A Small, Grudging Advance for Contract Law

by on December 21, 2004

Self-styled Internet lawyer Ira Rothken has gotten a settlement from software companies and retailers that should reform the shrink-wrap license conundrum.

When the terms of a shrink-wrap license make the license enforceable upon opening the package and include a return policy you don’t accept, how do you decline the terms and return the product? If there ever was a conundrum, this is one, folks.

In Washington, lots of complaints about EULAs (End-User License Agreements) are addressed to regulators and politicians. But EULAs are contracts. The resolution to problems with EULAs lies in contract law – like the doctrine of adhesion contracts, about which I was expert in my law school contracts class. (Um, I’m not any more.) Many terms in EULAs may ultimately be stricken under this doctrine. So, good for you, Ira, and watch out, EULA-writers!

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