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ATPM 7.10
October 2001



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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Robert Paul Leitao,

Software License Agreements in Everyday Language

You have just shelled out really big bucks for something you really don’t own. We own it. We also own you and everything you own in the event that we can prove that you have in any way distributed pirated copies of this product; reverse-engineered this product (looked at our secret code—similar to the “secret sauce” in the burger business but not quite as tasty) to come up with a product that you claim to own; or done anything that you might do with anything you really do own. Not only don’t you own this product, you don’t even own the media it came on. We own all that too.

In exchange for your big bucks we’ll give you a limited warranty that the product has a theoretical chance of working on your computer (our view of things, not yours) and a modicum of telephone support for 30 days via of our Byzantine customer service voice mail system.

We admit that you may own the computer that you are using to install our software. But if our product causes your computer not to work, it’s not our problem because you own the computer and our lawyers can prove that you should have taken better care of it. We may from time to time issue an “update” for our product. We’ll most likely charge you for that too. You might resent paying more bucks for what you consider to be a ‘bug fix.’ We’re charging you more bucks because we call it a ‘product enhancement.’ We can call it whatever we want. After all, we own it.

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Reader Comments (2)

Russell Nathan Hyer · October 15, 2001 - 14:36 EST #1
Robert May I suggest that you are attacking the evil M$ with their track record with all this licensing stuff, and then have the audacity to create software that doesn't work, so they reckon they'll stick a button on one of the menus so that you can "Auto Update." Whoops! Apple went and copied them. The way to bypass this, of course, would be to either a) ignore them (the licenses that is) as I do OR b) to hack up the installer so that you are greeted with the friendly GNU GPL, which fully allows you to do what you like with the software, so that it becomes something that cannot be owned by one person, but public property.
Bob Ning · January 25, 2003 - 04:49 EST #2
Can you help me? I want to obtain information on software licenses. I just want the information below:

  1. Different types of software licenses (which company is no problem)

  2. Interpret software licenses agreement (in documentation type)

  3. Identify software version (steps or method)

  4. Licence expiration date

Thank you very much if you can solve my problem.

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