I wrote about terms of service and how they will ultimately effect anything Parler tries to do in Epik and Parler vs Terms of Service but there is so much more to dive into. The New York Times weighed in with What Happens When You Click ‘Agree’?: “The root problem is that consumers are simply outgunned. Because corporations and their lawyers know most consumers don’t have the time or wherewithal to study their new terms, which can stretch to 20,000 words — about the length of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” — they stuff them with opaque provisions and lengthy legalistic explanations meant to confuse or obfuscate. Understanding a typical company’s terms, according to one study, requires 14 years of education, which is beyond the level most Americans attain. A 2012 Carnegie Mellon study found that the average American would have to devote 76 work days just to read over tech companies’ policies. That number would probably be much higher today.”
Fourteen years, 76 work days?! That’s in 2012! That’s crazy! Heck we still fight about what GPL means. In the language of the internet, IANAL, I Am Not A Lawyer, but reform around this for software, hosting, SaaS, and more needs to happen. Well educated digital producers and end users certainly understand that they can’t do anything illegal based on their jurisdiction, can’t we just say that? If a company has a specific ethical or moral mission, can’t they just say that? The examples in the NYT article are stunning, and frankly reek of trying to take advantage of people rather than focusing on the product or service they are seeking to deliver, “Food and ride-share companies, like DoorDash and Lyft, ask users to agree that the companies are not delivery or transportation businesses.” Uh what? They are delivering food and transportation. You have a problem with your labor agreements? Not my problem.
The most interesting link the article goes to ToS;DR (Terms of Service; Didn’t Read) a play on TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read).