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The Web's Longest Disclaimer 381

Posted by timothy
from the that's-gotta-be-a-joke dept.
An anonymous reader writes "American Airlines are nominated for the 'longest website enduser agreement' category with customers requiring to accept this mammoth 'I accept' dialog before using their site. The tale of the tape includes: 181 paragraphs; 3482 words; and 22411 characters. However even mentioning this is probably in violation of the text."
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The Web's Longest Disclaimer

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by RinkSpringer (518787) <rink&rink,nu> on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:54AM (#4592994) Homepage Journal
    ...and even a printable version, in case my toilet runs out of paper ... now *that* is service!
  • by e8johan (605347) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:54AM (#4592995) Homepage Journal
    This is probably a way of hiding 'offensive' paragraphs. I'd say that most end-user agreements are too long. A solution to this would be a legal phrasing and a readable phrasing (i.e. a shorter, readable form with the main points).
    • by The_Shadows (255371) <thelureofshadows@noSpam.hotmail.com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:01AM (#4593030) Homepage
      Right, but then, of course, who's to say what the important parts are? The company likely wants certain things hidden. They will certainly tell the lawyers what is "important" and what is "not."

      I mean, the company may consider it important to let you know that you're forbidden to sell their content. However, they may consider it an unimportant footnote that by entering you grant them power of attorney.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think it's up to us to get organized and publish the main points of the various EULAs/disclaimers out there. That'd be a useful website.
    • by Patik (584959) <cpatik AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:03AM (#4593048) Homepage Journal
      A solution to this would be a legal phrasing and a readable phrasing (i.e. a shorter, readable form with the main points).
      Then you'll run into all sorts of legal problems. Who decides what is necessary to tell the user, and what he needs to know? A user may read the paraphrased EULA, then perform an action with the software not specifically outlined in that paraphrased form, while the action is clearly described as illegal in the full legalese EULA version.

      Even worse, malicious companies can abuse paraphrasing to hide important information. For example, the shortened EULA for Kazaa (etc) can tell the user what can be done with the software (share and download "files"), but conveniently leave out the legal issues ("files" means only non-copyrighted material). You'll either end up with a bunch of innocent people in trouble with RIAA, or a mess of lawsuits between Kazaa and RIAA because they trick users into clicking "I agree" to an over-simplified statement without explaining the laws in full to the user.

      • by vadim_t (324782)
        What can you download with Kazaa has absolutely no place in its EULA. EULAs are supposed to be used to impose some conditions on the user (reverse engineering) that somehow affect the creators of the tool. What files you download with it shouldn't matter. Downloading copyrighted material you don't have rights to is already illegal, EULA or no EULA.

        It's like having an EULA for a car that says you agree not to use it for kidnapping. Since that's already illegal it makes no sense to put it there.
    • by EraseEraseMe (167638) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:06AM (#4593054)
      Hiding the meat and potatoes of a legal argument behind a layer of fluff and doublespeak is incredibly common. In a "CYA" society, you've got to expect that they're going to say everything and anything they can to protect themselves from any sort of liability. What they don't realize however, is that these agreements probably wouldn't stand up under any light.

      For example, one clause "By using the Site, you represent and warrant that you are 18 years of age or older and possess the legal right and ability to enter into this Agreement and to use the Site in accordance with all of the terms and conditions of this Agreement" could cause more than a number of problems. Say someone under the age of 18 purchases a ticket from them online...now what? are they legally obligated to actually provide a service to this person, even though said customer is technically not allowed to use the site?

      The rest of the agreement seems to be pretty standard web-related agreements. Agreeing not to upload/download files (1) to a national or resident of or into any country the U.S. has embargoed, including without limitation, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, or Yugoslavia; (2) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals list, or (3) to anyone on the U.S. Commerce Department's Table of Denial Orders.

      And then at the end of it all, there's the biggest CYA: You may not: S. Engage in any other conduct that is, or that American Airlines deems to be, in conflict with this Agreement.

      Moreover, then there's the liability agreement for the agreement at the end:

      American Airlines may alter, change or improve the Content at any time and without notice.

      Then their privacy policy regarding information they take from you. Although this is a bit of a mind-puzzler:

      American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose.

