Friday, February 24, 2006

iTunes Unfair Contract Terms

From Lars Grøndal, BEUC (a European consumers organisation), Brussels, Belgium, "In every day life consumers are frequently accepting standardised contractual and technological terms that they have little or no understanding of. Some of these terms are generally unfair and do not stand up to legal scrutiny. In this article iTunes Music Store’s Terms of Service is used as an example of a standard contract containing unfair terms...

Both DRMs and standard terms are seldom open to individual negotiation – either the consumer accepts them or the consumer will have to take its business elsewhere. If consumers had a wide variety of easily comparable terms this would not be a problem. But as the situation is today, with opaque and often standardised conditions, consumers are facing insurmountable difficulties in obtaining fair terms. Even the legally trained consumer will have trouble getting a proper understanding of all the terms you meet in every day life."

He does a nice job of dissecting parts of the iTunes licence but it's worth remembering that these terms are by no means unique to iTunes. I'd really like to see some of these ridiculous EULAs challenged under unfair contract terms legislation, though arguably, as Lars Grøndal says, "the current legal regime does not fully take into account the unique characteristics of digital products."

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