Software licenses contain secret damnation clauses
Mary Migworth, a 26-year-old single mother, lost her soul after agreeing to some small print for her 3-year-old son’s Reader Rabbit game.
“It included a line about how I was subject to 29A,” said Migworth. “It wasn’t until later that I discovered that 29A is computer code for 666. It’s the hexadecimal number of the beast.”
Her case is far from unique. Consumer groups report a rash of similar incidents where tricky language buried in software End User Licence Agreements, or EULAs, and warn computer users to check for clauses which may damn them to an an eternity in Hell before clicking on any box of button indicating agreement.
Roger Beefy has seen hundreds of damnation cases in his legal practice. His advice? “If you are installing software, and a screenful of legal language appears, take your computer to your lawyer’s office and have them check it out. It only takes a few extra days, and the peace of mind is worth the extra expense.”
The Catholic church offers a free EULA checking service through its “Devil’s Advocate” program, although users can expect to wait several weeks before their computers are processed and shipped back to them from Vatican City.
Infernal terms can appear in EULAs from any company, large or small. Early versions of Windows Vista included the clause “In exchange for using this software, the user agrees to surrender his soul to the Forces of Darkness and to be damned for all eternity”, while the AVG antivirus program required the user to “abide where the worm dieth not”, and also installed Yahoo Toolbar by default.
But even for professionals, spotting the hidden damnation clauses can be tricky.
“One client asked me to check the EULA for Corel Painter,” said Beefy. “I was about to tell my client to click on the “I agree to the above terms” box, when I noticed what appeared to be a tiny speck of dirt next to it. On closer inspection, I saw that it was an asterisk, and, after scrolling down through blank screens for ten minutes, I finally reached a footnote condemning the signatory to eternity of suffering in Hell. Needless to say, my client did not install Corel Painter, and stuck with Photoshop instead.”
Officials at Hell were unrepentant about the practices.
“Don’t blame us if you don’t read the contract,” said Beelzebub. “It’s just the way we operate down here. It’s nothing personal.”
But accoding to Beefy, the damnation clauses represent a shift in soul-gathering that is bad for the consumer.
“In the old days, the Forces of Evil might offer seven years of wealth or wishes in exchange for a soul. These days, all you get is some buggy software. And that’s the real tragedy.”
Points to watch out for when reading a EULA
Check for the presence of key phrases, such as “soul”, “damnation”, or “Hell”, as well as such synonyms as “incorporeal essence”, “animus”, “the Abyss”, “perdition”, and “Hades.
Never agree to any clause which mentions brimstone.
If you must click on a button labelled “Submit”, check to make sure that the words “to the will of Satan” are not printed below.
If the abbreviation EULA appears on the agreement, check that it stands for End User Licence Agreement, and not Eternity Under Lucifer’s Authority.
Canceling the agreement
if you think you may have damned yourself by mistake, use this Opt Out form to cancel the agreement. (Note: if you have knowingly signed a damnation agreement in your own blood, by moonlight, on the skin of a virgin, you will need to click twice.)
Anti-Damnation Opt-Out Form
I do not wish to be damned for all time. Any written agreement I may have appear to have accepted was made without my knowledge or consent