The Windows XP EULA in Plain English.

Most folks who buy computers with Windows XP on them never bother to read the End User License Agreement (EULA) before clicking the NEXT button during the initial setup of their PCs and even if they did take the time to read it they’d probably be no more aware of exactly what they’re agreeing to thanks to all the legalease it’s written in. So the nice folks over at LinuxAdvocate.org thought they’d do you a favor and translate the EULA for Windows XP Home Edition into Plain English for you to take a gander at. On the left is the Legal Speak and on the right is the Plain English. Here’s some of what you’ve agreed to by using Windows XP:

IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement (“EULA”) is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Microsoft Corporation for the Microsoft software that accompanies this EULA, which includes computer software and may include associated media, printed materials, “online” or electronic documentation, and Internet-based services (“Software”). An amendment or addendum to this EULA may accompany the software. YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS EULA BY INSTALLING, COPYING, OR OTHERWISE USING THE SOFTWARE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE. This is a legal agreement, and by using Windows XP Home you are automatically bound by everything in this agreement.
1.3 Device Connections. You may permit a maximum of five (5) computers or other electronic devices (each a “Device”) to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize one or more of the following services of the Software: File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The five connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through “multiplexing” or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections. This five connection maximum does not apply to any other uses of the Software. If you share files or printers with other computers in your house, you are not allowed to share with more than 5 other computers.
2.1 Digital Rights Management. Content providers are using the digital rights management technology contained in this Software (“DRM”) to protect the integrity of their content (“Secure Content”) so that their intellectual property, including copyright, in such content is not misappropriated. Portions of this Software and third party applications such as media players use DRM to play Secure Content (“DRM Software”). If the DRM Software’s security has been compromised, owners of Secure Content (“Secure Content Owners”) may request that Microsoft revoke the DRM Software’s right to copy, display and/or play Secure Content.  Revocation does not alter the DRM Software’s ability to play unprotected content. A list of revoked DRM Software is sent to your computer whenever you download a license for Secure Content from the Internet. You therefore agree that Microsoft may, in conjunction with such license, also download revocation lists onto your computer on behalf of Secure Content Owners. Microsoft will not retrieve any personally identifiable information, or any other information, from your computer by downloading such revocation lists. Secure Content Owners may also require you to upgrade some of the DRM components in this Software (“DRM Upgrades”) before accessing their content. When you attempt to play such content, Microsoft DRM Software will notify you that a DRM Upgrade is required and then ask for your consent before the DRM Upgrade is downloaded. Third party DRM Software may do the same. If you decline the upgrade, you will not be able to access content that requires the DRM Upgrade; however, you will still be able to access unprotected content and Secure Content that does not require the upgrade. You agree that at any time, and at the request of “content providers” Microsoft may disable certain features on your computer, such as the ability to play your music or movie files.
2.3 Internet-Based Services Components. The Software contains components that enable and facilitate the use of certain Internet-based services. You acknowledge and agree that Microsoft may automatically check the version of the Software and/or its components that you are utilizing and may provide upgrades or fixes to the Software that will be automatically downloaded to your Workstation Computer. You agree that Microsoft can automatically and without your consent put new software on your computer.
17. EXCLUSION OF INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL AND CERTAIN OTHER DAMAGES. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS OR CONFIDENTIAL OR OTHER INFORMATION, FOR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, FOR PERSONAL INJURY, FOR LOSS OF PRIVACY, FOR FAILURE TO MEET ANY DUTY INCLUDING OF GOOD FAITH OR OF REASONABLE CARE, FOR NEGLIGENCE, AND FOR ANY OTHER PECUNIARY OR OTHER LOSS WHATSOEVER) ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE, THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT OR OTHER SERVICES, INFORMATON, SOFTWARE, AND RELATED CONTENT THROUGH THE SOFTWARE OR OTHERWISE ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF THE SOFTWARE, OR OTHERWISE UNDER OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY PROVISION OF THIS EULA, EVEN IN THE EVENT OF THE FAULT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), MISREPRESENTATION, STRICT LIABILITY, BREACH OF CONTRACT OR BREACH OF WARRANTY OF MICROSOFT OR ANY SUPPLIER, AND EVEN IF MICROSOFT OR ANY SUPPLIER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. Microsoft is not responsible for any damages. This includes loss of profit, the release of confidential information, or the loss of your privacy.

Microsoft is further not liable for failing to use “good faith,” “reasonable care” or for negligence.

Microsoft is not liable even if they break the terms of this agreement.

The above is just a small sample and the rest is certainly recommended reading if for no other reason than to make yourself aware of what you’ve agreed to by clicking that NEXT button.

10 thoughts on “The Windows XP EULA in Plain English.

  1. Would it still apply to you if you stole the software & reg code?

    I think a computer requires MORE effort to keep totally legal than to let some things slide. 

    Makes me think of that lyric from Stuttering John, “I like to drive real fast because I’d hate to think I’m not breaking any laws”.

  2. In Britain there is an ‘Unfair Contract’ law.  I’m not sure exactly how it works but I know the courts have ripped up contracts they considered unfair. I know that saying things like ‘we’re not liable, even if we are’ is illegal.

  3. That reminds me of the legalese I accidentially read when having my university qualifications assessed here in Germany. I think I saw a “We may shoot you and then tell interpol about you if you provide falsified documents or accidentially omit a comma during your statements.”

    That said, I can certainly understand why a company with so much business (big target) and so many customers (bigger target) would try to disclaim all they can against potential suers.

    In Britain there is an ‘Unfair Contract’ law.  I’m not sure exactly how it works but I know the courts have ripped up contracts they considered unfair. I know that saying things like ‘we’re not liable, even if we are’ is illegal.

    I would expect such laws exist pretty much anywhere. You will notice that they do not seem to say “You cannot sue us about these terms.” anywhere.

  4. assessed here in Germany

    When I read that I had a nano-second of thought that you’d left our neck of the woods after a very short stay. Then I read:

    Should be “assessed here in NZ

  5. Ragman, I’m an American.  I just live here in Europe and make snide comments about my countrymen who are still stuck in Bushland. LOL

  6. I was directing it to ingolfson, but that’s okay, as long as it’s taken in jest.

    ingolf: I would expect such laws exist pretty much anywhere.

      It does in the US as well, but the real question would be whether or not the contract is unreasonable.  Not to mention you’ll go up against a legal department with deep pockets backing it.

  7. When I read that I had a nano-second of thought that you’d left our neck of the woods after a very short stay.

    No way, I’m here for the duration! wink

    Or until they throw me out. Which is what I am trying to forestall by jumping through all the hoops immigration is currently holding up for me.

    Even I don’t make a mistake of about eleven thousand miles every day…

    No mistake Zilch. Not even though they got to learn a lot about public transport and making good bread wink

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