Prison Messaging Service No Longer Claims It 'Owns' All Of Your Communications

from the good-for-them dept

We recently wrote about some dangerous terms of service from a big prison messaging service, JPay, in which the company claimed to flat out own any content that anyone sent through its service. While the company itself did not appear to be doing stupid things to enforce this, this clause did allow prison guards to put one prisoner in solitary confinement after his sister posted a video he had sent via JPay to social media. The prison claimed it was doing so to protect JPay’s intellectual property.

The company has now told Dave Maass at EFF that it has dropped this clause from its terms of service:

It has recently come to our attention that there is language in our Terms of Service that impacts our customers and their families. The language states that JPay owns all content transmitted through our Email, VideoGram and Video Visitation services. Our intention was never to take ownership and profit in any way from our customers? content. That is not and has never been JPay?s business and we have removed this language from our Terms of Service. From its inception, JPay has pledged to make our customers our top priority and we will continually strive to meet this pledge as best and as quickly as we can.

Maass is suggesting that they take it a step further and ask prison officials not to punish inmates who use their system, claiming that it’s to protect JPay’s intellectual property.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: jpay

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Prison Messaging Service No Longer Claims It 'Owns' All Of Your Communications”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Who's the customer?

Its hard to tell, but it looks like they make their money by charging the inmate and his family for services. As rates very by prison, I am sure the prison gets a cut. But the customer (defined both as the person who gives them the money as well as the person who uses the service), does appear to be the inmate and its family.

mcherm (profile) says:

Re: Re: Who's the customer?

The definition of “customer” can be a bit murky in some cases, but here the inmate (or her family) are the ones who PAY, while the prison are the ones who DECIDE whether or not JPay gets the business. The ones that JPay are most likely to work to keep happy are those who do the deciding — the prison officials. It is not unlike medical insurance in the US, where (except for those on government programs) the employee is the supposed “customer” but it is the employer who actually DECIDES which insurance to purchase.

All that being said, however, I don’t see any indications that JPay is ignoring the well-being of prisoners and their families in the single-minded pursuit of pleasing prison officials. Even if it WOULD be in their best interest, I see much the opposite. I see JPay reacting with impressive speed after the issue was raised to their attention by the media, and changing their policy immediately. So perhaps the cynicism is unwarranted.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Isn’t it wonderful how blind & stupid people are about imaginary property rights?
Because we can, we should… the lawyers told us to.

Now everyone stop looking at us, we issued our press release saying we stopped doing this… now run along and don’t look into our profits, any agreements with sharing the content, or anything else that might expose how we keep this lucrative contract.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...