If Famous Novels Were Written Like End-User License Agreements

Fri, 29 Mar 2024

Imagine a world where your favorite literary journeys aren't enthralling tales but legal nightmares. Yes, we're plunging into the dark depths of End-User License Agreements (EULA), transforming iconic literary classics into mind-numbing contracts you'd rather avoid than read.

Buckle up because reading just became about as exciting as filing your taxes.

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (The EULA Edition)

Original Opening: "Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

EULA Opening: WHEREAS, the Reader does wish to embark upon a virtual voyage of literary nature, and, WHEREAS, the Reader acknowledges a desire to embark upon a maritime voyage, and WHEREAS, this voyage may involve interaction with large cetaceans (hereinafter referred to as 'Whales'), the Provider (hereinafter referred to as 'Captain Ahab', 'The Pequod', or 'That Guy with a Peg Leg') shall not be held liable for any damages, injuries, loss of limbs, acts of vengeance, or existential crises that may arise due to encounters with said Whales. Reader acknowledges potential risks including but not limited to: seafaring adventures, prolonged monologues about cetacean anatomy, questionable mental stability of ship's captain, and the sinking of vessels. By proceeding, the Reader agrees to waive all rights to hold the ghost of Herman Melville responsible for any psychological obsessions that may develop from the pursuit of aquatic megafauna, for lost revenue due to obsessive whale-related quests, nor will refunds be issued for failure to successfully harpoon any white whales.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that access to the virtual voyage is granted under the following stipulations:

Section 1.A: The Reader shall not attempt to interpret themes of obsession, mortality, or the nature of existence without expressed written consent from the Author's estate.

Section 3.C: Any and all emotional responses experienced, including but not limited to: nausea, boredom, feelings of existential futility, are the sole responsibility of the Reader.

Addendum B: The Author shall not be held liable for injuries incurred due to excessive eye strain, repetitive sentence structure, or sudden and unwarranted nautical terminology.

Addendum C: Reader shall not reproduce, modify, or create derivative works based on characters without express written consent, encompassing but not limited to: fanfiction, cosplay, or interpretive dance.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Now with MORE Legal Jargon!)

Original Opening: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

EULA Opening: TERMS OF SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: This narrative is governed by a strictly defined social hierarchy (hereinafter referred to as 'The System').

By reading this narrative (hereinafter referred to as 'The Story'), You agree to the following terms: 1) The concept of potential romantic matches is based on socioeconomic class, entailing complex inheritance laws and financial entailments. 2) Female characters within The Story are the property of their nearest available male relative until successful transfer of ownership is established (see section: Marriage, Dowries, and Associated Benefits). 3) The Provider reserves the right to insert witty social commentary, familial misunderstandings, and at least one scandalous elopement.

Reader consents to the collection of personal data including but not limited to: reading preferences, inferred socioeconomic status, and potential relationship compatibility index. This data may be sold to third-party vendors engaged in targeted matchmaking advertisements. Data will be retained indefinitely.

The Story implies potential romantic pairings. Provider makes NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, and shall not be liable for misunderstandings, misjudgments of character, or runaway carriage accidents. Continued participation signifies an agreement to abide by societal norms under penalty of public ostracization or for any actual romantic outcomes for Reader, nor assumes liability for loneliness, heartbreak, or unfortunate social interactions resulting from Reader's interpretation of the work.


A: Reader agrees to assess all characters based on wealth, social standing, and potential for advantageous marriage.

B: Public readings shall not include discussions on themes of female independence, class disparity, or witty social commentary, without obtaining a "Themes and Symbolism" add-on. (Additional charges apply, inquire within for current pricing).

C: Redistribution of this book for the purpose of quoting, scholarly review, or sparking internet flame wars is permitted. However, such Redistribution must include a snarky remark referencing Colin Firth and/or a lake.

3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Legal Trouble Edition) by Mark Twain

Original Opening: "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly."

EULA Opening: DISCLAIMER AND READER NOTICE: This narrative (hereinafter referred to as 'The Story') is a sequel work. Access to The Story requires prior reading of related work ("The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"). Attempting access without prerequisite consumption may result in Continuity Errors and/or Reduced Enjoyment Metric. Provider is not liable and assumes no responsibility for the Reader's lack of familiarity with prior associated source material. The Story may contain instances of dubious morality, questionable parenting, satirical portrayals of the American South, and depictions of situations, language, and societal attitudes and the use of colloquial language that may be deemed offensive or unsuitable. By continuing, the Reader agrees that the The Story is not intended to be emulated or considered socially acceptable, and agrees to absolve the Provider (and/or Mr. Mark Twain) of any claims of promoting delinquency, harboring of runaway individuals, historical inaccuracy, insensitivity, or the sudden urge to run away on a raft. Provider accepts no responsibility for potential corruption of Reader, minor or otherwise, due to engagement with The Story.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Now with Existential Crisis Clauses!)

Original Opening: "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. 'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'"

EULA Opening: NOTICE OF POTENTIAL SPOILERS AND IMPLIED JUDGMENT: The Reader agrees that 'The Story' will contain depictions of wealth disparity, reckless behavior, unrequited affections, and the inevitable disillusionment with the pursuit of the American Dream. The Provider is not responsible for any feelings of inadequacy, existential dread, or the overwhelming desire to throw lavish parties that may occur as a result of exposure to 'The Story'.

The Story is optimized for reading within designated geographical zones (East Egg / West Egg, NY). Accessing The Story outside said zones may result in distorted characterization, diminished thematic impact, and an overwhelming sense of existential ennui.

This book has been digitally watermarked with Gatsby Enterprises Tracking Technology (GETT). Attempts to share, excerpt, or analyze Content without proper licensing will result in the following:

A: Mysterious blinking green lights may appear at the end of your dock. Their significance is not to be questioned.

B: Your social gatherings will be infiltrated by individuals of dubious intent and questionable fashion choices.

C: Excessive yearning, pining, and the consumption of bootleg champagne are likely side-effects. Provider is not liable for feelings of profound disillusionment.

WAIVER OF EXPECTED SATISFACTION: Reader acknowledges that this narrative includes themes of unfulfilled longing, the hollowness of material wealth, and questionable driving practices. Provider is not liable for feelings of dissatisfaction, emotional turmoil, or damages incurred at lavish parties (including but not limited to drunken brawls, vehicular accidents, and/or tragic misunderstandings by swimming pools). Reader understands that the 'Green Light' does not constitute an actionable promise and cannot be exchanged for love, happiness, or the ability to rewind time.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

Original Opening: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."


Mandated Surveillance: Reader acknowledges that Big Brother is always watching. No, really. No personal information is guaranteed as private, secure, or protected. Reader acknowledges by accessing the Work ("1984") they are subject to continuous surveillance by unspecified entities. This surveillance encompasses but is not limited to: monitoring of reading habits, eye tracking, and analysis of subvocalizations through device microphone. Reader consents to immediate thought-monitoring by the Thought Police. Unauthorized thoughts will be punished accordingly.

Terms such as "privacy", "freedom of expression", and "chocolate rations" have been redacted and do not exist.

Attempts to access historical records (including unauthorized versions of this Reader Agreement) are punishable by un-person-ing.

Provider is not liable for the use or misuse of data by state or non-state actors as portrayed within the Work and/or in Reader's real-world experience.

Thank goodness our beloved classics were actually written by brilliant authors and not legal departments!