What kind of magic lines do you need in the TOS, Read Me, License or other file not to get sued!?
I live in Sweden and here “suing for living” is not as well developed as in the US.
I have written “Use the software at your own risk and don’t sue me” but I truly doubt such simple words would be my rescue when the army of lawyers comes knocking on my door… Ha!
License Agreements are simply awful! Too long, too complicated and no one read them… Well…
Ask your laywer about this stuff. If you don’t have one the less you write about this the better.
For instance, I have a very simple license: valid for version xxx of my software. Can be used for your own mail and not for the mail of others.
The people who would sue you are the ones that would read it though. License agreements are what prevent this nonsense. Find a lawyer who specializes in this stuff and have something drawn up. Don’t skimp, it may save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Unfortunately license agreements aren’t enough to keep you from getting sued these days.
For most of us, our nightmare scenario would be to get sued not by a user, but by a patent troll. I read once about an insurance policy you can buy that will cover up to $100K of legal defense fees should you be sued in intellectual property issues. I wish I could find that article again, but it’s an unfortunate area of expense that we all must at least consider in this business today.
The thing is, the smaller you are, the less chances you are to get plucked. Lawyers won’t even consider you if they can’t get several million dollars out of the deal. Likewise anybody who wants to sue will need to garner quite a war chest that they must be sure to get back.
Most of the time, the most serious action from a patent holder will be a cease and desist letter from their lawyer.
As far as the “standard” user license, you want to claim the user is using the software at his own risk, and give up all indemnities for defects. But why don’t you look at the legalese from major publishers ? They do that very well, from Microsoft to Symantec, Apple and Adobe. They miss an occasion to flash they puke at you whenever you try to install anything.
The main thing is, these user licenses are often no protection against consumer laws especially in Europe, but more of a deterrent against frivolous law suits like the US see all too often.
None of that will help you if God forbid some competitor decides to take you off the grid with malicious law suits. But yet again, one has to be big enough for anybody to try that. If you are small, most biggies will settle or buy your company.
Excuse me for the slow reply!
Thank you Mike!
I’m quite small… smaller is really hard to find!! I think I need not to worry, not in this moment!!