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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Do You Agree With Corel's New Terms of Service?

When you are installing software, you are often presented with a screen showing the EULA (End User License Agreement) or TOS (Terms of Service) and some other legal agreement. If you click the OK button to install the software, you are agreeing to whatever it says. If you are like most users, you don't read what it says or at least don't read it in detail.

As part of the installer for the CorelDRAW X6.1 Update, you were presented with Terms of Service related to your "CorelDRAW Membership". There are multiple levels of membership and anyone installing the update is moved to the basic level which has no cost. There is also a premium version which has a cost associated with it. Discussing whether or not the premium membership is right for you is a discussion for another day. Today I want to go over some of the text in the Terms of Service that I feel is overbearing. We all have opinions and you may not have a problem with these terms.

I do know one power user who was so upset that it almost led to uninstalling CorelDRAW X6 completely. Unfortunately this user had a project to finish and didn't feel that was a choice. I've gotten some input from that user on the terms I will present as well as a few other users. Again, you may not have an issue with these terms, but I think you should be aware of what you are told to OK. I will quote the terms exactly as written and then below that quote will be my comments on that specific term.
Section 1d "It is your responsibility to regularly check to review the current General Terms and Addition Terms."
That seems to mean Corel doesn't need to tell you if they make changes, you need to visit their Web site "regularly" to see what has been changed, if anything.
Section 2b "You may not use another person's Account Information. Corel may require that you change your Account Information or certain parts of your Account Information at any time for any reason."
On the surface, this one makes perfect sense. What is a bit unclear is the situation of a small business. Maybe the business has two users who share a computer with CorelDRAW installed. If one user created the account and the other then accessed it, is that a violation? I'll also refer back to this a bit later when we look at another part of the agreement.
Section 2e "You agree to keep a valid, up-to-date, and regularly monitored email address with your Account Information as Corel might be providing you timely notifications related to your memberships, subscriptions and services covered by these Terms Of Service such as auto-renewal notification and new benefits related to your membership and/or subscription."
If you change your e-mail address, how many things do you have linked to the old e-mail address? I've asked a few people and we all felt that there were at least 100 accounts. Even if it is half of that, it is still out there in a number of locations. Will your first thought to be to update your Corel account with the new address? I doubt it. Yet if you don't update it, they can terminate your membership. While I doubt they would do that without trying really hard to get you to update with the correct e-mail address, it still sounds scary to me.
Section 4b "The Software may automatically download and install updates from Corel from time to time. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the Services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new Software modules and/or completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Corel to deliver these to you with or without your knowledge) as part of your use of the Services."
So you must allow Corel to install updates. What if you know that an update is going to disrupt your productivity? Windows has an updater and you are given a choice as to which update to install and when to install it.

Section 6 "You have no obligation to provide Corel with ideas, suggestions, documentations and/or proposals ("Feedback"). However, if you submit Feedback to Corel, while you retain ownership of such Feedback, you hereby grant Corel a nonexclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, unlimited license under all of your Intellectual Property Rights to use and otherwise exploit your Feedback for any purpose throughout the universe."
So if you give Corel a million dollar idea, you get nothing. What exactly defines giving them that idea? Let's say a macro developer uncovers some cool new functionality. As I read it, Corel could say the macro was presenting an idea and gives them the right to develop something to do the same thing. What about documentation? Suppose I come up with a great tip in one of my books. Could they then use that idea? This part just scares the daylights out of me.

Section 8a. "Corel may at any time and from time to time modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Services or Materials, or any portion thereof, with or without notice. You agree that Corel shall not be liable to you or any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Services or Materials."

Section 8b. "There may be unanticipated interruptions in the availability of the Services or Materials, or any portion thereof. You agree that Corel shall not be liable to you or any third party for such interruptions regardless of the duration of the interruption."
If the "membership" stops working for any reason, Corel isn't liable. That includes if they choose to discontinue it. Could the membership being off harm your business?

Section 4b said earlier that you are required to install all updates. If that update has a virus (to the best of my knowledge no Corel update has ever had a virus), you are responsible for the damages. Maybe the update modifies a feature that is important to you and that modification is harmful to your productivity. You are required to install it (4b) and Corel is not liable for the harm done to your business.
Section 10d "Corel is not be liable for any loss that you may incur as a result of someone else using your password or account or account information in connection with the site or any services or materials, either with or without your knowledge."
Remember 2b above? So someone else gets into your account (maybe they have stolen your credentials), Corel can terminate your account. Even it is the two people who share a computer as I described earlier, that still seems to indicate your account could be terminated.

