Here’s a thought.
Unless my knowledge of Contract Law is completely rusty, both parties enter into a contract (any contract) as equals in the eyes of the law. It doesn’t matter that they’re Huge Corporation worth Billions any you’re meagre little Joe Public. Contractually, you’re equals.
What we do all to often, is forget that rather useful fact, and let the Big Guys walk all over us. That’s why End User License Agreements exist. It’s the Big Guy’s way of saying “We Da Boss” and laying down a whole raft of terms and conditions that no sane person would ever agree to. We’re bullied and coerced into acceptance – but we don’t have to be. We’re equals, remember?
If the provider can stipulate an EULA, then we, the User, can also stipulate an End Provider Agreement that basically states what (by accepting the purchase) the Providers agree to.
Here’s mine. Copy and cross-post as you see fit:
- 1. This End Provider Agreement (EPA) exists between Robin V. Stacey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and any Provider of digital or physical content. This includes (but is not limited to) purchases of software, music and movies in both physical and digital download form.
- 2. Acceptance of payment constitutes acceptance of this End Provider Agreement. In contracts where an EULA (End User License Agreement) exists, this EPA takes full precedence.
- 3.The purchase is a transfer of ownership of goods, not a “license to use”. Specifically, Robin V. Stacey retains the right to use, sell, distribute and duplicate any media provided by this transaction within the limits of UK purchase law.
- 4. The product must be of Merchantable Quality and Fit For Use as per the UK Sale of Goods Act 1994.
I’m sure more clauses will be added over time.
The important thing is that this means when you buy music online or purchase software, the EPA makes it what it should be – an actual purchase of a product, not a dumbass “license to use”. This means that it’s yours to use as you see fit. You own it. That’s an important distinction.
What’s more, it also means that the software, movie, whatever, is covered under the Sale of Goods Act (or your country’s equivalent). Licensed sales aren’t (theoretically – IFAIK this hasn’t been tested in court). So if that DVD you download (legally, of course) has a gawd-awful plot, or Windows crashes or doesn’t support your hardware, you can claim a refund – or even sue for breach of contract. Neat, eh?
What do you think? Can you think of any more clauses? Let me know in the comments!