Could it Pay to Read that EULA? – Incentivising to Increase Consumer Readership by Michela Fiorido

After reading Roch’s posts and thinking more about EULAs, I got to brainstorming some ideas that might increase consumer readership. Some might ask why it matters that consumers read EULAs in the first place and some might ask why companies should care to get consumers to read their agreements. Consumers should read EULAs so that they are made aware of clauses that a lot would not agree to. An example is EA and their new game service Origin where, originally, before it stirred up so much attention, the EULA stated that by installing the application, permission is given to “collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer, operating system, application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware.” In other words, you are giving EA access to your computer hard drive.

On a lighter note – you could get $1,000 like this lucky person for reading a EULA:

So why then, should companies care to get people to read EULAs to the point of providing incentives? Because maybe then, if a judge knows that a person has scrutinized the agreement, it might actually be enforceable.

Ideas to increase consumer readership:

Sprinkle in various prizes throughout the agreement, like PC Pitstop did in the link posted above. These could be monetary prizes or they could be a code for unlocking a special weapon, character, or level in the game you have purchased.

Provide a list of code words, ask the consumer to locate them all throughout the agreement. When they are found, the specific paragraph numbers are sent back to the company and the consumer is entered into a draw for a prize.

The most drastic but most effective – not allow the consumer to play the game until they read the agreement. Random letters, code, numbers or characters will be strategically placed throughout the agreement. The consumer must locate them all, in order, and input it into the opening screen of the game in order to begin playing.

Of course with these comes the issue of transferability, if you sell your game, the password has already been used and the new user will have no incentive to read the agreement.

Any other ideas/thoughts on ways to increase EULA readership? Is it even necessary? And even then, will the EULA be enforceable?

5 thoughts on “Could it Pay to Read that EULA? – Incentivising to Increase Consumer Readership by Michela Fiorido

  1. Tyler Dennis

    “not allow the consumer to play the game until they read the agreement.”

    I can only imagine the backlash from forcing an already time-pressed gamer to read through a EULA and test whether the reading has occurred. Some of the more sophisticated users will begin modifying the installs to circumvent such things to save time and tediousness. It’d have to be a really, really good game if I’m to sit down and read some document in legaleeze. Should the industry turn to this practice into a norm, I suspect we’ll see an increase in the correlation between video games and gun violence.

    1. Michela

      Haha^….of course then, to adjust to this companies would have to shorten and synthesize their EULAs – which is really what should just be done in the first place!

  2. Jon Festinger, Q.C.

    How about giving people a choice. For example, a la Creative Commons – here are 6 different flavours of agreement so you can customize to your needs. Then consumers may want to get more involved and reflective.

    Not to be a killjoy, but the darker question that may be worth asking…and which relates to how the Common Law generally treats contractual agreement (objective form over subjective understanding)…is do the companies really want you to read their EULA (or just click “I Agree”)?


  3. Michela

    Good point^ ….perhaps an external consumer protection body could be the one to administer such measures? That way, one of the aforementioned methods to increase consumer readership would be standardized and this new external body could take the flak for such annoying measures as opposed to the game publishers.


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