by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 3rd 2009 5:00pm
We've been getting a bunch of submissions from people about a Times Online story concerning Apple's supposed attempt at "gagging" someone who had their iPod explode. The company agreed to give a replacement, but the terms of the deal made them agree never to talk about it. While this may seem draconian, I'm going to give Apple the benefit of the doubt here: this is pretty standard legal language on such things. I had a laptop whose hard drive died 5 times in six months a few years back, and when the manufacturer finally agreed to replace the laptop (after multiple escalations of the issue), it had a nearly identical clause. But, it was pretty straightforward. Before faxing the agreement back to the company, I just crossed out the clause that said I was barred from ever talking about it, and the guy from the company called me immediately and said: "I see you crossed it out -- our lawyers won't like it, but that's fine, I just want to get you a new machine." Who knows if Apple would be so accommodating, but I think this story is blown a bit out of proportion. This kind of language is standard legalese, rather than some nefarious attempt by Apple to shut up those who have had their iPods explode. Still, the fact that this clause is suddenly generating press attention should put corporate lawyers on warning. These standard clauses are PR nightmares waiting to happen. Take them out of such "replacement" agreements, or be ready to see a similar story appear in the press soon...
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