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Clearware for understandable EULAs

Brian Erdelyi is the guy behind an interesting concept called Clearware. Clearware is an initiative to make End User License Agreements, or EULAs.
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Written by Phil Windley on

Brian Erdelyi is the guy behind an interesting concept called Clearware. Clearware is an initiative to make End User License Agreements, or EULAs. In Brian's words:

Clearware.org is founded to help make sense of software and is guided by the fundamental principle that all computer users have a right to understand the terms or conditions of software end-user license agreements (or online terms of services) before deciding whether to purchase, install or use the associated software or service.

A worthy goal. While no official guides for how Clearware will work exist yet, there is a wiki where these ideas are being developed. The site includes a poll that, not surprisingly, shows that most people never or rarely read EULAs.

This initiative is similar to the ideas that have been proposed around identity rights agreements, or IRAs. IRAs are codifications of what you'll allow a site to do with personally identifying information, essentially EULAs for your identity data. Like IRAs, Clearware proposes that agreements need to have multiple linked versions that are readable by lawyers, humans, and machines.

Why would businesses agree to change how they do EULA's? I think if put to them in the right light, Clearware, like IRAs can be seen as reducing risk to the business because the codification makes it easier to build tools that provide auditable records relative to the extent the business is living up to it's agreements and gives users clear information about what they're agreeing to.

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