[conspire] terms of service, illustrated

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Sep 4 12:31:36 PDT 2011

Quoting Luke S. Crawford (lsc at prgmr.com):

> > 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.  

Well, that point was already extremely obvious.

Wait, were you thinking that I'd said otherwise?  That, because Kindle 
customers could have predicted what it wanted the right to do from
certain extremely odd terms in its Terms of Service contract, that the
firm should get a moral pass on being an utter scumbag?  But I didn't
say that, Luke.

> 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.

Did I ever recommend minutely studying the warranty on a $5 throwaway
USB stick?  Again, did I at some point strike you as an idiot?

> 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.     

A Kindle is easily expensive enough, _and_ (far more important) involves
an ongoing business relationship and online services with Amazon.com,
Inc., that I'd spend the five minute required to read what I'd allegedly
agreed to.

Again, and you seem to have ignored this point, if you bother to get to
know the general form and nature of business contracts, it becomes a
really quick exercise to read and comprehend most of them, _and_ the
ones that are peculilar or have really peculiar terms much more easily
stand out and don't remain just legalistic mumbo-mumbo-mumbo.  

However, if you'd prefer to remain ignorant, go ahead and be happy.
Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

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