Suppose I said that I’ve been all the way to the end. I’ve traveled all the way to the end of the Internet and guess what I saw? A man was sitting there with a Trump-like comb over. He was wearing nothing but pointy Llama skin boots and a t-shirt that said “Ice Cream for breakfast”,
If you listened closely you could hear it. He was playing a Ukulele and was singing “Insane in the membrane; Insane in the brain”. Yep, at the very end of the Internet.
Now, before you click away because you think you are experiencing a psychedelic drug, or that I must be blogging from the dessert while taking a cactus supplement; let me tell you where we are headed.
I thought I would warn you of all the boxes and checks that we now agree to, when we purchase and download on the Internet. CNN pointed out that Apple makes you click “OK” to a 56 page document, when you want to download something from iTunes. As one comedian said at the White House correspondents dinner when speaking about Congress, “I think you guys vote on bills in the same way that the rest of us agree to updated terms and conditions on iTunes”. Basically, passing legislation they never read.
It’s the state of affairs. We don’t want to wait to read the whole agreement and companies know that. In Pharmacuetical litigation, Drug companies regularly point to their multiple page and multiple folded warning, and claim that the consumer knew or should have know what they were doing, when they picked up the prescription at the counter.
Look at the Merck drug, Vioxx. Merck had initially claimed that people that took their anti-inflammatory drug for muscle pain, accepted the risk of stroke or heart attack, because they had the warning and still took the medication. The number of filled prescriptions, 60 million, proved it.
I suspect that no one sits at Walgreens and reads the warning before signing the sheet and leaving. Very few probably ever read those terms and conditions, before agreeing to acknowledge their acceptance. And, if there is anyone that has been to the end of the Internet; I think that it must be Apple.
For the iTunes agreement, the above attached CNN article has a great Cliffs Notes Version of their agreement. Terms like, it’s your loss when you lose and download. Once downloaded, it’s your responsibility not to lose it.
The terms also remind us that when we buy those products, services or graphics, we don’t really own them like buying a book; we only own a license to use them. By checking and allowing the Genius feature, Apple is saying that they are collecting information to make recommendations. They just aren’t coming right out to say that “we know where you are through your IP address and we track everything that is trackable, like your purchases and your entire history”.
I never did a blog on the recent Supreme Court decision that said that provisions of an agreement that required arbitration, could be enforced. The Court said, by a 5-4 decision that if you and a company agree to it, then you are to be bound by it. You don’t necessarily have a right to a jury trial if you wave it in the agreement.
In the Apple agreement, or anything else that you are clicking “O”, you might be saying that if you don’t agree with something in the future, or your think that you have been overcharged, then you might be agreeing to settle it in California. You might be agreeing to your damages being the price of a song.
Plus, since the opinion wiped out the potential of a class action in those instances, you might find it hard to hire an attorney for the cost of a download overcharge. I don’t know who is taking cases for $2.99 nowadays. It’s terms like that which explain why the agreement get longer and why companies don’t just show us their amendments, when they make changes to the agreement. Instead, they just make us agree to the whole agreement again. They are counting on us to be in a hurry.
This is one of those blogs that hopefully makes you think, the next time you are clicking one of those boxes. Plus, maybe it all boils down to how far a company can go in the free enterprise system, without repercussions, because “you did click that you read and agreed”.
After reading this blog, does it make you want to pull out a Ukulele. Maybe you’d like to just sit down and have a bowl of ice cream for breakfast and just hope that nothing bad happens.