EULAlyzer is a simple tool which will scan a software licence agreement and draw your attention to anything it thinks might be interesting (advertising references, spam, sharing your data with third parties, whatever that might be),

When you install a program normally you probably just click "agree" when the EULA appears, and that's not really a surprise: you're often presented with pages and pages of complex language, and figuring out exactly what they're saying can take quite some time.

EULAlyzer claims it can help, though, and it's certainly easy enough to use. Once the program is running, just drag and drop the target onto the licence agreement window and EULAlyzer will import the text. Click Analyze and it'll then review the EULA and organise interesting references into five sections: "Advertising", "Promotional Messages", "Third Party", "Web Site Address" and "Without Notice". All you have to do is read them.

While this sounds good, the analysis is, well, basic, and essentially just involves looking for key words in the text. We provided one sample agreement and EULAlyzer highlighted the word "advertisements", for instance. Did this mean the program was going to display ads to us? Not at all: this was a clause saying that the user wasn't allowed to send ads, chain letters or spam via the software.

EULAlyzer can sometimes highlight clauses you need to know about, then, but it also gets things wrong occasionally, and wading through everything it finds can take quite some time. It highlighted 33 references on one sample EULA, for instance: we would have been better off simply skimming through the original EULA, without looking for any third-party assistance.

Please note, there's a commercial Pro version available which adds the ability to "automatically" analyze EULAs. We're unconvinced that it will help, and it seems expensive at $19.95 a year, but you can find out more at the BrightFort site.

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EULAlyzer can work sometimes, correctly highlighting dubious clauses in software EULAs. Its fairly basic analysis produces a lot of "false positives", though, and you might find it easier to just speed-read the original EULA yourself.