When you are installing software, you are often presented with a screen showing the EULA (End User License Agreement) or TOS (Terms of Service) and some other legal agreement. If you click the OK button to install the software, you are agreeing to whatever it says. If you are like most users, you don’t read what it says or at least don’t read it in detail.
As part of the installer for the CorelDRAW X6.1 Update, you were presented with Terms of Service related to your “CorelDRAW Membership”. There are multiple levels of membership and anyone installing the update is moved to the basic level which has no cost. There is also a premium version which has a cost associated with it. Discussing whether or not the premium membership is right for you is a discussion for another day. Today I want to go over some of the text in the Terms of Service that I feel is overbearing. We all have opinions and you may not have a problem with these terms.
I do know one power user who was so upset that it almost led to uninstalling CorelDRAW X6 completely. Unfortunately this user had a project to finish and didn’t feel that was a choice. I’ve gotten some input from that user on the terms I will present as well as a few other users. Again, you may not have an issue with these terms, but I think you should be aware of what you are told to OK. I will quote the terms exactly as written and then below that quote will be my comments on that specific term.
Section 1d “It is your responsibility to regularly check http://www.corel.com/tos to review the current General Terms and Addition Terms.”
That seems to mean Corel doesn’t need to tell you if they make changes, you need to visit their Web site “regularly” to see what has been changed, if anything.
Section 2b “You may not use another person’s Account Information. Corel may require that you change your Account Information or certain parts of your Account Information at any time for any reason.”
On the surface, this one makes perfect sense. What is a bit unclear is the situation of a small business. Maybe the business has two users who share a computer with CorelDRAW installed. If one user created the account and the other then accessed it, is that a violation? I’ll also refer back to this a bit later when we look at another part of the agreement.
Section 2e “You agree to keep a valid, up-to-date, and regularly monitored email address with your Account Information as Corel might be providing you timely notifications related to your memberships, subscriptions and services covered by these Terms Of Service such as auto-renewal notification and new benefits related to your membership and/or subscription.”
If you change your e-mail address, how many things do you have linked to the old e-mail address? I’ve asked a few people and we all felt that there were at least 100 accounts. Even if it is half of that, it is still out there in a number of locations. Will your first thought to be to update your Corel account with the new address? I doubt it. Yet if you don’t update it, they can terminate your membership. While I doubt they would do that without trying really hard to get you to update with the correct e-mail address, it still sounds scary to me.
Section 4b “The Software may automatically download and install updates from Corel from time to time. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the Services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new Software modules and/or completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Corel to deliver these to you with or without your knowledge) as part of your use of the Services.”
So you must allow Corel to install updates. What if you know that an update is going to disrupt your productivity? Windows has an updater and you are given a choice as to which update to install and when to install it.
Section 6 “You have no obligation to provide Corel with ideas, suggestions, documentations and/or proposals (“Feedback”). However, if you submit Feedback to Corel, while you retain ownership of such Feedback, you hereby grant Corel a nonexclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, unlimited license under all of your Intellectual Property Rights to use and otherwise exploit your Feedback for any purpose throughout the universe.”
So if you give Corel a million dollar idea, you get nothing. What exactly defines giving them that idea? Let’s say a macro developer uncovers some cool new functionality. As I read it, Corel could say the macro was presenting an idea and gives them the right to develop something to do the same thing. What about documentation? Suppose I come up with a great tip in one of my books. Could they then use that idea? This part just scares the daylights out of me.
Section 8a. “Corel may at any time and from time to time modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Services or Materials, or any portion thereof, with or without notice. You agree that Corel shall not be liable to you or any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Services or Materials.”
Section 8b. “There may be unanticipated interruptions in the availability of the Services or Materials, or any portion thereof. You agree that Corel shall not be liable to you or any third party for such interruptions regardless of the duration of the interruption.”
If the “membership” stops working for any reason, Corel isn’t liable. That includes if they choose to discontinue it. Could the membership being off harm your business?
Section 10b “COREL SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY WITH REGARD TO ANY ACTIONS RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF OR PARTICIPATION IN ANY SERVICES AND YOUR USE OF MATERIALS. ANY MATERIAL DOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH USE OF THE SERVICES IS ACCESSED AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK, AND YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OF ANY SUCH MATERIAL. COREL ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR ANY COMPUTER VIRUS OR SIMILAR CODE THAT IS DOWNLOADED TO YOUR COMPUTER FROM ANY OF THE SERVICES.”
Section 4b said earlier that you are required to install all updates. If that update has a virus (to the best of my knowledge no Corel update has ever had a virus), you are responsible for the damages. Maybe the update modifies a feature that is important to you and that modification is harmful to your productivity. You are required to install it (4b) and Corel is not liable for the harm done to your business.
Section 10d “Corel is not be liable for any loss that you may incur as a result of someone else using your password or account or account information in connection with the site or any services or materials, either with or without your knowledge.”
Remember 2b above? So someone else gets into your account (maybe they have stolen your credentials), Corel can terminate your account. Even it is the two people who share a computer as I described earlier, that still seems to indicate your account could be terminated.
Section 12a “OR FOR DEATH OR PERSONAL INJURY.”
In short, if CorelDRAW kills you, you’re out of luck. Not that I can figure out how it could kill you.
Those are the sections that jumped out to me. You may not have a problem with any of them. It just seems very anti-user to me and you are basically forced to agree with these terms if you wish to install the update.