martedì 6 ottobre 2009

New EULA: how we screwed up with ours and we solved it

Hello world,

I guess it must be common for small software companies to screw up with their EULAs.

Our story: Tabbles was featured on (great btw) and with our surprise our EULA got a lot of attention:
(comments 29, 38, 63, 68, 71 (ugh!), 77, 86, 102, 115). Well, of course we "got inspired" from other EULAs... And since we have a trained lawyer as co-founder, we didn't feel the urge to run into a random lawyer's office asking to write our EULAs. As a result, we probably wrote "a bit too much".

The nasty paragraph is the (soon to be deprecated) 5.1:

"You agree that Yellow Blue Soft may collect and use technical information gathered as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Software. This information is to be used solely to improve products or to provide customized services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you. "

What Tabbles does in reality is nothing like this: all Tabbles (currently) does is automatically downloading an an xml from our site, in order to read what is the latest version of our software. The file is this one:
No information is uploaded in any way, and we don't even try to chek if your serial number is "owned" or "borrowed".

Why did we include this in our EULA?
  • Well, first of cause it seems that every major EULA has a paragraph like this... If Microsoft does it then we feel like we should do it too, without asking ourselves too many questions.
  • Second, our CFO/Legal guy didn't really know what spyware/malware/crapware was about, therefore she couldn't sense the menace hidden behind such a paragraph. I guess you need to be somehow geeky to know about those things, and our CFO isn't :-)

So my 2ct for today is: unless your lawyer is a geek, I'd advice you to spend some extra time explaining him what your app does and what you want or don't want to communicate to your customers. One day you'll need to sit down and think through your EULA. Not investing some time in it beforehand may backfire you...ok, no one got killed, but no crap is better than some crap :-)

The result? The paragraph 5.1 is gone. The updated EULA will make it into next release :-)



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