End-User License Agreement

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What Does End-User License Agreement Mean?

An end-user license agreement (EULA) is a contract that gives a user the right to use a software application in some defined manner. EULAs are typically used for single-sale software and the end user digitally agrees to the contract terms by clicking "I agree." The purpose of the EULA is to protect the software vendor’s intellectual property (IP).


A EULA, which may also be referred to as software license, is written to enforce specific use limitations, such as only installing the software on one computer. Some EULAs limit the user's right to copy software, including copying the software for backup purposes. This is a controversial practice in the United States because US 17 USC 117 grants users the right to duplicate software for this purpose. As a result, the laws around EULA are constantly evolving as aspects of the claims are being challenged in court.

Techopedia Explains End-User License Agreement

Downloading a software application typically involves reading and agreeing to an end user license agreement before being allowed to install it.

What is in a EULA?

The format for a EULA typically includes the following clauses:

  • An overview of the purpose of the agreement
  • Criteria for authorized use of the software
  • Criteria for unauthorized use of the software
  • Consent for use of data
  • Right to terminate

End User Agreement Legal Issues

A EULA is not the same as proof of purchase or a warranty. When a consumer agrees to the specified terms of an EULA, the consumer is actually agreeing to license conditions under which the software can be used. After doing so, the consumer can move forward with full product installation and use.

EULAs do not protect the consumer, and the consumer should never assume that they have purchased the actual software code that runs an application — they are only agreeing to the owner's terms for using the software.

EULAs and Privacy

Depending on the agreement, a software provider may gain the ability to access and/or share client data. This is why it's important for end users to stop and read a EULA before clicking "I agree."

EULA vs. SLA vs. TOS

Software EULAs are sometimes confused with Terms of Service (TOS) and Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). A ToS specifies what rules an IT service customer must follow in order to continue using the service. In contrast, an SLA specifies what services the provider will supply and how they will determine high quality for their service delivery.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.