Should EULAs that prohibit modifying smartphones be unenforceable?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Melab, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. Melab macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2011
    What it asks in the title. If you look through the little "service agreement" that comes with phones or what not, you'll often find some kind of clause prohibiting some types of modifications. Should these policies be enforceable? I'm of the opinion that they should not be.
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Will the manufacturer send out the "warranty police"? :D
    But, they will easily deny warranty service, and you don't usually have much recourse, other than having your own opinion.

    And, your opinion isn't worth much, warranty repairs or replacement are fairly straightforward, and the acceptable limitations are likely pretty clear.
    However, some modifications that don't cause damage, and don't clearly make the system different from original - shouldn't affect the terms of the EULA.
    Examples would be (on a laptop) upgrading hard drive or memory, or other user-accessible changes.

    I think it would help if you, the OP, would provide an example of what you mean, more than your broad statement.
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Yes. A company cannot take responsibility when you've stuck a low grade part in your machine and it doesn't function as expected.
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    A warranty is not an End User Licensing Agreement (EULA). An EULA is used when the "seller" (licensor) retains ownership of the product (typically, a copyright or a patented process) and is allowing the licensee to use that property under specific conditions. The licensing agreement sets out the terms under which the "buyer" (licensee) can use the owner's property (like an apartment rental lease).

    There are arguments made that the typical, "click here to use this software/service" EULA should be unenforceable, because the end user typically hasn't given "informed consent," they've just clicked the button in order to get along with their life. But even if some terms of the EULA may be unenforceable, since copyrights and trademarks are involved, whatever laws exist would still apply (no, you can't sell copies just because the rest of the EULA is unenforceable).

    On the other hand, a warranty is a one-way statement, a promise from the seller to the buyer that the seller will continue to be responsible for what they sold, under specific conditions. The law requires the seller to keep that promise, because that promise helped persuade the buyer to buy.

    Within the bounds set by law, the seller can promise as little or as much as they wish. But like any other promise, the recipient of the promise can't turn around six months later and tell the person who made the promise, "I also want you to give me stuff that you didn't promise when I bought it." (Well, they can try, but the seller is under no obligation to agree.)

    So, to answer more directly, I'd have to say, "No." If I make you a promise, you can't change what I promised.
  5. vvswarup macrumors 6502a

    Jul 21, 2010
    I don't think the policies in the service agreement constitute a EULA. Those policies are a warranty, i.e. a promise that the manufacturer will repair the smartphone at a certain price (or for free) in the event of specified damages. Prohibitions on modifying the smartphone amounts to conditions under which a warranty is voided. Say the warranty stipulates that the manufacturer will give you a new smartphone if certain damage occurs during the warranty period. If you modify your smartphone, all that means is that the manufacturer doesn't have to give you a new smartphone for damage resulting from the modification. However, the manufacturer cannot take you to court over modifying your smartphone.

    That's different from a EULA. To my understanding, the licensor can sue for damages over violations of a EULA.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Aren't nearly all EULAs virtually unenforceable? I mean, companies do not send out droves of private detectives to see if you're abiding by the agreement, whether we're talking about software or phones.
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Aren't EULAs unenforcable anyway? I've modded quite a few products and literally nothing has happened as consiquence.

    And rightly so. I bought the product, therefore it is rightfully mine. And thus I should be able to do what I want with them.
  8. mw360 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    If you agree to something then you should be bound by it.

    I'm not sure, 'argh, whatever <click>" counts as agreement though. I think there should be legal limit to the number of words in any agreement made without a signature. Somewhere around a couple of hundred, and it probably should be on the outside of the box.
  9. ardchoille50, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015

    ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    We bought our smartphone, so we enjoy partial ownership. We don't actually own the operating system that runs on the phone, in this case it is iOS, ownership of iOS remains with Apple. What we actually own here is a license to use iOS. I've read the EULA and sections 2 and 6 seem to prohibit modifying the system. I equate this with someone asking me to remove my shoes before entering their home. If I'm not happy with the house rules, I don't enter their house.. seems simple to me.

    From my point of view we can either use the system according to the EULA or, if we are not content with that, buy a different smartphone. However, this is just one point of view.

    I do agree with mw360, the EULA should be made readily available prior to any purchase which includes a EULA. That way the user knows exactly what to expect from the start.
  10. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    It should be, but it won't :D

    How can u enforce such a thing . Weather a EULA is enforced more better won't matter... Users do what they will..

    If u wanna play by the rules of Apple, ya ok, or MS, or how may people in this day and age don't ?

    What are they gonna do if u violate a ELUA,,, send the FBI to your door ? not likely.
  11. Melab thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2011

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