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  Lawsuit challenges Microsoft licensing
Time: 16:50 EST/21:50 GMT | News Source: ZDNet | Posted By: Robert Stein

A California woman is suing Microsoft, Symantec and some software retailers, claiming the companies "concocted a scheme" to mislead consumers by requiring them to consent to software licensing agreements they haven't read. The suit, filed Friday in Marin County Superior Court in San Rafael, Calif., seeks class-action status on behalf of all Californians who've bought software including Norton Antivirus 2002, Norton Systemworks and Windows XP Upgrade.

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#1 By 2459 (24.170.151.19) at 2/10/2003 6:08:54 PM
1&2 - Actually, the issue was that CompUSA wouldn't accept return of the product after she refused the EULA, because the product box had been opened.

Still, this is a retailer issue since MS states on the box that you can return the product for a refund if you don't accept the EULA. It is dumb, however, in that she could have requested a EULA from MS and Symantec before purchasing the products, and she could have checked the store's policy on open-box returns.

I think she got pissed when she found she couldn't install the software on multiple computers. :-) Although, as far as MS goes, they state on the outside of the Windows XP box that it is licensed for one computer and contains PA.

This post was edited by n4cer on Monday, February 10, 2003 at 18:10.

#2 By 3653 (63.162.177.140) at 2/10/2003 6:21:49 PM
Wouldn't she also have the exact same complaint with video game makers? The license is "in the box" and the store won't accept returns.

And what about a DVD movie? same thing. And a music CD? same thing.

#3 By 13030 (12.238.187.82) at 2/10/2003 9:43:56 PM
Just another reminder that lawyers combined with software makers yields a most unpleasant concoction. I think this lawsuit may serve as a reality check for the excessive licensing schemes that have been forced upon us.

Obviously, software companies and retailers need to get their acts together to facilitate returns with respect to EULAs contained inside shrink-wrapped software packages.

What I find most disturbing are the EULAs you must agree to for updates and security patches. Unfortunately, software manufacturers use these opportunities to impose further restrictions and legal gibberish beyond the original software EULA. Realistically, why should any person have to read a EULA for a simply bug fixing patch? I already robotically clicked the "Agree" button when I first wanted to install the software.

#4 By 135 (208.50.206.187) at 2/10/2003 10:23:07 PM
Oh, the issue of EULAs and such is going to have to be taken up by Congress at some point.

It won't happen any time soon, and maybe that's a good thing. Work out some of the issues in the courts and start to understand the issues better... then codify the outstanding issues and such into law to correct the problems.

#5 By 2231 (164.86.99.3) at 2/11/2003 9:48:59 AM
If she wins how will this affect the purchase of a new computer and the first time I turn it on I do not accept the XP EULA? Vendors may have to put a price on preloaded software.

This has been a sticky issue for some time for non-windows users.

#6 By 6859 (206.156.242.36) at 2/11/2003 9:51:44 AM
This situation cen easily be fixed: have a print out of the EULA available in the store next to the product. That way she can read the EULA before buying the product--and before it is even displayed during install. This way nobody can bitch about it. Solved! :)

#7 By 1845 (207.173.73.201) at 2/11/2003 6:33:13 PM
FW, perhaps (as usual) you missed what was already said. Specifically as regards Microsoft, you can send the product back to them for a full refund if you refuse the EULA. I've done it myself. It works.

#8 By 2960 (156.80.64.132) at 2/12/2003 9:07:49 AM
You people are totally missing the point.

The point of the Lawsuit is that the EULA is on the INSIDE of the box, where it cannot be read UNTIL it is purchased. If, after purchase and during installation, you do not agree to the EULA, in most cases you have no recourse to return the software for a refund.

It's a valid case and everyone should be behind it.

This is not necessarily an anti-Microsoft deal here so everyone can put down their swords for heavens sake.

TL

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