      First company I've seen doing that...Wonder why.

      And then, the final straw: You agree that Texas law governs this Agreement's interpretation and/or any dispute arising from your access to, dealings with, or use of the Site, without regard to conflicts of law principles.

      Ouch.

      The last paragraph, however, is the greatest laugh-inducer:

      If any provision of this Agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be stricken from this Agreement without affecting the validity or enforceability of any other provision.

      So, they could essentially put "You must name your first child after American Airlines", have it be struck down as idiotic, but the rest of the agreement still stands...nice :)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:04AM (#4593196)
        "The last paragraph, however, is the greatest laugh-inducer:

        If any provision of this Agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be stricken from this Agreement without affecting the validity or enforceability of any other provision.

        So, they could essentially put "You must name your first child after American Airlines", have it be struck down as idiotic, but the rest of the agreement still stands...nice :)"

        You must get a lot of laughs then, because I've seen that clause in a LOT of online and offline agreements. Basically if the law says a particular clause doesn't hold up in court the rest isn't invalid. IANAL of course so I can't say how legal that position is.
      • What they don't realize however, is that these agreements probably wouldn't stand up under any light.

        I find it hard to believe that this is why disclaimers are written in this way. They are lawyers who write these things, after all. Of course they know what is and isn't enforcable.

        Personally I think it's far more likely that they hope that other people won't realise that they wouldn't stand up under any light. As long as 99% of people don't realise what parts of disclaimers (and EULA's) are enforcable, 99% of people will arrange their use of a product or service in exactly the way the vendor wants them to.

        Even if people suspect that it's over the top, it's not worth most people's time, money or effort to find out in an extended legal battle.

        • The job of a lawyer isn't that it's enforcable, but that it's enforcable enough to keep it out of court.

          I mean really, who calls up their lawyer everytime they're given a EULA? And second, who calls them when they've been told the EULA has been violated?

          I'm sure there are some, but they are in the distinct minority simply because:

          1) Those who do not have the money to fight giant corporations don't, and
          2) Those who do are so protective of their money it's better to cut your losses and run.

          So, unless you're getting pro bono help by someone worth their weight in bar admissions, it's just not happening.
      • by ptbrown (79745)
        And then at the end of it all, there's the biggest CYA: You may not: S. Engage in any other conduct that is, or that American Airlines deems to be, in conflict with this Agreement.

        I'm imagining an onUnload handler that checks if the site you're going to is some other airline and pops up a warning saying you're in violation of the EULA.

        American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose.

        They probably outsource their email and crm services. This is the problem with panaceas like P3P: the limitations are overly-broad so you either have to be completely paranoid and not be able to do anything online, or relax the standards and allow for the possibility of someone abusing your trust. The only way to prevent people from using your personal data without your permission is to make it outright illegal. Too bad the people who want to do such things have a lot of friends in congress.

        You agree that Texas law governs this Agreement's interpretation and/or any dispute arising from your access to, dealings with, or use of the Site, without regard to conflicts of law principles.

        There's UCITA at work. Wasn't there a big fuss about a hundred and fifty years ago about one state's laws being enforced in another? That and something about those who forget the lessons of history...

        • There's UCITA at work. Wasn't there a big fuss about a hundred and fifty years ago about one state's laws being enforced in another? That and something about those who forget the lessons of history...

          I live in Texas and as far as I know we have not passed UCITA. Texas legislature only meets 6 months out of every 24 to keep us from passing too many laws (it doesn't always work but it helps). The reason that American Airlines wants to be governed by the laws of Texas is because the are headquartered in Dallas. Probably in there so when someone sues them they can point to the clause and say "See you have to come here to fight us" and they don't have to send an army of lawyers to North Dakota or something like that.

      • by linuxbaby (124641)
        So, they could essentially put "You must name your first child after American Airlines".

        Ooof! Don't I know it! Yeah I missed that part of the IUMA [iuma.com] EULA once.

        But now my son Iuma is 2 years old and doesn't seem to mind it so much.

      • by Surak (18578)
        And then at the end of it all, there's the biggest CYA: You may not: S. Engage in any other conduct that is, or that American Airlines deems to be, in conflict with this Agreement.

