Video-game shoppers surrender their immortal souls

On April Fool's day, the online game store Gamestation.co.uk added language to its clickthrough license that asked customers to surrender their immortal souls, though it offered a checkbox to opt out if you wanted to keep yours. 7,500 customers did not check the box.
By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions....we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."
I'm guessing that a small minority of the customers didn't check the box because they knew it was all a gag, but I believe the majority didn't check it off because they didn't read the agreement. No one reads the agreements.

Because they aren't agreements. The legal fiction that you can create agreement merely by throwing tens of thousands of words' worth of arcane legalese at a customer does incredible violence to the noble institution of agreement. It's truly a plague of idiocy.

READ CAREFULLY. By reading this blog post, you agree, on behalf of your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies ("BOGUS AGREEMENTS") that I have entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of your employer.

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls (Thanks, Hugh!)

(Image: File:Faust und Mephisto, Stich von Tony Johannot.jpg, Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. “The Noble Institution of the Agreement.”
    There is well said, and then there is well said plus.
    Double plus good well said, Cory!!!

  2. 1. EULA’s aren’t enforcable.
    2. You can only sign away your soul by signing the contract in blood….supposably.
    3. Souls don’t exist. ;)

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  4. Ha! Little do they know, I’ve already sold my immortal soul… let them try to collect!!!!!

    I’ve only read two EULA’s in my life, and those are brain cells I will never get back. They are dense, thick, filled with odd phrasing and complex compound sentence structures, and if you boiled them down semantically, they would read something like this:

    “We letting you use our software. Don’t copy it, except to back it up. Don’t let your friends have it. If you’re not careful, we’ll take it away from you.”

    1. Yeah, I usually just end up skimming the EULA for key phrases indicating that they have the right to install spyware on the computer. As far as clickthroughs on web sites, yeah, don’t read ’em, pretty much.

  5. Totally tried to sell my soul to the devil. Thought it proved he didn’t exist. Turns out later, it’s not worth very much, and he just wasn’t interested. I mean that’s the ultimate form of solipsism isn’t it – if God won’t grant you success, Satan’s gonna step right up on soul EBay?

  6. End users need their own anti-EULA, one that states explicitly that clicking EULA’s doesn’t necessarily bind them to anything. Something that states wheras EULA’s are subject to change at the whim of the provider, any EULA agreed upon at a click-through is null and void by design. Something that says EULA’s are busy-work for lawyers, a public nuisance, and a hidden time-tax would be nice as well.

  7. It’s probably insomnia which leads me to start thinking about how the granted option on those 7,500 souls could be bundled, securitised, and marketed as derivatives over the counter.

    Or it’s that I associate demonic transactions with overreaching profiteering by hedge-douche bankers.

  8. Cory, It would be kind if you also add the phrase…

    “to release me [AND ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG] from all obligations”

  9. Many ideas:

    1) Some indie game dev needs to make a game where the hero has to travel “through” a EULA and fight off some of the “terms.”

    2) Surely there is so long-forgotten law on the UK books that allows the government to persecute, uh, prosecute witchcraft. 7.5K immortal consumer souls is a pretty big deal! I’ve known covens that only bag 2 or 3 in a whole year.

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  11. Why SELL your soul when you can just get a HELOC* on it?

    *Hell for Eeternity Line of Credit.

  12. EULA’s are legally enforceable and there’s a lot of case law in both Canada and the U.S which proves this, so I’m not sure where you’re getting your legal advise from.

  13. I just ran into this for the first time on an iPhone app, iTriage. Click to start the app after installing, and I get (what looked like, from the scroller image) a 20 page EULA.

    I just canceled and deleted.

  14. The worst I’ve seen so far was from Apple – just yesterday they wanted me to read through a 92-page EULA for the Apple store, in small font, on my iPhone, before downloading a free app.

  15. I believe incidentally, those who chose to opt out of selling their soul were given a £5 money off code for their trouble as well.

    See? Refuse to deal with profane powers and get five quid off your next purchase! Now there’s a deal the churches should get behind :p

  16. Cory, you should change your EULA so that it requires some future action to be binding. Click through EULA’s claim their technical shred of legitimacy because you click to agree, or in the alternative use/continue to use the software after having “notice” of the terms. Easily fixed by saying “by reading any future blog posts.”

  17. POE2, a mod for the pc game Battlefield 2 has in its EULA

    10. Outrageous Notices.

    a. You agree to name your first born, or next child, POE.

    b. You agree to donate 10% of any lottery winnings you incur in your lifetime to POE.

    c. You agree to tell all of your friends about POE.

    d. You agree that this section is excluded from this agreement and does not invalidate in any way the legitimacy or legality of this agreement; this section is simply provided to make you laugh. All other sections of this agreement remain in effect.

  18. I like this website. Can’t beleive I didn’t discover it till now. Are all the blogs this funny? Society is such a fail you have to laugh

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