[clug] sec: unclassified - Samba Team, on SCO and sweet irony

Sam Couter sam at couter.dropbear.id.au
Fri Aug 22 17:44:24 EST 2003

Pearl Louis <pjl124 at rsphysse.anu.edu.au> wrote:
> Hmmm...Now that I think about it, that does sound right.  Copyrights is about 
> the right to copy a work, to distribute it etc.  But still, what legal status 
> do EULAs have?

Somewhat dubious status, from what I understand (IANAL, so don't rely on
my advice for anything important). The EULA claims to be a contract
between the software vendor/copyright holder and the user. But a
contract must have a consideration, something of value that you get in
return for the value the other party gets. Since the purchase of the
software gives you the licence to that copy of the software, the EULA
doesn't give you anything you didn't already have. But it requires that
you give something (you give up the right to certains uses, give the
vendor certain access to your hardware, etc). So by some lawyer's
opinions, the EULA isn't really a valid contract and therefore isn't

I don't think these kinds of EULAs have been tested in court in
Australia yet, and that's really the only measure of whether a contract
can be enforced or not.

> EULAs put restrictions on how you can use a program.  I 
> always thought that was given legal status under copyright law?  

The EULA is just a contract, not a licence, so can put whatever
restrictions it likes on your use of the software. Licences can't do
such things, they just say how many copies you're allowed to make and how
you can distribute them (and maybe a few other things not including use
of the work). Whether or not the EULA is really valid is something I
don't think we know yet.

Either way, it's far cheaper to just treat it as if it were valid. :)
Sam "Eddie" Couter  |  mailto:sam at couter.dropbear.id.au
Debian Developer    |  mailto:eddie at debian.org
                    |  jabber:sam at teknohaus.dyndns.org
OpenPGP fingerprint:  A46B 9BB5 3148 7BEA 1F05  5BD5 8530 03AE DE89 C75C
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