        (IANAL)

        They're basically saying "You can't do anything we don't like." Whether the clause is enforceable or not depends on what you did. It's actually pretty useless as a clause, IMHO, because the only thing that clause can protect is their private property and IP rights.

        American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose.

        Really? So they can publish my credit card number on their Web site or in their TV commercials?

        Real answer: Nope. The clause is not enforceable in many cases because they have a duty of care to protect any confidential information you give them regardless of what this clause says.

        Crap like this falls along the same lines as the signs on public lockers that say "Store stuff here at your own risk." Regardless of the sign, if the locker you use becomes broken into because, for instance, the locker was in a state of disrepair, the owner of the locker as not met his duty of care and is therefore guilty of negligence and is liable to you for damages.

    • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:39AM (#4593147) Homepage
      Certainly. But in such an "agreement" all the phrasing is 100% in their favour. The entire thing only says they have all rigths, you have none whatsoever.

      Let's look at a few examples:

      Engage in any other conduct that is, or that American Airlines deems to be, in conflict with this Agreement.

      Now this one is the killer. Notice the OR in there. This one simply says that any conduct which they dislike is in violation of the agreement, whether such conduct is prohibited by the agreement itself or not. In effect this single statement renders the rest of the text meaningless.

      American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines.

      Nonsense ! By putting up a website they implicitly allow linking to it. If they don't want people to link to it, they can take it down. "Provide reference" is even more ridiculous. Does this mean it's forbidden for me to tell anyone where to find the site ? If not, what does it mean ?

      American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose. Again nonsense. They assert that simply by accessing their website, I have to consent to their "agreement". What stops me from sending them "communications" with a similar assertment in it ?

      You understand that American Airlines owns any and all information or material that you post on a Forum. You agree that you waive all of the rights you have to any information or material that you post on a Forum. American Airlines has the right to do whatever it wishes with that information or material, including but not limited to deleting or editing for any reason any posting by you.

      So they own everything, yet in the next paragraph they say that whatever you post to the site is fully your responsibility and they have no obligations whatsoever. Now, which will it be ? Is it *their* material or *my* material ?

      You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless American Airlines and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, demands, proceedings, suits and actions, including any related liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, deficiencies, penalties, taxes, levies, fines, judgments, settlements, expenses (including legal and accountants' fees and disbursements) and costs (collectively, "Claims"), based on, arising out of or resulting from your use of the Site,

      This says that (among other things) if you buy a ticket on the site, and they make a profit, leading to the need to pay taxes, you need to pay those taxes for them. Really. Read it again !

      It goes on, but I think further commenting is needless, the "agreement" is clearly bunk, and I'd like to believe it'd never be upheld in any court in the world. Possible exception for the USA, I recommend people unlucky enough to live there to seek asylum elsewhere.

      • by Jon Peterson (1443) <jon&snowdrift,org> on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:38AM (#4593250) Homepage
        You said:

        You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless American Airlines and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, demands, proceedings, suits and actions, including any related liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, deficiencies, penalties, taxes, levies, fines, judgments, settlements, expenses (including legal and accountants' fees and disbursements) and costs (collectively, "Claims"), based on, arising out of or resulting from your use of the Site,


        This says that (among other things) if you buy a ticket on the site, and they make a profit, leading to the need to pay taxes, you need to pay those taxes for them. Really. Read it again !


        I say

        AARRGGH!! No it freaking doesn't. This is one of the most standard clauses in any contract anywhere, and it says that if _I_ incur penalties, taxes, etc as a result of using AA's service, then AA are not responsible.


        I'm not a lawyer, but my job is to provide technical advice on legal contracts that are software and technology related, so I get used to this kind of language. Please try to be accurate...

        • by Repton (60818) on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:56AM (#4593275) Homepage

          If I cut out some of the synonyms from the clause (which seems like it should be OK, as I'm only making it say less, not more), I get:

          You agree to [...] indemnify [...] American Airlines [...] from and against any and all [...] taxes [...] resulting from your use of the Site,

          It still seems to me that the earlier poster's interpretation is consistent with the clause: If I use the site (to buy a ticket), and taxes arise from this use of the site (as they would) then I agree to indemnify [dictionary.com] (compensate) American Airlines for those taxes.

