Hey, Atlantis Computing. What the heck is this in your EULA?

Trying to gag your customers from talking about your gear is utterly shameful

Comment IT business customers are thrice-stuffed “see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil” monkeys. Why? Take a look at Atlantis Computing's EULA.

Get this: "Licensees will not (and will not allow any third party to) ... (iv) publish or disclose to any third party any opinions relating to, or test results, benchmarking or comparative study involving any Product without the prior written consent of Atlantis Computing."

This is an extract from section 3 (iv) of the end user license agreement (EULA) (a copy of which is saved on El Reg's servers here, in case it goes AWOL) which customers sign if they buy an Atlantis product.

I'm told it is not unusual amongst IT suppliers' EULAs to include such clauses which basically restrict free speech.

Let's suppose a customer is really pleased with an Atlantis product's performance after internal studies and/or testing. They can't say it did well in internal tests; they can't say it deduplicates at a nice high clip; they can't say it's better than a competitor; they can't say anything about it, publicly or in private without getting Atlantis' approval.

Nor can they say (hypothetically) that it deduplicates at a very low rate, or is worse than Nutanix, or has flawed instrumentation, without getting Atlantis' approval.

I can say these things as I'm not an Atlantis customer, but no Atlantis customer can tell me these things without Atlantis' approval. If they did, they'd risk having their ass sued off for breaching the EULA. And Atlantis is as likely to approve them telling me negative things as its executives are likely to turn into unicorns and dance on top of Mount Rushmore.

So the tech press is hobbled, literally, in finding out from customers how the products they buy perform and compare to other products.

This is wholly and completely iniquitous and indefensible.

You disagree? Imagine if this applied to my car/Hi-Fi/Wi-Fi router/Internet service/refrigerator/dish-washer/umbrella/anorak/socks/underwear/house/windows/locks/carpets/paints/PCs/notebooks/tablets/mobile phones, etc, etc. That would be outrageous, unforgivable – ludicrous, even, and anyone trying to get customers to sign such a EULA for a domestic Wi-Fi router or any other domestic or private product would be treated with derision and disgust.

Yet IT suppliers, in their amazing arrogance, think it acceptable to apply something that not a single one of their workers, managers, executives and directors would accept for one second in their domestic, non-business life for themselves, their family or their friends, think it perfectly acceptable to apply these dreadful restrictions to their business customers.

And I did write "dreadful" for such EULA clauses are, in my humble opinion, absolutely and totally unjustifiable, and suppliers who apply them and enforce them are, again in my view, exhibiting fear of, and arrogant disregard for, their customers and the market's overall interests.

The law should be changed to simply ban such EULA clauses, in the same way that non-compete clauses in employment contracts are being banned.

You might ask why am I writing this? You might imagine I'd love to tell you, I but can't. I couldn't possibly comment. </rant> ®

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