So I decided that it was time for me to crank up Mass Effect. I bought it during a steam sale for somewhere around five to ten dollars. I hit the pretty little steam install button and am immediately bombarded with the most atrocious wall of text ever encountered by man. I don’t understand how there are mountains of socioeconomic studies dealing with the art of the EULA. I wish I was smarter so I could write it.
There is a growing religion (yeah, I know it’s been around, but there are some modern causes that are making it scarier) amongst companies that involves ritualistically adding words upon words to binding legal agreements between them and their end users. Now, I understand where all of this comes from. I know that in a society that is increasingly litigious you want to cover your back. Got it. The problem is that they are starting to cover their backs from absolutely unimaginable scenarios. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if these things weren’t also worded in legal language that the majority of us cannot understand or try to comprehend. Not only that but we don’t have the patience to read through all these things either. They know that. They know completely that we don’t have the time or patience to read 12,000 words on nothing. Frustrating.
They also know that they don’t have to pay anything to keep inflating the word count. Legal agreements have always been bad. The whole “read the fine print” thing has been around as long as we’ve had written contracts. The problem is we use to have a certain amount of space to get everything across. When you’re trying to keep it all to a page you would have to decide how much fluff to keep in it. Now in the “DIGITAL AGE” they can just load up on words. The lawyers are really the only people who benefit. It’s not like the long EULA really protects them from lawsuits.
While I disagree with the lawsuit, someone is successfully suing NCsoft for making the game “Lineage 2” even though in the EULA it says you can’t sue them if you get addicted. Now, he can’t win in real court because Lineage has so many players and so few of them have lost the ability to work or talk in public or poop in a bathroom or dress themselves (seriously? yeah, seriously). But the fact that it’s gotten this far, is ridiculous.
More and more Judges are saying that we, the consumer, actually can’t be held liable for reading all the EULA before signing it because they’re too long and contain language that is incomprehensible to the grand majority of people. I read the entire EA EULA and it’s mostly ridiculous. Same with the Xbox Live EULA. Most of it is gobbly gook. A lot of it saying that I actually don’t own anything and that at any time EA can do what they want with it and come take my first born son and probably knock up my girl if they want. It is absolutely too much, and I eagerly await the day when the EULA system explodes. You can’t protect yourself from everything. Perhaps just create better products that don’t need so much faulty protection.