          If that's not what it means, then it is not very clear ...

    • Just search the text for "your first born", "RIAA" or "pass your email address on to third parties". If no matches, it's probably alright...
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:55AM (#4593004)
    Its not like we really read the disclaimers. The only websites I read the disclaimers are porn sites, because you never know if they say, "By clicking here you agree to be billed $29.99"
  • Heh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BrainInAJar (584756) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:56AM (#4593006)
    I checked the EULA out, and apparantly, it is inconsequential weather or not you click "i agree" or "i do not agree"

    Clicking "i do not agree" still brings you to the same page...
  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:57AM (#4593008) Homepage Journal
    News Flash: Our site is being attacked by loony hackers. Sorry you cannot book any tickets today.

    Probably the first time in history that an airline had to close down due to slashdot.

  • by Fruny (194844) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:57AM (#4593009)
    According to this :

    O. Take any action that will or could impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our site infrastructure.
    • by tulare (244053) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:10AM (#4593065) Journal
      Touche - I thought they must have had a /. clause in there somewhere. Of course, there's also this line further down:
      American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines.
      Heh.
  • Disclaimer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cebarro (596789) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:57AM (#4593012)
    Funny - it's quicker to NOT ACCEPT as accepting takes you to the AAdvantage enrollment while NOT accepting drops you right into making a reservation.
  • it is a violation! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GoatPigSheep (525460) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:58AM (#4593016) Homepage Journal
    However even mentioning this is probably in violation of the text

    taken from the disclaimer:

    American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines

    so yes, you did violate a portion of it :)

  • by rehabdoll (221029) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:59AM (#4593020) Homepage
    "You may not copy, display, distribute, download, license, modify, publish, re-post, reproduce, reuse, sell, transmit, use to create a derivative work, or otherwise use the content of the Site for public or commercial purposes. Nothing on the Site shall be construed to confer any grant or license of any intellectual property rights, whether by estoppel, by implication, or otherwise."

    If you cant even display it, how is it legal to even review the agreement? :D
  • by gafferted (560272) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:59AM (#4593021)
    Clicking "I do not accept" appears to still grant access to the site.

    So I can still book a flight without agreeing to donate my firstborn to their catering department.

    Andrew

  • by spacefight (577141) on Monday November 04, 2002 @03:59AM (#4593024)
    It's about AAs frequent flyer program, not about the whole site (the title and the URL says it):

    If you choose not to accept these terms, you may enroll in the AAdvantage program offline by contacting AAdvantage Reservations/Customer Service.

  • by roguerez (319598) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:00AM (#4593028) Homepage
    "You're not allowed to use our planes to fly them into buildings."
  • by hoegg (132716) <ryan.hoegg@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:01AM (#4593031) Journal

    I decided to scroll around it for a minute and happened upon this gem:

    You agree and understand that you will not bring against AMR Corporation, American Airlines, or any of its affiliated entities, agents, directors, employees, and/or officers any class action lawsuit related to your access to, dealings with, or use of the Site.

    I mean, that's stupid. If your incompetent network admin leaks the travel schedules of me and 10,000 other Americans, we "voluntarily" waive the right to sue you?

    If I was me (and I am), I would simply choose another airline who doesn't want to try and hoodwink me into something I will regret.

    • "If I was me (and I am)..."

      Thanks for clarifying that. ;)
    • by thejk (575418) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:14AM (#4593078) Homepage
      Actually, they probably cannot enforce that, if it comes to it. For a reference, see the recent ruling [uscourts.gov] for Comb v. PayPal. Basically, you cannot make end users give up their basic legal rights through EULA, etc., if I understand the ruling correctly. But, hey, IANAL. Somewhat off-topic, it really bothers me that EULAs and most legal documents are, well, written in abstruse legalese. Is anyone aware of a movement in the US to limit the use of complex legalese in favor of plain engligh? I have found the following sites on google, but they are mostly for other countries -- except one that refers to the Michigan Bar effort.
      • UK: www.plainenglish.co.uk/law.html
      • India: http://www.globallawreview.com/lr8.html
      • Michigan Bar: http://www.michbar.org/committees/penglish/columns /131.html
      • I think programmers should submit all legal correspondence in either assembly, Perl, or Lisp.
      • by Tomster (5075) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:34AM (#4593604) Homepage Journal
        Somewhat off-topic, it really bothers me that EULAs and most legal documents are, well, written in abstruse legalese. Is anyone aware of a movement in the US to limit the use of complex legalese in favor of plain engligh?

