A California woman is suing Microsoft, Symantec and some
software retailers, claiming the companies "concocted a scheme" to
mislead consumers by requiring them to consent to software licensing agreements
they haven’t read.
The suit, filed Friday in Marin County Superior Court
in San Rafael, Calif., seeks class-action status on behalf of all Californians
who’ve bought software including Norton Antivirus 2002, Norton Systemworks and
Windows XP Upgrade.
Specifically, the suit, which was brought by Cathy Baker,
claims that Microsoft, Symantec, CompUSA, Best Buy and other unnamed retailers
don’t allow people to read "shrink wrap" licenses–agreements printed
inside the box or incorporated into the software itself–before they buy a product.
Sounds like a good legal argument, but then again how many people actually
read those license agreements when they are displayed or printed. Usually you
see one of those mind numbing legalese paragraphs and your synapses translate
it into click yes to remove and get on with it.