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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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December 3, 2004

Who Let the Dogs Out?

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Posted by

Edward Felten, responding to Ben Edelman's analysis of the now notorious Gator spyware End User License Agreement (EULA):


There are two solutions to this overEULAfication problem. A court could throw out this kind of egregious EULA, or at least narrow its scope. Alternatively, users could raise the price of this behavior by refusing to use overEULAfied products. Realistically, this will only happen if users are given the tools to do so.


I would love to see a "EULA doghouse" site that listed products with excessive EULAs, or that rated products by the content of their EULAs. At the very least, EULA evaluation could become standard procedure for people writing reviews of software products.


Great idea.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Misc.


COMMENTS

1. Mike liveright on December 3, 2004 5:31 PM writes...

Note: Just an add on... It would be interesting to Design, Develop, and Implement a way for the browser to be able to access such a recommendation set. I suspect that It might be a Browser pull down menu set of buttons that might look like:

[Lookup list-a] --> Execute program/script that would consider a (User defined set of sites and indirect links) and the current URL

and the browser would return any sites, in the list that refered to the current page.


Thus when I saw a EULA, I would hit the "[LookUp EULA ] " button, and see if any of the sites that I though, via my list, were good review sites, had commented on the EULA that I was about to sign.

Implementaion:

1) The browser would have a "button/Menu" what would execute one of a set of (user defined) commands and insert the current URL in it. The command could either be a local program, a script, or even an external HTTP page

2) The LookUp command would be a local program that would accept the modifier as a User list of remote sites, and then do a remote "find" on the URL to find which sites had "discussed" the original site, or the exact page. It would generate a new HTML page with the remote sites and a short comment that they had, and present this to the user.

3) The user could then see the page and if they wanted more detail go to the specific site.

4) Of course then people whould have to develop the sites that could be refered to that would index the EURL and coment on it.


Obviously exact design TBD. (p.s. I just got info on: http://www.toolbarbrowser.com/ , it might be useful in this.)

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