave the store instead of handing over my personal property in order to buy their products.

ELUAs like this seem even worse than the examples I listed above. Not only do intrusive and damaging software get installed without my consent, I have to agree that I basically do not own the content I just paid for.

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