Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Standard Terms Of Service Documents?

in the long run, it might make sense for the community to develop standard TOS documents for sites to adopt unchanged and in a certifiable manner.

If you think about it a bit, the current situation is absurd on the face of it.

All your life you are told that you should get a lawyer's advice before signing contracts and the like.

So now we have the internet. And we agree to TOS documents and the like online like it is going out of style. Many are long and complex and include other long and complex agreements by reference.

OK, so who calls their lawyer in or sends the TOS along to their lawyer for an opinion before clicking "I agree" on every site they want to join? Who even reads and makes a concerted effort to study and understand the things themselves before they click on agree? Who even reads all of the documents themselves in their entirety before clicking I agree. Many claim to be modifiable by the other party whenever they wish and that we are responsible for keeping up to date on the changes in various ways. And really, who monitors the things for changes and goes through the whole process again on any change?

We need a few, clearly written TOS documents designed to protect the users but also allow the businesses / web sites to profitably function. Then business that want to can adopt these TOS unchanged and display a logo to that effect.

Then the users can get their legal advice if they wish on the few largely unchanging TOS they use and use sites accordingly.

This may be too much to hope for, but the current situation is likely going to end in much heartache on the part of many in the long run.

all the best,