Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, A Brief Defense of Mass Market Software License Agreements, 22 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 335 (1996), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/686
end user license agreement, EULA, software, license
In the rapidly changing world of personal computer software, the end user license agreement ("EULA") has endured. The EULA is a familiar component of most personal computer software transactions. Many commentators, however, have maligned the practice of standard form software licensing. A survey of the literature on the subject might lead one to conclude that there are only critics--and no proponents--of EULAs.
Despite the din of criticism, EULAs continue to be widely usedby almost every mass-market software publisher, even though the cost of doing so is significant. This Article explains the value of EULAs for both software publishers and users, and why EULAs will be even more valuable for distributing the rich variety of information products available on the "information superhighway."
Given the benefits provided by EULAs, courts and legislatures should seek to validate their use. This perspective is particularly significant in light of the National Conference of Commissionerson Uniform State Laws and the American Law Institute's efforts to draft an article of the Uniform Commercial Code which addresses software licensing (currently referred to as "U.C.C.Article 2B").
This Article first introduces the various forms EULAs take, andthen explains the main advantages of EULAs. It argues that EULAs provide valuable information to end users, and that EULAs permit software publishers to offer the wide variety of rights that are associated with the features of today's software products. This Article further explains why the ability to offer a variety of rights in a EULA will be even more important for the information products of the future. This Article concludes by proposing methods for improving how EULAs are used in the software contracting process.