End User License Agreements – Let's get real folks
I’ve been talking recently about the importance of End User License Agreements (EULAs) when working with fonts and typography. I’ve heard back from a number of users who wish that these documents were more easily understood and readily available for reference.
Well, here’s the good news. While at a recent conference at Microsoft called The Business of Type, there was a definite consensus that making EULAs clear, explicit and readable was desirable. We’re not all there yet, but we’re definitely moving down the path toward transparency and a decent process.
Take for example, John Collins of MyFonts gave an interesting presentation at type conference. His company takes an open approach to license agreements.
- All licenses are publicly accessible from the MyFonts.com website.
- You are given a chance to review the EULA as you purchase fonts as well as any time after from your order history on the MyFonts.com site.
- The installer presents the license during the install process.
- Updated licenses only apply to future purchases.
The MyFonts.com model doesn’t make you jump through hoops to understand what you’re purchasing, and is fairly straightforward. This is the way that licensing should work. Yet, from what I’ve seen there are still some foundries and software companies out there need to update their licensing processes.
For example, when you install software from Extensis, you will always be presented with a copy of the EULA in the installer. And, if you can’t easily read the license in the installer window, we always install a copy of the EULA for you to print, review and keep. We will always present a copy of the EULA in our Help systems for Extensis Portfolio as well as in the forthcoming Universal Type Server product.
Since not all companies are being so open with their licenses, I would like to make a public call for all companies who make software (fonts are software after all) to handle EULA in the following manner:
- Write EULAs in plain language, not legalese. Users want to understand these agreements – no one likes to go to court.
- Display license agreements in as many locations as possible – on the web, in the installer, installed with the product, etc.
- Clearly delineate EULA variations available. For example, if for an extra cost users will be allowed to transfer fonts to a printer, make the options clearly understood, even if pricing is not immediately disclosed.
- Be reasonable. Most users want to do the right thing. If you find out about a license violation, approach the situation politely, without an immediate legal threat. Even with digital piracy rampant these days, some polite conversation goes a long way, and will more likely earn you a friend than a foe.
Is there something else that you think companies should do to make licensing easier? Let me know in the comments and I’ll send you some stuff from my pile of Extensis swag.
As always, if you ever have a question about the Extensis EULA, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our corporate sales representatives. They are happy to discuss all of your concerns.