There comes a time in every successful software project that one must establish one’s rights. It seems that what lots of people do is find some other company’s agreement and copy it and put their own company name in. They are pirating the anti-piracy language. That can’t help their case in the long term. Also there are templates you can buy with all the necessary legalese, but even they do not hold up in court, apparently. (As an aside, some companies sneak some pretty nasty stuff into those agreements, allowing them to install spyware and giving themselves rights to your work product). The fact that no one reads them and everyone knows no one reads them undermines their validity. Or something like that. I’m no lawyer.
Therefore I have decided to write my own End Users License Agreement, and being a fundamentally lazy person, I have decided to also make that agreement my blog entry for the evening as well:
Heck, let’s just be reasonable here. Jer’s Software Hut (the Hut) is depending on people like you who know the right thing to do. You know the difference between sharing and stealing (sharing good, stealing bad). If you need to ask a lawyer if it’s OK to do what you want to do, it probably isn’t. Why bother? The lawyer will cost you more than dealing directly with the Hut anyway.
Just to make it clear, while you can buy a license to use this software till the cows come home, Jer’s Software Hut owns the code. It would be silly to do anyway, but you’re promising now that you won’t try to reverse-engineer Jer’s Novel Writer or incorporate any subset of it into some other product without express written permission from the Hut.
I will give you the right, however, to make as many copies of this agreement as you want, and modify it and use or sell it to your heart’s content. If you publish it somewhere, I would appreciate credit. (I can see my EULA-writing career blossoming now.)
Heck, you’re not reading this anyway. I don’t know why I bother. I could put in that I have the rights to anything you create with this software, and you wouldn’t notice. You’ve already clicked “accept” like a good little robot. I’m glad I went with the cheap lawyer.
It’s not the final wording, but it’s close. I would be happy to consider any contributions you might have to offer. I think after I have a couple of beers I’ll be improving some parts.
There is actually a reason I use the tone I do (besides just for fun) – I know that no matter what the EULA says, it’s only as powerful as the lawyers I hire to defend it. I’m trying for a moral protection of my work, rather than a legal one. And if I ever did have to defend my rights in court, I think a reminder to the jury that stealing is stealing no matter what legal mumbo-jumbo they hear can only help me.