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Archive for the 'tools' Category

Invent Something? Now You Can Game the Patent & Trademark Office

The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency’s examiners. A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia.


“I’m sure there will be a degree of gaming. There always is,” [IBM VP and asst. gen. counsel David J.] Kappos said.

Interrrrresting. Read the article.

photo by Alexandre Dulaunoy.

EULA tools, guides, forums, and decoders

Here’s a list of the many Web sites and products out there that serve to help the community better understand ToS, EULA and other agreement issues they may encounter.

Many of these come from readers’ suggestions — please add any I missed in the comments, I’ll eventually build this into a wiki of sorts…

Site/Product Download/Reg? Why?
EULAlyzer (free download) EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases. Discover if the software you’re about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, or much much more.
Clearware Web site Helps consumers make sense of software and online services before deciding whether to purchase, use, or install.
EULAscan free site Growing database of user-written EULA reviews.
EFF free site A user’s guide to EULA and dangerous terms to look for.
Consumerist site/blog Gawker Media’s well-written consumer issues’ blog
Mouseprint Free site A new ad or product is featured weekly to help educate the public about the catches or “gotchas” in disclaimers, and to encourage advertisers to abandon the motto, “the big print giveth, and the little print taketh away.”

Columnists/bloggers occasionally covering EULA / terms / consumer issues beat:

Ed Foster – Gripe2Ed, InfoWorld.
Dennis Rockstroh — Consumer Action Line, San Jose Mercury News
Consumer Law & Policy Blog
Bruce Schneier on Security
Boing Boing
Wendy Seltzer’s Blog
Ed Felten – Freedom to Tinker