The Feline Way to Avoid Nasty EULAs

From the Federal Trade Commission to Entertainment Consumers Association President Hal Halpin, there is a sense that End User License Agreements are increasingly problematic for consumers.

But a woman named Anne Loucks has found an entertaining – if legally suspect – solution. But then again, EULAs themselves seem a bit legally suspect.

When presented with a EULA, Loucks has her cat, Simba, agree to the terms. She has even created a rudimentary physical apparatus for Simba to employ in the EULA acceptance process:

As Simba is not a legal entity, I don’t really know how kitty’s agreements would stand up in court, but I like to think he would be responsible for any breaches of contract, assuming the agreement is even enforceable. After all, he is not even of legal age, at least in human years.

First, we must create a way for Simba to push the button. I created a cardboard platform with a long thin protrusion for pressing the spacebar, which is sufficient to activate most onscreen buttons after you TAB to place the focus on them.

Success!! He presses the button of his own free will. Admittedly, he was coerced and rewarded, but really, nobody forced my cat to step on the button and become party to a software license agreement. At the very least, we know he was not under duress.

The download begins and I have personally agreed to nothing.

Via: Slashdot

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. 0
    Wonderful Lizard of Oz says:

    What about the argument that reading through EULAs is so irritating that you just clicked "I agree" without reading it instinctively as part of installing any game?

    Or the argument that you clicked a button, you didn’t sign anything?

    Or both combined?

  2. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Question: Assume I already buy software and have to agree to the EULA when I try to install. On top of that the shop doesn’t accept the software back because the casing has been opened. How legal is it to force you to sign something to use the product you already paid for and can’t get a refund on?

    In general I just skip through EULAs, the way I figure it is if they screw me over they’re going to break european or dutch laws and are fucked themselves as well.

  3. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    That’s ridiculously awesome.

    Haha, the argument above about ‘intent to click the button’ is hilarious. If you’re on your way to sign a contract, have seen the contract, and are shot or for some reason don’t yourself physically sign the contract, or someone who has the legal right to sign for you, that contract does not go into effect.

    This opens up two forks of arguments, the first:

    If EULAs are treated as real, physical contracts then they aren’t following all the rules of real, physical contracts and should be revised. A real contract when signed can sign away, with no form of payment, all physical possessions of a person. Does a EULA have these rights? Can they legally bar you from use of the software?

    The second:

    If EULAs are not treated as real, physical contracts then how are they treated? All legally binding material is governed by a set of usually crystal clear rules. What powers does an EULA have? Can it do the same things as a real contract through the clicking of a button, or is it a verbal contract which, when not witnessed by a third mutually agreed upon party, is usually nullified?

    …in less serious news, I’m *SO* training my dog to do that when I cough and look at her.

  4. 0
    Harry Miste says:

    I think I have a new use for my cat, just above catching stray birds for my taxidermy collection and below something to hug.

    Wait… you shouldn’t have heard of that first thing.

    | XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste |

  5. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    As a Quaker I’ve had a lot of mental anguish over these EULA things.  Basically, either my sanity or my faith has to go out of the window in order for me to press that button (I either have to read and understand all that crazy legalese or I have to lie and press the button without reading it).  Maybe I’ll get my dog to agree to the EULA in future so that I can be a good Quaker once more.

  6. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    you do know that on SOME EULAs you can delete the text?

    yeah.. delete ALL the text.

    then you can click accept, after you have deleted all the terms.

    Even better solution.

  7. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    My computer has been infected by the EULA virus.  Every time a EULA is offered, the virus automatically agrees to it, whether I want it to or not.

    Wait!  Lack of responsibility virus!  That sounds more like…

    Nah, I’ll behave.  😀


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  8. 0
    hayabusa75 says:

    People?  Plural?  I don’t know about that.  I’ve gotten into some heated debates with other posters from time to time, but I’m actually quite cordial with everyone for the most part.  If you recall, I used to afford that same consideration to you in trying to get you to actually post meaningful comments once in a while.  That is, until I saw you start telling people (including me) to STFU and GTFO if they didn’t like it, not to mention all the tattling.

