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Apple’s iBooks Author EULA Claims Publishing Rights to Any Works Written with It

Hiding dirty little gotchas inside of long, legalese agreements is nothing new. Companies have been doing it for ages. They're starting to push the envelope more and more, however. Sony has used license agreements to prevent users from taking part in a class-action lawsuit (They're being sued now). Not bad enough? Now it seems like Apple's EULA for its iBooks Author publishing platform actually calls dibs on exclusive publishing rights to what you write with it, like if Photoshop laid claim to images you created with it. Needless to say, this severely affects your ability to sell your own work.

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Textbook EULA Demands Happiness, Good Life

At some point in the future, after convergence when we can stream Pandora through our knee caps, Eugene Blanchard will be honored like a demigod for having written the first non-evil End User License Agreement. For the unaware, the EULA is that box that appears when installing new software prompting you to "click accept" before you can proceed. Typically, the EULA shields the software company from just about everything, and places numerous restrictions on the user. EULAs, perhaps by design, are spectacularly long and rarely read. As such they are believed to call for the surrendering of first born children, taking pounds of flesh as payment, and requiring the user's soul to be sent to a P.O. box in Southern California. In short, they are long, legalistic, and thought to be (generally) evil. Enter Blanchard, who published a free textbook on data communications in 2007. His book also included an EULA which also placed restrictions on the user:

Introduction to Data Communications since Revision 2.0 has the following licensing agreement. You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard, provided that you agree to the following:
  • That you will try to be a better person today than yesterday.
  • That you will exercise your body as well as your mind.
  • That you will tell the persons dear to you that you love them.
  • That you will defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves.
  • That you will not hurt your family members emotionally or physically.
  • That you will respect your elders and care for them in time of need.
  • That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
  • That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
  • That every man, woman and child has the right to be here and is equal regardless of race, creed or color.
  • That you will act honorably in all aspects of your personal and business life.
  • That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life.
  • That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends.
This book is available online in the hope it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
Compared to a typical EULA, this is a Fred Penner song performed by a ukelele kitten choir on top of a billion sunrises. A beautiful moment were everything is great, nothing is bad, and the only thing we have to do is have a great day. Thanks, Eugen Blanchard. You're A-OKAY. (Introduction to Data Communications via BoingBoing)

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Blizzard Wins $88 Million in Private Server Lawsuit

Back in October, Blizzard Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Alyson Reeves and her company Scapegaming, for violating the end user license agreement of World of Warcraft by setting up a private server for her own profit. On Thursday, the California Central District Court ruled in favor of the game maker and ordered Scapegaming to pay back "$3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney's fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages." What, you ask, is a private server, how do you make a profit off of it, and why is it against the EULA? Allow me to explain.

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GameStation Owns the Immortal Souls of Its Customers

In case you're referencing every Terms and Conditions contract and EULA you've ever clicked "Accept" to over the years -- because you obviously keep those things on file, right? -- just know that UK video game vendor GameStation meant this as an April Fool's practical joke. A joke that nevertheless affected 88% of their customers. As such, the souls of those 7,500 customers who never opted out of the "Immortal Soul clause" are safe, and bit-tech reports that the vendor is contacting customers with notices of nullification. Those who did opt out got a nice £5 gift voucher. Making you wonder how much it's worth to keep your soul...

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