Nobody reads fine print (except ours, right?)

The Gazette has a Canwest-penned article in today’s paper (complete with adorable photo of Montreal-guy-who-visits-websites) about how people don’t read the fine print when visiting websites and entering into contracts with web companies. It cites their obscene length as a key factor:

In the case of online ticket purchases, if you actually click to read Ticketmaster’s fine print before buying concert tickets, the terms run nearly 6,200 words. It takes far longer to read than the three minutes and 15 seconds Ticketmaster gives you to make a decision to buy tickets.

It also points out that the terms can be abusive to the point of absurdity:

They’re often lengthy and complicated. Sometimes they can be changed unilaterally by the company, and they usually include a limited corporate liability clause.

Readers are encouraged to comment on this article. In order to do that, you have to agree to this 785-word license release, which also requires you to read and agree to this 10,509-word general website terms of service. Both contain an absolute liability waiver, and the latter contains a clause that allows the company to unilaterally change the terms without notice. It also contains gems like these:

  1. Except as provided herein, you agree not to reproduce, make derivative works of, retransmit, distribute, sell, publish, communicate, broadcast or otherwise make available any of the Content obtained through a canada.com Site or any of the Services, including without limitation, by caching, framing, deep-linking or similar means, without the prior written consent of the respective copyright owner of such Content.
  2. You shall not have any right to terminate the permissions granted herein, nor to seek, obtain, or enforce any injunctive or other equitable relief against canada.com, all of which such rights are hereby expressly and irrevocably waived by you in favour of canada.com.
  3. You acknowledge having obtained independent legal advice in connection with this license, release and waiver, failing which, you shall be deemed to have voluntarily waived the right to seek such independent legal advice.

Don’t let it be said my bosses don’t have a sense of humour.

(By submitting a comment to this blog post, you hereby agree that Fagstein is awesome.)

4 thoughts on “Nobody reads fine print (except ours, right?)

  1. Shawn

    I agree, and please continue to bite the hand that feeds you. Makes for great reading. I recently read that Canwest may be taken private by the Asper clan. If so, I wonder how that might change things, sense-of-humour-wise.

    Reply

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