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Reader's Article: Google's Chrome EULA Disappoints

Chrome logoSummary: Thoughts about Chrome from a legal perspective



ONE OF OUR readers has composed the following assessment of Chrome and what it means to the users' freedom.

I thought it would be nice to try out Chrome for Linux but decided not to because of the binary EULA. I'd like to have a way to watch YouTube without installing Adobe's Flash. EULAs always put a bad taste in my mouth, surely Google's would not be so bad? Nope, like most EULAs this one is poorly worded and demands a surrender of rights contrary to many nations' laws.

http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/eula_text.html

The misleading term "intellectual property" shows up many times. This neologism reduces the justification and powers of copyright, patent and trade mark law to one weak minded confusion. Powers appropriate for one set of laws are transfered to the others while the purposes are forgotten. It has no place in law, contracts or intelligent discourse. The contract also uses the insulting and disrespectful phrase "content" to describe works.

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/words-to-avoid.html

The two most most shocking clauses demands recognition of software patents and surrender of fair use rights.

8.1 You acknowledge and agree that Google (or Google’s licensors) own all legal right, title and interest in and to the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in the Services (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist).

7.2 ... You may not modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on this Content (either in whole or in part) unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google or by the owners of that Content, in a separate agreement.

The source code terms are a lot better, so I have to wonder what the Google people were thinking above. The general license terms look like free software but specific portions include a confusing variety of MIT, BSD and even a deceptive license from Microsoft.

http://code.google.com/chromium/terms.html

Overall, I don't think I'd get what I wanted, which was a dedicated, fast browser for Google services that understood flash without being obnoxious. If Chrome really is free software, people will make it work from source code and it will soon end up in repositories. I'd rather wait than sign away free use and agree that software patents are legitimate.


Speaking for myself, I avoid Chrome because I believe people need to empower Free software vendors like Mozilla and projects like GNOME and KDE. Using their Web browsers is the latest one can do.

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