In short, if CorelDRAW kills you, you're out of luck. Not that I can figure out how it could kill you.

Those are the sections that jumped out to me. You may not have a problem with any of them. It just seems very anti-user to me and you are basically forced to agree with these terms if you wish to install the update.



Blogger JesusArnoldSisters said...

I have completely given up on Corel after having been a loyal customer since v4. I had issues with a reinstallation and ended up with the program shutting me out. I am not even able to uninstall it and gave up on it and bought Xara. Corel, I'm out of here! 💩

9:37 AM  
Blogger Jesus F. Moreno said...

After many many years of being a loyal customer I'm having second thoughts about Corel. I installed the update and to be honest I was not expecting anything like this, why would I? This is bad. I was also presented with a screen that now my user count was added +1 because of the update ... why? Same computer, same user. Bad deal Corel.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Coreluser said...

I've been a user since V3. I can't run X5 Draw on Win 7 64 Pro (w/X3 also installed...I have my reasons for keeping X3). Had to create a shadow drive XP Pro 32 in order to run X5. Corel was totally unresponsive to my questions. Apparently, they can do without my future business. The BS with X6 is the last straw. I will most likely switch over to Mac and Adobe. I can't stand being "nickle and dimed". I pay for software and I expect to be able to uninstall, reinstall, etc. as often as this crappy platform needs management. I refuse to "rent" software! I don't need to deal with constant internet based authorizations (especially when every other program is (seemingly constantly) auto updating and bogging things down. Auto backups run for hours as it is...I Have enough problems and absolutely don't have the patience for this latest Corel BS. Corel's import filters for .ps and .eps are so out of date that I find them nearly useless when dealing with ESRI or Adobe program exports anyway (and I work with those programs frequently). Feel free to share my unhappiness with the corporate bean counting weenies at Corel!

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes, some of this does seem a bit iffy. And being of modest means (I'm in Zimbabwe), I can't afford to let programs have their way with the net. Updates have real financial repercussions for me so having no control apart from completely turning off my connection just won't do. Oh well, I guess users like me never really figured into Corel’s calculations. Guess it was time to catch up on Adobe skills anyway.

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Hendrik said...

@Coreluser - Regarding the 'nickle and dimed' comment, you don't need to pay any additional fees, you can buy the software as you always have. The standard membership is free. If you don't want to use the new online content, don't. Very simple.

@Anonymous - CorelDRAW isn't constantly sending data back and forth, if you don't use the online content, I think the amount of data transferred should be similar to X6 or X5.

6:05 AM  
Blogger RunFlaCruiser said...

Sounds a little harsh on some points. Even it we don't completely agree what can we do. Some of us are in pretty deep.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You must allow Corel to install updates" is not only a deal-killer for me, but it also brings me very close to never ever trusting Corel, or using any of their new products, ever again. If and when I need to upgrade from X3, I'll be looking very seriously at Xara and at the other packages out there.

Interestingly, Section 6, which scared the daylights out of you, doesn't bother me at all.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My employer has solved these issues for me by forcing us to Adobe CS6. I am not faced with the adventure of recreating all documents into InDesign or Illustrator. Can you say Job Security?

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently upgraded to X6 and was shocked at the restriction that you could only get an upgrade price if you were upgrading from a recent version. I have used Corel products since 1988 and for all these years have never had an issue with any of Corel's policies. That is, until now. As to the upgrade price I did contact Corel and although I was past their deadline grace period they did give me V6 at the upgrade price. So I was again a happy user, until today. The Terms of Service (which I have never read because I trusted Corel) that Corel is now expecting everyone to adhere to is way beyond "user friendly" in my opinion. It seems that the purchaser/user has no legal or moral protection at all.
During my many years of using Corel products I've had numerous friends suggesting I should be using Adobe products and during all these years I've never faltered in my determination to stay with Corel. Who would ever expect that it would be Corel itself that would push me over the edge to switching to Adobe.
I really hope Corel takes a second look at their Terms of Use agreement and re-thinks their responsibility to their customers.

11:51 AM  
Blogger DrBPhD said...

