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User agreement

Posted on 2004-08-25
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hi, This isn't a programming question but I'm sure alot of you have released programs and so can advise me on this. I have made a freeware program and I was wondering what I needed to do in the way of user agreement. Do I just include a text file just saying I can't be responsible for any ill effects that the program may cause or do I need to have the user accept a user agreement before installing. Do I need a user agreement at all?

thanks, Jon
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Question by:acsell
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zonaltech earned 250 total points
ID: 11896531
This has always been a tricky issue enforceability-wise, but if I have to put a user agreement, I usually make a small notice that has Agree or Disagree, and if Disagree is clicked, the install is aborted. It is also a good idea to include a copy of the agreement in a text file located with the installed application, in case they say "I never got a chance to read it!". You can notify them/advise them to read this copy as part of the acceptance procedure.

Hope this helps!
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by:acsell
ID: 11897712
Thank you zonaltech, that is a good idea. I was thinking of releasing it under GNU General Public Licence. I think I would need to make the source availble but that isn't a problem and the licence agreement is more water tight than one I could write myself. There is another program I've made which doesn't really need an installer but I suppose it would be necessary to make sure they accept the agreement. Either that or have a notice when the program starts up with the option to accept or decline the agreement.

Thanks for the information, Jon
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Expert Comment

by:leleu
ID: 11906200
acsell,
I would highly recommend releasing it under the GPL.  It's basically a very well reviewed document that lots of people are using for their own software, and it encourages developers to release their source code, which is good for the general programming community.  If you take a look at a standard GPL file, they usually do not explicity require acceptance of the agreement.  Another potential solution is an agreement page during the download (downside: requires you to control distribution).  I would recommend doing that, and simply including it in a file named LICENSE in the directory where the executable is.  Any time you don't need an installer, don't include one -- it's just a little bit more of a pain for everyone.

HTH!
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by:acsell
ID: 11918552
Thank you very much for your advice lelue. So if I don't need an installer then I can get them to accept the GPL agreement before downloading and include a copy of the licence with the executable. And from what you've have said, I don't need to get them to accept the GPL agreement, So I could just include a copy of it with the program. Please Let me know if that is incorrect.

Thank you both for your advice on this, Jon
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