        Somewhat off-topic, it really bothers me that most computer documents are, well, written in abstruse 'technicalese'. Is anyone aware of a movement in the US to limit the use of complicated 'technicalese' in favor of plain engligh?

        Somewhat off-topic, it really bothers me that most medical documents are, well, written in abstruse 'medicalese'. Is anyone aware of a movement in the US to limit the use of complicated 'medicalese' in favor of plain engligh?

        Legalese is painful to read, but it exists for a good reason, just like 'technicalese' or 'medicalese' or other 'ese's. I feel your pain though, I do a little patent work in our office and that stuff is a nightmare.

        -Thomas

  • by KarmaBitch (562896) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:01AM (#4593033)

    American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site

    Oops. Sorry Slashdot.. You've been bad


    American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose.

    Thank You for respecting my privacy

    ------------

    An example of lawyers that don't understand technology

    Download or upload files that may damage the operation of another's computer, such as computer viruses, corrupt files, or similar software


    When was the last time you downloaded something that hurt a website :D

    Ohh.. I'm sure there's more intresting stuff in there... And I'm also pretty damn sure it's not the longest EULA...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:07AM (#4593060)
      >> Download or upload files that may damage the operation of another's computer, such as computer viruses, corrupt files, or similar software

      >When was the last time you downloaded something that hurt a website :D


      Um, about 10 seconds ago. It's called the slashdot effect. :-p
  • The license does state that you are not allowed to link to the site...
    • American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines.
    I hope timothy didn't accept the license before posting the story.

    It does appear that most of it has been stolen from any other terms and conditions page and hacked around to fit American Airlines... Especially all those bits about using their website to distribute files that shouldn't be distributed (who's going to use AA to distribute mp3's?!?!?)
  • Even the Google cache appears slashdotted by diligent Karma whores. Hell, here's a link [216.239.53.100], in case anyone's interested.



    Note: Posting under a hack3d a/c to prove that i'm a karma donator.

  • If they screw up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mika_Lindman (571372)
    "You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless American Airlines and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, demands, proceedings, suits and actions, including any related liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, deficiencies, penalties, taxes, levies, fines, judgments, settlements, expenses (including legal and accountants' fees and disbursements) and costs (collectively, "Claims"), based on, arising out of or resulting from your use of the Site, including without limitation any Claims alleging facts that if true would constitute your breach of this Agreement."

    So if you book a ticket online, and they screw up, you can't get your money back?
  • The law is lacking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by weiyuent (257436) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:06AM (#4593055) Journal
    This is a perfect example of how inadequate laws make life cumbersome for both corporations and their customers.

    From the company's standpoint, EULA's could be a real headache, because the company has to hammer out pages upon pages of legalese to cover its own arse.

    From the consumer's perspective, ever-expanding EULA's are just as much a nuisance as a potential pitfall when not read properly. It becomes impractical to read them, yet the less you read them before agreeing, the more you expose yourself to being taken advantage of.

    The solution is more laws and better laws, and this is where the government CAN do good. If most things that are common sense can be nailed down in public law (i.e. we're not responsible if you scald yourself with hot coffee, we will not spam you, etc.), then EULAs could be trimmed and focused on the unique essentials of a particular situation. That would benefit both consumers and corporations. The only losers in this situation would be all the parasitic lawyers and the sneaky folks with dubious EULAs (*cough* Microsoft *cough*).

