How Did The iTunes Terms Of Service Become A Cultural Phenomenon All Its Own?

from the have-you-read-it? dept

People have always tended to hate "terms of service" (TOS) and "end user license agreements" (EULAs) for their software. No one reads the things. A few years back, we wrote about a software company that attempted to prove that no one read the terms of service, by embedding a promise to pay $1,000 to the first person who read the terms and claimed the money. It took four months and over 3,000 downloads before anyone claimed the money.

For some reason, however, the terms and conditions associated with Apple's iTunes service have taken things to an entirely new level, to the point where it appears the iTunes terms have become a cultural icon entirely separate from iTunes. CNN recently asked some lawyers to go through the 56-page document to pick out the bits and pieces you should actually be aware of, but probably aren't. But that's nothing.

Plenty of folks saw the recent episode of South Park, in which the entire basis was built off of parodying the fact that no one reads the iTunes terms:
But, that's not all. CNET recently had famed actor Richard Dreyfuss do a series of dramatic readings of portions of the iTunes terms, which you can hear in the video below:
I have to admit that I'm sort of fascinated with the level to which the iTunes terms have become such a cultural phenomenon, and am curious to see how far it will go. Will we see plays or movies based on it? How about a musical version?

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  1. icon
    terrybbarton (profile), 16 Jun 2011 @ 11:14am

    Don't many people have the software and updates

    installed by a computer professional and thus they have not agreed to anything. In reality I think some contents of many EULAs are completely unenforceable.

    There are some EULAs that go so far as to contain a clause to the effect by using the software you give all intellectual property rights of any content you use in the application to the software publisher. It could be a very slippery slope for the software publisher to try take possession of content using this technique. Suppose as is common that a computer guy not the person using the software clicked agree on the EULA and suppose that's irrelevant anyway because the IP rights belong to their employer or someone else. Then the company's contract is not with the person who used the software and the person who did use the software couldn't give those rights away anyhow.

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