Michigan  |  Technology Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/20/13, 11:48 am

Hello. In End User License Agreement (EULA) Apple Inc. states that I can use their software on 2 Mac Computers. It does not explicitly prohibit me to use their software on WIndows Computer (PC). If I do install it on my Windows PC, am I breaking the law? Does apple have a right to tell me how I should use their software (i.e. that I can only install it on a computers manufactured by them)?

1 Answer

Answered on: 9/20/13, 12:29 pm by Edward Hoffman

First off, I have not seen the EULA. I have your interpretation of its language, but I might interpret it differently.

As the term "License Agreement" implies, you are a licensee and not an owner. The licensor is allowed to define the scope of your license. Its language spells out rights Apple is giving you. If it does not say you have a particular right, then it does not give you that right. So if you didn't have a particular right before and the EULA didn't give it to you, you still don't have it.

You were not authorized to install the software on Macs or PCs before you got your license. If Apple licensed you only to install it on two Macs, then you still don't have their permission to use it on a PC.

The EULA is a private contract. There is no law that forbids people to breach a contract (though it is possible to breach by doing something that is illegal for other reasons). But the non-breaching party is entitled to recover damages from the one who breaches. Your EULA may spell out what those damages would be. It may also give Apple other rights beyond a claim for money.

I don't know the odds of Apple finding out about an unlicensed installation, or of them trying to enforce the EULA if they do. Would a court uphold the EULA? Since I haven't read the agreement, I can't say. Several plausible arguments for and against it come to mind. But the fight would be long and costly for you.

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