  • by Nept (21497) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:14AM (#4593077) Journal
    I think the key line in that agreement is
    Likewise, [...] this agreement will be considered broadened to the extent needed to permit [...] third parties to operate within the terms of a written agreement they have entered into with us.
    In other words, this policy you have to agree to is only valid as long as it doesn't interfere with agreements AA has and will make with 3rd parties. Which basically means, you're agreeing to anything that AA and its partners agree to.
    It reminds me of a lot of EULAs/policies where there is a long list of who the company might and might not share information with and may seem very stringent, but at the very end of the list is a short give away line to the effect that they can share the information with anybody.

    Also, it would be illegal according to the terms of the agreement to post this policy here, as in their policy you agree not to "copy, display, distribute, download, license, modify, publish, re-post, reproduce, reuse, sell, transmit" any of their HTML code or "the content of the Site" for public or commercial purposes.

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:15AM (#4593082) Homepage
    The T&Cs say you must not: M. Monitor or copy any Content by using any manual process, or any robot, spider, or other automatic device, without first obtaining American Airlines' prior written consent.. This means that you can't visit the site to read it, surely since that involves monitoring the site with a manual process (i.e. reading it).

    Or how about the fact that you must not: O. Take any action that will or could impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our site infrastructure. So no posting on Slashdot either!

  • In related news... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:15AM (#4593083) Journal
    Something similar has been posted here before: Longest email disclaimer awards [slashdot.org]. The longest disclaimer was apparently 7K large and the unlucky "winner" was UBS Warburg [ubswarburg.com].

    Also, an analysis of stupid e-mail disclaimers [goldmark.org].
  • by ukryule (186826) <slashdot@y u l e.org> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:16AM (#4593088) Homepage
    Couldn't they provide a version of their 'terms & conditions' which includes a little video with airhostesses miming actions to clarify it...

    "Our trademarks and logos are protected *here* and *here* ... When you reach paragraph 17 masks will automatically drop from the compartment above. Please ensure that your rights have been securely passed to us before helping those sitting next to you ... etc"

    That way everyone could click on the "I accept" after ignoring the whole thing with a clear conscience!
  • One for the longest disclaimer, and one for the most un-read disclaimer. Hmmm... wonder why?
  • by tulare (244053) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:17AM (#4593092) Journal
    Forum for actions, governing law, and procedural restrictions
    You agree that this Agreement is made and entered into in Tarrant County, Texas. You agree that Texas law governs this Agreement's interpretation and/or any dispute arising from your access to, dealings with, or use of the Site, without regard to conflicts of law principles.
    So if you do happen to, um (looks again at EULA) get busted for swapping copyrighted pr0n on the American Airlines website, you will be under the thumb of Texas law - an institution known as not quite as bad as getting on the bad side of the mob, but since the jails are privately owned and run for profit, it's probably a bad place to be, no?
    Never trust a Texan.
    --A line from some movie about Geronimo.
  • "American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site"

    Which has got to be just about the stupidest thing possible .... a web site no one's allowed to link to is one that no one can access.

  • Did you try hitting the "I do not accept" button. It gives you the exactly same services as the "I accept" does. Does this mean, that now I can just break any rules they stated in that legal jargon :) ?
    • Ohh, actually it does not give you the same services. It just redirects you to the "Make a reservation page". Still, applying the things stated in the Disclaimer makes the whole thing look like a joke.
  • by antdude (79039) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:23AM (#4593106) Homepage Journal
    I found it many years ago:

