Nowadays most software comes with a EULA. In order to install the software one must click the "agree" button. However, there are some software that says are distributed through different licenses. For example,

1.A Browse-wrap license - There is no "agree" button on such websites, one just clicks download and he is legally assumed to have read and agreed to the license.
2. A Shrink-wrap contract - There is no agree button on the software, and one cannot read the license agreement before buying the software. One is assumed to have read and agreed to the license just by virtue of the fact that he didn't return the program.
3. Many Gedolim pictures and CDs have a line on them "sold on condition to not duplicate". The user never signed or agreed to this condition (especially if another purchased the picture from a store and gave it to him),

Are any of these licenses valid?

Sources please.

  • 1
    My first thought is, both halacha and secular law prohibit stealing - so you're obligated not to duplicate and sell these items anyway, with or without any kind of agreement / contract.
    – user1095
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 10:42
  • 1
    @will 1) many poskim do not hold that there is such a thing as copyright in halacha. 2) many contracts are more stringent than copyright. For example, many contracts forbid "fair use", include NDA, etc. Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 17:04
  • 1
    which poskim hold that a Jew is allowed to violate secular copyright law? Names?
    – user1095
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 7:14
  • 1
    No, those poskim are not saying that it's OK to violate secular law, they are saying that aside from the question of Dinah D'Malchusa there isn't any prohibition against copying some non-material idea, song, saying or such. That if secular law didn't prohibit it, there would be no halachic problem with doing so. It's not stealing if you haven't actually taken away any material item.
    – follick
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 4:07
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36924
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


The short answer is that it depends what the license is asking of you.

There is a concept in halacha of accepting a contract without signing anything. For instance, a Get can be thrown into somebody's yard and it is accepted as valid. However, these sort of things depend on what is being asked, what is permited/prohibited and the relationship of how you got the software in the first place. For instance, whether or not there was a verbal agreement along with the unsigned written one.

  • 4
    and the answer is......... Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 17:36
  • 2
    It depends. Most EULAs would not be valid, but neither are they valid in the US courts.
    – avi
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 8:06
  • @avi this answer looks like it is based on common law (UK or US law ) rather than on halacha (Jewish law)
    – Edward B
    Commented yesterday

A contract is based on on willing supplier & willing user. Since products on a shelf are from a willing supplier in bulk, the onus is on the user to accept the terms of the agreement or reject them but this is secondary to the agreement of sale for the merx. An implied contract is one that each partry understand the contract terms but and this is a big BUT, The Onus is on the User to agree and with software that is not so easy because you cannot agree to the trms without purchasing it first in which case the contract of sale would be negated. This is the reason that the terms of an EULA are printed on the packaging: so you can read and agree to the terms prior to purchase.

The terms of a contract must be reasonable and equitable for its purpose and NOT be ultra vires in relation to statute law

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  • 1
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. This answer looks like it focused on general legal principles. If you wish to answer specifically from a Jewish perspective, consider edtiting your answer. Commented 2 days ago
  • @Rhodie thank you for your answer and welcome to Mi Yodeya. This looks like answer based on common law (UK or US law ) rather than on halacha (Jewish law)
    – Edward B
    Commented yesterday

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