Do you owe a software company your soul?

contract-sign-clipartSo hands up if you read over those End User License Agreements also known as EULA’s? I’m going to take a guess that most of you did not put your hand up. Well you may have really just signed your soul over to a company.

In 2010, a British games retailer GameStation included a clause which allowed GameStation to claim the persons soul. They did it as both a joke, and to prove that people don’t actually read the fine print. (see

Of course there have been several cases where large software companies’ haven’t properly read their EULA’s either, for instance Apple Safari for Windows had a specific term stating that you were not allowed to install it on a Windows computer.

But even once you remove jokes and mistakes from EULA’s, the way you are intending on using the software could also be affected by a EULA.

Software labeled as “free” or “home” will often contain the clause “for private, non-commercial use only” or words to that effect.

Take for instance a piece of DVD tracking software. If the EULA has a non-commercial clause in it, you would be allowed to use the software to keep track of your own private DVD collection. But using that same software to run a movie rental company would not be allowed.

Whilst software companies may turn a blind eye to misuse of their software by individuals, when it comes to organizations using their software for profit, they are less likely to be forgiving.

This week, just do a quick check of the software you are running, just make sure that if you are running “home” or “free” versions of software that you are not also bound by a “for non-commercial use only” clause. If you are using software outside the EULA, consider looking at options for either purchasing a commercial license from the software company, or replacing the software with other software which does not have the non-commercial use only restriction.


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