In the fourth part of this series on decoding EULAs, we move onto limitation of liability.  As discussed previously, the EULA is the agreement containing the terms the user of a software program agrees to abide by in using the software.  To start with we will review a limitation of liability I recently saw in

In the third part of decoding EULAs, we focus on support terms also known as updates or modifications.  As discussed previously, the EULA is the agreement containing the terms the user of a software program agrees to abide by in using the software.  Below are examples, that have been included in recent software agreements:

“Company

In the previous blog update (Part 1), I promised to continue decoding densely worded End User License Agreements (EULA). As discussed in the prior blog, the EULA is the agreement containing the terms the user of a software program agrees to abide by in using the software. In this blog, I address security. First, an excerpt from a standard form cloud services agreement:

“Company X shall notify Customer of any Unauthorized Access as soon as reasonably practical. In the event that any applicable law requires that any notice be given to Customer’s Service Users or clients, Company X acknowledges and agrees that Customer shall have control over the timing, content, and method of any required notification.”

Many companies
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Software has become an integral part of the construction world and its use is only growing. There are hundreds of software providers for project management systems, estimating, schedule tracking, BIM, accounting, project portal, dropbox, cloud service providers, the list goes on and on.

Typically, users of software are handed a lengthy agreement and asked to click their consent to the terms. We have all seen this type of agreement; anyone with a cell phone has likely absentmindedly agreed, with a click, to each software update. The writing is small.  The lines are spaced close together.  It goes on for page, after page, after page. The only distinguishing feature is occasionally the words are in all CAPS which feels bad-mannered and impolite.  Frankly, the first paragraph, if one gets that far, is enough to cure all insomniac tendencies one may have in a matter of seconds. These agreements are typically called End User License Agreements (EULA) and are the terms the user of a software program agrees to abide by in using the software.

There is a lot of important information hidden in all that small writing, such as: where a dispute is litigated (not always your home state); non-assignment without consent (i.e. if the software division or your company is purchased by another, you are required to update the terms of the agreement); indemnification; payment terms; termination; confidential information; etc.  That said, I believe there are the big four to be aware of:  1) scope of license; 2) support, aka updates/modifications; 3) security; and 4) limitation of liability.  This article and the three to follow will expand on these four concepts.  First, understanding the scope of your license and usage rights.

PART 1 – SCOPE OF LICENSE

Licenses come in all shapes and sizes.  The license can…
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The law of unintended consequences theorizes that the actions of people – especially government – often have effects that are surprising or unplanned. The idea of unintended consequences is generally traced back to English philosopher John Locke. In 1692, in a letter to Sir John Sommers, a member of England’s Parliament, Locke counseled the defeat of a parliamentary bill designed to regulate interest rates. Locke argued that instead of benefiting borrowers, as the bill intended, it would hurt them because creditors would find ways to circumvent the law, and those related costs would be borne by the borrowers, namely “widows, orphans and all those who have their estates in money.” John Locke, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money (1691). Oregon House Bill 2661 (“HB 2661”) should be considered with unintended consequences in mind.

HB 2661’s goal is to curtail or reduce the spiraling costs of new residential construction in order to make housing more affordable. While that is an admirable and laudable goal, the key features of this bill remind me of Locke’s letter to Sommers and his concerns about that century’s old bill to regulate interest rates.

HB 2661’s key features include:


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As anyone who is taking the time to read this blog probably knows, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) construction contract forms are omnipresent. Which means you also probably know that in April 2017 the AIA released an update to its A201 general conditions form, last updated in 2007.

While many of the changes were discussed, researched, written and lectured about last summer, including by me, I’ve recently started to field a lot of questions about the 2017 changes to the AIA documents, A201 in particular. This is no surprise, I suppose. After the 2007 AIA forms were released, it took a year or two before the updated forms were used more frequently.

In light of these recent questions, now seems like a good time to summarize a few of the differences between A201-2007 and A201-2017.

§1.1.8 Initial Decision Maker

A201-2017 adds a sentence shielding the Initial Decision Maker (IDM) from liability for “interpretations or decisions rendered in good faith.” While this new sentence requires the IDM to act in good faith, it nevertheless appears to be a broad liability waiver for someone who could be making key decisions relating to cost, time and scope.

§ 1.2.1.1 Savings Clause

A “savings” clause has been added to A201-2017 – meaning that if a court finds that part of the agreement violates the law or is otherwise unenforceable, the remainder of the contract is nevertheless enforceable. Further, if a section is deemed unenforceable, the court may revise the section to make it legal rather than throwing out the entire section.

§1.6 Notice

Whenever “notice” is required by A201-2017, such notice is now required to be in writing.
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On April 3, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 4144, which eases licensing requirements for construction contractors, especially those in rural areas. Under the new Construction Contractors Board rules, an individual with at least eight years of experience in the construction industry may apply for a new residential contractor’s license without having