[conspire] OT?: Ridiculous licence terms

Luke S Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Fri Sep 24 05:11:56 PDT 2010

Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> writes:

> I was asked some weeks ago to participate in an American Cancer Society 
> charity event, Relay for Life (www.relayforlife.org), which involved
> relay running at Palo Alto High School (among other places across the
> country).  Making a long story short, I ended up not participating
> because the waiver they expected everyone to agree to

I think we've all seen that.  The thing is, when you ask a lawyer for
a contract, it seems that they see it as their job to protect you as
much as possible... and as there seems to be no downside to ridiculous
terms in most cases, this means asking for the moon.

I don't actually have a lawyer, but I have a few lawyer friends. I
asked one who kindof owed me a favor for some advice on a privacy
policy and AUP and he pointed to GoDaddy's privacy policy and AUP.

Obviously, he didn't understand what I was trying to do.   He
was trying to help me by showing how I could protect myself
and disclaim all sorts of liabilities... but I'm not godaddy,
and I can't depend on my customers not paying attention.

I'm having this problem right now, actually;  my lack of a privacy 
policy is something of a blocker right now.  ARIN wants my customer
list... under NDA of course, before they will give me more IP addresses.
Apparently what I'm doing counts as delegating a subnet even though
everyone only gets a /32.   

Well, I've told people that I wouldn't give out that info, so really
the only reasonable thing to do is to write up a proper privacy policy
that formalizes what data I will and won't keep, and the conditions
under which I will release that data, include the ARIN situation, 
and then email that to all my customers, so they know what's happening.

Anyhow, the problem seems to be that lawyers usually want to write something
ridiculous, so I've got to come up with something myself, which is

You know what I want?  I want a set of standard privacy policies 
to be published by some group like the EFF.  Much like the creative
commons licenses, a provider can choose a policy that has been vetted
by lawyers and by the community, and can describe it in few words in a 
way that consumers can understand what they are getting.  

Really I don't think most internet services are different enough to 
require custom legal work any more than software packages are.

really, of course, this is a plea for someone else to do my work, but it
does seem like one way to solve the problem.

On the other hand, if customers demanded borland-style plain English
legal documents, it wouldn't be that big of a deal... but most of those
need to be written from scratch.   Lawyers prefer to re-use old documents,
but I guess that's just a matter of money and effort.

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