I have used and loved Corel products since 1986. Earlier this year I stopped. Now I am fine with that. I predict tht soon the company will be in another of its serial corporate crises.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comments are much the same as the others... a long time user who has purchased a number of their programs. But the real killer for me is the new upgrade policy. I already have Xara and Photoshop Elements so my PSX4 will be my last Corel purchase.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Graham said...

These terms greatly concern me. Previous to reading about this on Graphics Unleashed, I had complained to Corel about this.

Corel user since version 5

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems that Corel has figured out a way to bankrupt themselves... I have not upgraded to X6 & now I'm pretty sure I won't. I have had some issues with various programs doing an auto-update & certainly don't want anyone forcing me into their paradigm with no protection or recourse... Corel done turned me away for good.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have used Corel products for many years and was pretty happy with them, but I am shocked to learn about their latest policy. Thanks Graphics Unleashed for the enlightenment. And yessss, Adobe here I come. I wonder how many customers are disgusted enough to simply drop Corel without telling them why.

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Hendrik:If you don't want to use the new online content, don't. Very simple.

only contents? But Corel says Get early access to new features and services

2:55 PM  
Blogger Foster D. Coburn III said...

Whether you ever use the online content or not, all users are FORCED to a Membership when they install the update. In order to install they MUST agree to the Terms of Service.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used CorelDraw since version 3 and have upgraded every version since. These agreements are getting more and more overbearing. They basically say that "by looking at me, you agree to my terms, and I own all your ideas throughout the entire universe." What a crock. Facebook does the same things. They say that by posting ANYTHING, they have a non-exclusive right to use it however they wish. so if I post an independent film I plan to sell, Facebook can also sell it and make profit from it without compensation, and I can just be out of luck because I agreed to it?

People say that you don't have to use their software (Corel) or service (Facebook), but it's not just them. They are all putting these 'I own whatever you send to me' statements in their EULAs and if you don't agree, you don't get to install something you paid for (in the case of software, anyway).

What if car manufacturers did the same thing? By inserting the key, you agree that you shall pay us (manufacturer) $1 from every paycheck you receive from here through eternity and throughout the known universe and beyond, even in your next lifetime.' Section 6 above sounds just as ridiculous.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naked corporate arrogance! Especially their brazen pirating of new and potentially marketable ideas. While fiercely protectjng their own product from piracy they are more than willing to steal someone else’s intellectual property for their selfish gain. I pray this is coming back to haunt them soon.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The thing that bothers me the most about this stupid thing is that a) I have to pay for content that was previously included and that I have to get piecemeal instead of having it available right when I need it, and b) Corel is treating their Premium Members like pay-for-the-privilege beta testers. Download features prior to their release in the next version? Like you said - if one of those hoses my work I will be p*ssed and then some.

My job won't be able to switch software - we've got nearly two decades of files and the laser engravers really like talking to Corel files. There's nothing that says we have to upgrade any time soon, though - we'll think about it AFTER they've dropped this idiotic "membership" plan.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have used CorelDRAW since version 4 & have encouraged a large number of associates to use the program for their design endeavors. I recently downloaded the trial version of "Corel PDF Fusion" & was sadly disappointed w/ the results. The claim by Corel, is that it meets, or exceeds the competitor's product. I found it to be little more than a joke in comparison... & they want 40 bucks for it...( there are other PDF converters available for ten bucks or less that work better, for less money)... the EULA is incredibly similar to their "flagship" program, which I see as, not only a protection device for their software, but also as a restriction to their purchasers. I, personally, would prefer paying more money for a more usable product (ie: Adobe), than sell my soul (& profits) for a lesser thing, that can't be counted on in my production schedule. It's possible for me to upgrade to CorelDRAW X6, but I hesitate due to all the restrictive mandates that apply according to their new EULA. All my associates will, now, be discouraged from pursuing Corel products for their software purchases... instead, I will ask them to look at Adobe or Xara or Sign Lab or FlexiSIGN or something else (a lot of Sign programs can meet or exceed CorelDRAW's capabilities)... these folks are friends of mine... I refuse to try to saddle them with a thing that curdles my skin... & doesn't do anything more than the other guys can do...

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, most users of a software products like any from Corel do not bother to read the agreement that they sign when they install it on their machines until they find out later that they have been taken. It appears that Corel is counting on that.

11:06 PM  

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