Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why lawyers make more money than programmers


Recently I have checked the possibility to bring Microsoft's Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in the installation of a product I author. I already know that Microsoft products cannot be dispatched as is and I need a special redistributable version. Luckily, WSE3 has a Redistributable Runtime MSI.

So I run this msi and the first stage in the installation wizard is the end user license agreement (EULA). Now I'm not a legalist but the beginning looks promising:

These license terms are an agreement between Microsoft Corporation...and you. You may install and use one copy of the software on your device...

"Microsoft...and you" sounds good, and "you may install" is what I wanted to hear anyway. But the second item is suspicious:

You may not
  • work around any technical limitations in the software;

  • reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;

  • make more copies of the software than specified in this agreement or allowed by applicable law, despite this limitation;

  • publish the software for others to copy;

  • rent, lease or lend the software;

  • transfer the software or this agreement to any third party; or

  • use the software for commercial software hosting services.

  • Now wait one second. If I may not transfer the software to any third party, then how can I redistribute this Redistributable Runtime MSI? Or is this EULA just an agreement between Microsoft and the third party, in which case where is the agreement between Microsoft and me? Am I not worth at least one or two vague terms?

    Anyway I passed this to our legal department. I better go work on some legacy code, which comparing to this looks more readable than ever...


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