Heavy-handed Macromedia?

Hey, Macromedia! What’s up with the Flash EULA?

Perhaps after the party celebrating the approval of the Adobe-Macromedia merger, some three-quarters smashed legal intern got their hands on the EULA draft and played around. On first glance it seems that:

  • you can’t install the Flash Player software on a portable computer (s 2(a))
  • you agree implicitly to allow Macromedia to audit your computer and slug you with a bill if they’re unhappy about the way you choose to use Flash Player (s 2(b))

These are probably liberal misinterpretations, but even so, they show that whoever was responsible for the EULA didn’t do their homework, and certainly didn’t pass the draft over enough sets of eyes before publication. Some of these statements are just dumb. Others, well… It would seem, reading the commentary at Slashdot (which at times is astoundingly unreliable, and at others, spot on), that at the very least, the EULA requires users to surrender rights which are not surrenderable under European/UK law. At best, Macromedia are guilty of inadequate research and incomplete due diligence. At worst, it appears that consumer- and user-base-friendly Macromedia is trying to become the new EULA playground bully.

Since when can’t I install Flash Player on my notebook PC (it is, and it’s staying there, and be buggered if Macromedia are going to audit anything!)?

Another case of a software company getting too big for its boots? I’ve met and talked with enough Macromedia staffers to know this isn’t their intent, but I’d be interested to hear from the proverbial horse’s mouth just what the story is.

Over to you, Macromedia…

One Reply to “Heavy-handed Macromedia?”

  1. For what it’s worth, I think you can install the Player on your machine, and I don’t think there’s any edge in conducting audits.

    Such language is usually (from what I can tell) inserted into licensing agreements to guard against specific cases, such as multiple points of distribution for branded code (forking vulnerabilities) or invalidation of business licensing (handset manufacturers, eg). It’s pretty hard to go from that legal protection language back to meanings which invalidate realworld practice.

    Something I’ve wanted to see for awhile has been a gloss, or interactivity, in such legal agreements. Lawyers can’t usually speak off-the-cuff like technicians can, but this Slashdot entry is just the most recent case where a group tries to read a legal document.

    Maybe a way to handle it would be for us humans to bypass the legal phrasing, and instead say “Hey, can I install this?” and “Hey, will you audit me?” and such…?

Leave a Reply