[cc-licenses] CC User License?

Brian Erdelyi brian_erdelyi at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 6 15:25:35 EST 2006

I've been reviewing terms currently found in many EULAs.  The consensus with stopbadware.org and antispywarecoalition.org is that vendors who disclose the nature of their software and obtain informed consent should not be considered spyware or unwanted.
I sincerely believe that vendors want to inform users about their software and the terms and conditions of using it without being deceptive.  My concern is that EULAs are too ambiguous, long and inconspicuous for average consumers to truly understand.  I could show you samples from four different vendors on how they describe something like “contains pop-up ads”.  All of them describe it in different ways and in different locations making it next to impossible for a consumer to easily understand such terms and conditions.  Whether the terms include “user will be monitored”, “do not criticize this product publicly”, “no reverse engineering”, “do not use with other software”, “you agree to future terms without notice” or others, consumers need to be informed in a consistent and concise way in order to provide informed consent.
Based on my research of current EULAs I am devising a guideline to help others represent the terms of these agreements, particularly those terms that impact control over the user’s experience, privacy and system security.  I am not judging the legality, enforceability or appropriateness of a particular term.  Rather, I’m identifying common terms currently in use and proposing more consistent and concise language to represent them.  I expect this will help other groups advise and recommend consumers what terms to be careful of and why.
Once such a guideline is available I envision the development of additional tools and resources to improve user awareness so others can better choose what is acceptable to them and guide others in representing such terms.  This would be complimentary to traditional EULAs as it only represents a subset of conditions that impact control over the user’s experience, privacy and system security.
What do you think?
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