    Yeah, I know that’s in the past, but your posts haven’t changed all that much since.  Sure, you don’t post pics as often, but you still rarely (if ever) add anything to the topics at hand.  Personally, I think your detractors (including myself) have done a good job of laying off you lately, likely out of respect for the judgement laid down by the admins.  However, if you say or do something that I find completely asinine, I just might call you on it.  Happens to other people all the time on this site, you don’t get a free pass.  If I say something stupid or uninformed, I won’t complain if I get ripped.  I’d fully expect it, actually.

    "…if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you shouldn’t say anything at all."

    You know, most of the time I’m able to adhere to that.  Sometimes I succumb.  I guess we all have different tolerance levels for…other folks’ idiosyncrasies.  Personally, I prefer this modified axiom:

    "If you don’t have anything intelligent to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all."

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  9. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    No, you’re not a Troll. Not yet, anyway. Either way, it looks like you have a penchant for insulting how people post. You can plead your right to speak, I don’t care, I plead my right to believe that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you shouldn’t say anything at all.


  10. 0
    hayabusa75 says:

    So what now, I’m a troll?  Or I’m detecting one or something??  Once again, I have no clue what you’re talking about, but then, you typically don’t either, so whatever.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  11. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Either that, or it’s correct and nearing "Troll" levels.

    But you might be right and he’s reading it wrong. Get it looked at anyway.


  12. 0
    hayabusa75 says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me.  Do you actually believe that having your cat perform the physical act of agreeing to the EULA will shield you from legal action?  Even the original article is written with a sort of tongue-in-cheek humor.

    Please tell me you’re kidding.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  13. 0
    Anto103 says:

    Well there goes my plan to beat the EULA, I wonder if it counts if my friends get me drunk and I than agree to the EULA.



    _ _ Pops… If you dance with the devil, the devil don’t change. The devil changes you.

  14. 0
    Vyrn says:

    What if you rig this same device to release poisonous gas into your neighbor’s apartment? Guess who’s guilty of premeditated murder. (Hint: It’s not your cat.)


  15. 0
    Afirejar says:

    Someone already brought this up on Slashdot. Apparently, you’re still liable, if you get drunk on purpose. Someone even cited the specific case, which set the precedent on this.

  16. 0
    TehChef says:

    What if you got screaming drunk every time you had to agree to a EULA, couldn’t you then claim to be in an altered state of mind? Wouldn’t this then negate the agreement?

  17. 0
    Daiv says:

    Hmm. Interesting.

    I’d like to see some sort of Schrödinger variant on this.

    Is an EULA enforceable if it is simultaneously in an accepted and not accepted state?

  18. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    After reading the article over again, I have arrived at the conclusion that this is not a joke article.

    This actually looks pretty useful, after further review.


  19. 0
    Vyrn says:

    I am not a lawyer, but this just seems pointless to me. By setting up a device for this purpose, tabbing to the agree button, and then coercing the cat the push the button, you are showing intent for the button to be pushed. Even if you set up an elaborate Rube Goldberg device, with the intended end result of pushing a button, YOU have pushed that button.

    Anyway, has a EULA ever been challenged based on the arguement that it was never actually seen, read and/or agreed to? It seems like it would be difficult to prove anyway. What is the difference between doing this, and simply claiming that your cat sat on the keyboard during the installation? You’d still have to claim ignorance of the existance of the requirement to agree to the EULA before installation.

  20. 0
    MartyB says:

     You can argue that the cat has never agreed to the licence agreement because it wasn’t aware of what it did(the whole "meeting of the minds" during contract") but also, you never accepted it, you can argue the cat "accidentally" clicked it, and you agreed to nothing. 

    But that’s like stretching an elastic, starting to see it rip, but you just can’t stop yourself but slowly stretch it further, then it snaps and hurts you.

  21. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    I need a dog… [I hate cats, no offense to cat lovers, I like independent dogs that are also loyal when need be.]

    I want to see how the reaction in court would be…  I claim I was in an altered state of mind when agreeing to that crap, because #1 who the hell reads it in the first place, #2 who would actually agree to half of that crap anyways or would need to.

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