(End User License Agreement) The legal agreement between the manufacturer and purchaser of software that stipulates the terms of usage. The EULA is displayed on screen at time of installation and requires that the user click "Accept" or "I Agree," otherwise the software will not install.|
The license generally disclaims all liabilities for what might happen in the user's computer when the software is running. It generally guarantees nothing except that the disk will be replaced if defective, providing the software is distributed on physical media. If this arrangement sounds like a license to make inferior software, one has to consider that it is impossible for even the largest vendor to test a program in every possible configuration users might have in their computers. Some combination of hardware failure and/or software bug can always cause a program to crash and cause the loss of whatever data are in the machine at that time. However, EULAs are very inclusive, and even if the software added 2 + 2 and yielded 5, the disclaimer would generally apply.
Does Anyone Read It?
Large companies read license agreements very carefully for major procurements, but it is a known fact that the average user hardly ever reads the EULA when installing a program, because it is often lengthy and full of legalese. One company put a notice at the end of its EULA offering a thousand dollars to the first claimant, who theoretically would have read through it all. It took four months to pay off, so the story goes.
However, the fact that people do not read the agreement is how some spyware has been legally distributed to users. Some EULAs have explicitly stated that, along with the program the user expects to install, additional software is included that will report the user's surfing habits or perform some other undesirable function. See clickwrap, concurrent use license and per seat license.
This EULA came via iTunes to the iPhone. Although very well written and quite readable, the EULA is requesting agreement to 55 screenfuls of text. Most likely, everyone clicked Agree, trusting that Apple is an ethical company that means no harm but takes reasonable measures to protect itself.