[conspire] terms of service, illustrated

Luke S. Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Sun Sep 4 09:05:10 PDT 2011

On Fri, Sep 02, 2011 at 01:24:24PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> > I think this is similar to the position amazon is in.
> I think that only an idiot would seek to negotiate with Amazon about teh
> Terms of Service for a Kindle, when it's a whole lot easier and more
> effective to simply spot, in the contract terms, the mayhem they purport
> to give themselves the right to indulge, and then take technical
> measures to prevent them from doing that.
> _Or_ sell the Kindle and get a Nook, root it, and put a modified, fully
> open-source Android build onto a microSD card to run it from.
> Did I at some point strike you as an idiot?  Did I ever suggest that it
> is useful or productive to attempt to renegotiate any and all purported
> contracts?

No;  I'm arguing that amazon (and others who do bad things that they
say they can do in their contract) should not be excused from the 
publicity that goes with bad things simply because their contract
states that they can do those bad things.  

If the service is cheap enough, and the contract is complex enough,
reading and understanding the contract costs quite a bit more than 
the service is worth.

In that case, a reasonable person will either simply not do business with
companies that have lengthy contracts or terms, which has it's own 
costs,  or they will evaluate the company based on it's reputation, 
and for low-value stuff that you aren't depending on, like, say, an 
e-reader, I think this is perfectly reasonable.     

For those people, the bad PR that comes with screwing your customers
(even when you said you reserve the right to screw your customers in
the fine print)  is very important. 

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