The Devil Is In The Fine Print

Viacom workers have to agree that Viacom owns anything they ever make in the “universe,” in, “perpetuity.” Use of the Yahoo! Toolbar expressly prohibits use of the technology to operate nuclear facilities.

Inane end-user-license agreements and waivers such as these are put in the stockades on a new blog, The Small Print Project. The blog is run by Cory Doctorow student Andy Sternberg, the a Master’s Candidate at USC’s Online Journalism program.

As might be expected, The Small Print Project is more about crippleware and not so much about signing your life over in waiver form when you go horseback riding.

Cory tells us Andy is, “…collecting readers’ horror stories about end-user license agreements and terms of service, creating a deep public record of an abusive practice that’s metastasizing.”

The site welcomes your submissions.

The Small Print Project

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  1. TPIRman says:

    Interesting subject matter, but what an atrocious site. There are only two (usually brief) posts per page, and every post is followed by that cumbersome submission form. Maybe the site is supposed to emulate the feeling of slogging through an interminable TOS screen.

  2. Sun used to have an EULA, I think it was Java Developer’s Kit, that was in an editable text box. So you could type your own agreement. It was quickly fixed but not before I had managed to type my own non-legally binding agreement that tech support would be performed by Scott McNealy personally, followed by fellatio.

  3. OnoSideboard says:

    Always read the fine print, especially when signing something in person. Even if you don’t understand a word of it, the salesman (or whomever is watching you) will think you know what you’re doing and is likely to screw with you. If you get a nasty glance for taking your time, say “I’m sorry, I’m a lawyer, I always read the fine print.” (Or, my wife is a lawyer, my dad is a lawyer, etc.)

  4. Angiol says:

    There’s a program called EULAlyzer that looks through EULAs for interesting language. Available at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/eulalyzer.html