    This product is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. List each check separately by bank number. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Postage will be paid by addressee. Subject to CAB approval. This is not an offer to sell securities. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Do not stamp. Use other side for additional listings. For recreational use only. Do not disturb. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. No user-serviceable parts inside. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Subject to change without notice. Times approximate. Simulated picture. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States. Please remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. For off-road use only. As seen on TV. One size fits all. Many suitcases look alike. Contains a substantial amount of non-tobacco ingredients. Colors may fade. We have sent the forms which seem right for you. Slippery when wet. For office use only. Not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Drop in any mailbox. Edited for television. Keep cool; process promptly. Post office will not deliver without postage. List was current at time of printing. Return to sender, no forwarding order on file, unable to forward. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. At participating locations only. Not the Beatles. Penalty for private use. See label for sequence. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. Do not write below this line. Falling rock. Lost ticket pays maximum rate. Your canceled check is your receipt. Add toner. Place stamp here. Avoid contact with skin. Sanitized for your protection. Be sure each item is properly endorsed. Sign here without admitting guilt. Slightly higher west of the Mississippi. Employees and their families are not eligible. Beware of dog. Contestants have been briefed on some questions before the show. Limited time offer, call now to ensure prompt delivery. You must be present to win. No passes accepted for this engagement. No purchase necessary. Processed at location stamped in code at top of carton. Shading within a garment may occur. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Keep away from fire or flames. Replace with same type. Approved for veterans. Booths for two or more. Check here if tax deductible. Some equipment shown is optional. Price does not include taxes. No Canadian coins. Not recommended for children. Prerecorded for this time zone. Reproduction strictly prohibited. No solicitors. No alcohol, dogs or horses. No anchovies unless otherwise specified. Restaurant package, not for resale. List at least two alternate dates. First pull up, then pull down. Call toll free number before digging. Driver does not carry cash. Some of the trademarks mentioned in this product appear for identification purposes only. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. Record additional transactions on back of previous stub. Unix is a registered trademark of AT&T. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. No transfers issued until the bus comes to a complete stop. Package sold by weight, not volume. Your mileage may vary. Known as Hellman's east of the Rockies. Beware of greeks bearing gifts. Beware of gifts bearing greeks. This side up. Don't take any wooden nickels. Don't take candy from strangers. Void where prohibited. Caveat Emptor (Buyer beware) Caveat Vendor (Beware of street people). Donde esta el bano. Beware of DOS. Look both ways before crossing the street. All your base are belong to us. Always wear safety belt. Always wear deodorant. Don't forget to breathe. If you park, don't drink...accidents cause people. This supersedes all previous notices.

    This modified disclaimer may not be copied without the expressed written consent of whoever I stole it from.

  • by tulare (244053) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:26AM (#4593109) Journal
    I mean, come on. Has it dawned on anyone else out there that these butt-covering disclaimers are becoming meaningless? What I'd really like to see would be a court opinion to the general idea of "the agreement was written in Legalese, which is no more readable to the person agreeing to the contract than Latin or Esparanto. Given that the person agreeing to the contract could not reasonably be expected to hire an attorney to understand his or her rights before clicking OK in order to buy airline tickets (or install Windows, ahem), the EULA as given is essentially an unenforcable abrogation of constitutionally protected rights. Therefore, the EULA in its entirety is invalid."

    Of course, some fucknut tort lawyers would have to get real jobs, but I promise to lose 10^-30 seconds of sleep over that one.

    Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming. Is that my alarm clock?
  • No web crawlers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by riflemann (190895) <riflemannNO@SPAMbb.cactii.net> on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:26AM (#4593111)
    Interesting to note from the agreement:

    [You shall not] Monitor or copy any Content by using any manual process, or any robot, spider, or other automatic device, without first obtaining American Airlines' prior written consent.

    However:

    $ wget http://www.aa.com/robots.txt
    --10:23:00-- http://www.aa.com:80/robots.txt
    => `robots.txt' Connecting to www.aa.com:80... connected!
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 404 Not found
    10:23:01 ERROR 404: Not found.

    So they've not got a robots.txt file. Do they expect web crawlers to read and understand this also??

    • Re:No web crawlers? (Score:3, Informative)

      by trezor (555230)

      They're corporate *bastards*, not sysadmins. You think the webmaster wrote this? :)

      The EULA prpbably phorbited you to check for robots.txt as well. Just linking the EULA was, according to the EULA, not allowed for anyone but aa, if I remember correctly.

      So... What's the deal? You make it public. And say it's not for public use. Scizofrenic weirdos.

  • American Airlines specifically denies you permission to hyperlink or provide references to the Site, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines. You are also denied permission to use any trademarked or copyrighted material to provide such hyperlinks or references, unless you are allowed to do so under a separate written agreement with American Airlines. American Airlines bears no responsibility for sites that provide hyperlinks or references to the Site unless those sites are operated by American Airlines.

