Not sure why, but I have a case of brain freeze with this one.
November 11, 2011 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Looking for examples of legal clauses in Terms of Use that everyone ignores -- both the clients and the vendor.

I'm looking particularly for cases where the company includes the clause in question merely as a fig leaf to cover their butts, but they know and perhaps even approve of the fact that their customers regularly ignore the clause.

Bonus points if this is a product or service that is widely used and the company regularly takes no action even when informed that the Terms of Use are being violated.

Only example I can think of is porn sites & the 18 yrs or older requirement ...
posted by woodman to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
 
Not really a legal clause, but my box of q-tips says you should never put one in your ear canal.
posted by RobotHero at 10:09 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


"For tobacco use only."
posted by teatime at 3:02 AM on November 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


"For entertainment purposes only" - found on a lot of products.
posted by megatherium at 4:25 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


YouTube and similar services require that you actually own the copyright on what you upload, but has very little interest in whether this is true. This is even more true of Flickr, where copyright is basically completely ignored despite the boilerplate.
posted by gerryblog at 4:26 AM on November 12, 2011


Facebook, too, makes you certify you own the rights to whatever you upload, but this requirement is ignored by both parties.
posted by gerryblog at 4:27 AM on November 12, 2011


For novelty use or some such - cant remember wording - on sex toys
posted by desjardins at 7:05 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


- on sex toys

"For amusement purposes only. Not a medical device."
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:13 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something I actually came across a while back was a PC game that had been made available as a download for the first time. The EULA still said that it was a breach of contract to install it without physical media. Umm.... Looks like somebody didn't run that one by Legal before going live.

Arbitration clauses are frequently ignored by both sides. Sometimes they'll be enforced, and there's litigation about whether or not such clauses are enforceable, but there are a ton of times where the clause is in there but never gets used. Usually, Legal snuck it in there without anyone in the business departments knowing about it.

There are also some borderline cases that are generally ignored by both sides but sometimes enforced. Take, for example, the clause in most vehicle leases that says that only the signing lessee is permitted to drive the vehicle. Vehicle lessees permit other people to drive their vehicles all the time, and this is generally not a problem for anyone. But if the lessor finds that the signer wasn't actually the primary driver but had really only just signed for credit purposes? Yeah, they'll enforce that, because they'll be worried about whether or not the real driver will adequately protect the vehicle. So this is one that is ignored by both sides a lot of the time but actually does get enforced in some cases. Pretty much any time you see a "Only the signer can use this" clause, this is probably what's going on: the other side doesn't care until they do.

On the copyright thing: those clauses actually do have meaning. Requiring users to certify that they own the copyrights to whatever they upload qualifies website operators for safe harbor protections under the DMCA.
posted by valkyryn at 12:23 PM on November 12, 2011


OK, found the best one that meets my needs:

Google's Terms of Service agreement prohibits individuals under the age of 18 from using many of its most popular services! – see http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS, section 2.3.

Crazy, especially considering the company has a page just for K-12 educators with links to activities, handouts for students, etc.
posted by woodman at 9:12 AM on December 8, 2011


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