Peculiar terms of use

I have to admit it. I don’t normally read terms and conditions.

Usually meaning practically never.

Maybe I’m a weirdo.

I doubt it.

Maybe the only ones I’ve read are those of my own websites or those of some of my clients. And I guess I’m the only one who has read them.

But they must be there. It’s a legal requirement.

By putting that information linked on the website, it is understood that our rights are covered and safeguarded.

I suppose that, if someone were to misuse my data, and if I were capable of realising it, and if that misuse were to cause me a greater harm than getting involved in lawsuits and lawyers and all that entails, then I would read them.

At the moment I’m living my life without having to get to that point.

And I hope I can keep it that way for a long time.

But sometimes there are interesting things in legal terms.

It is also possible to be innovative in those things that go unnoticed by ordinary mortals.

Because, speaking of mortals, Amazon Web Services’ terms of use include exemptions for the situation where “human corpses revive and attempt to consume live human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue”.

OK.


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I can imagine what the person who drafted that clause would be seeing on his TV.

And no. It’s not unique.

For example, Amazon Games’ terms of use include the following clause:

To enter this Agreement and use the Games, you must be a live human (e.g., not a corporation, organization, artificial intelligence (good or evil), extraterrestrial, sentient non-human primate, etc.). However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence of a widespread extraterrestrial, robot, simian, or similar takeover of planet Earth, in which case we welcome our alien, robot, ape, or other overlords, as applicable, (such parties, “Their Eminences”) to play our Games, and Their Eminences will be subject to the terms of this Agreement, mutatis mutandis, commencing on the date of the takeover and continuing for all periods thereafter, until such date as human governance is restored. Provided, further, that in the event the takeover necessitates the forced migration of the human species to Mars or other celestial body, where the Games are not operable at this time, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to (a) expand the locations where the Games are available and waive applicable restrictions under Section 5.2, below, and (b) enable local game servers as promptly as reasonably practicable, subject in each case to the availability of necessary interplanetary logistics, utility, sustainable life support, asteroid deflection systems, local stores or distribution services, and rule of law, as may be provided by our affiliates, our third-party providers, celestial beings, or governmental or non-governmental organizations.

The important question here is why is a normal human user called “You” and an ape called “Your Eminence”? Do we humans no longer fall into the category of apes?

In any case, there are two important business lessons to be learned from these cases.

On the one hand, drawing up a contract means thinking about everything that can happen. Even if it is currently unthinkable. Because a contract can last a long time and you never know what will happen.

In 2019 (almost) nobody could have thought that a global pandemic could come. And here we are.

On the other hand, that humour and surprise can be interesting ways to get the attention of our audience.

How many people will have read the terms of use of Amazon Web Services or Amazon Games in more detail because someone told them that there is something peculiar there?

Realistically, in the event of a zombie apocalypse the last thing I’m going to worry about is getting a letter from the court.

But what if the lawsuit comes from an offended artificial intelligence?

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