    Is it illegal if I haven't agreed? [aa.com]
    What can they do to me [aa.com]
    Why do they care if people link to them [aa.com]
    What a load of rubbish [aa.com]

    Sorry probably a waste of ones and zeroes but not as much as that dribble. The agreement says it is to protect your privacy while using the site but if you read the whole agreement they can do what ever they want with third parties, no recourse to tell you and the agreement can be changed at any time anyway. They aren't protecting privacy at all in that document in fact it looks pretty much like they have already sold their customers down the river and added a clause in the agreement that you can not sue them for anything that results from using the site, like the selling of personal information.
    So the agreement should read
    We can and will sell your information to third parties.
    If you use this site you can not sue us.
    It would be an easier read at that.

    But the can't hyperlink clause is funny.
  • Readability (Score:2, Funny)

    by scot4875 (542869)
    I especially like how nicely formatted and spaced it is, ensuring optimum readibility.

    Block-right text and no paragraph breaks? It almost looks like a Slashdot comment...

    --Jeremy
  • by coene (554338) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:35AM (#4593133)
    "You agree that you will not Misuse the Site. "Misuse" includes, but is not limited to, using the Site to do any of the following:"

    You know the EULA is too long when on a "you will not" clause, the bullets go all the way to the letter S
  • Anecdote... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shic (309152) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:38AM (#4593144)
    While an undergrad, one course (taught in Prolog) required all the students to take a given program, amend it and provide hardcopy traces of the output after each of the 5 stages to show that the program "still worked." Leaving aside the inherent flaws (which I could argue mean the original program could never "work!") I stumbled upon the documentary requirement placed on students. Two of us produced the first phase of the first part's printed documentation and a projection that a complete answer would cost tens of thousands of pounds in paper and ink and take several years to print even given exclusive use of the university's fastest printers. When challenged, the lecturer (who set this dastardly task) explained that all he really wanted was a 'heavy' submission from each student - in order to dissuade moderators from questioning the grades he deemed appropriate as they would have no desire to wade through a few hundred pages of output before making their case!

    The sooner people realise that documentary complexity and volume doesn't gain advantages the better. It would be great to see a shift in opinion about such treatise requiring that the document be taken as a whole - and considered void in it's entirety should it contain anything redundant, unnecessarily convoluted or not legally binding. If this doesn't happen, I can only envisage licenses plummet further towards their own obsolescence.

  • If I ever want to create a license agreement I can just refer to their site. They have everything in there. I can just take the bits an pieces that sound official, change the wording a little, and voila! poor mans EULA.
  • by infolib (618234) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:43AM (#4593155)
    "Misuse" includes, but is not limited to, using the Site to do any of the following:
    ...

    O. Take any action that will or could impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our site infrastructure.

    Timothy, take down that link!
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:47AM (#4593163) Homepage
    I went to the American Airline site, and the story is simply wrong. You can use the site just fine, without ever seeing that agreement. You only see the agreement when you try to sign up for their frequent flyer program.


    There is nothing at all newsworthy here, for nerds, or anyone else. Come on, editors...don't accept junk like this.

  • Sorry, but as a translator I have had quite a few major web sites to translate and this EULA (read "charter" in most other languages) is neither shorter nor longer in any significant way than most others I've seen. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to say what these other sites are (professional ethics...), but I will say that since words are my billing units, meaning I have to count them every time, I know what I'm talking about. 3000 to 4000 words is commonplace -- and believe me, translating them is boring!
  • by Natal VC (197118) on Monday November 04, 2002 @04:57AM (#4593184)
    > However even mentioning this is probably in violation of the text.

    Yep:

    "You agree that you will not Misuse the Site. "Misuse" includes, but is not limited to, using the Site to do any of the following:

    [..]

    O. Take any action that will or could impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our site infrastructure."

    - N.
  • by noz (253073) on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:02AM (#4593193)
    "...even mentioning this is probably in violation of the text."

    You can't violate the EULA if you don't accept it. If you don't accept it, I guess you can't fly American Air!
  • by jericho4.0 (565125) on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:32AM (#4593242)
    The scariest part of this EULA?
    You agree that Texas law governs this Agreement's interpretation
    It doesn't matter if you're a minor, retarded, or insane. We'll get you.
  • Priorities (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday November 04, 2002 @05:33AM (#4593243) Homepage
    Shame their 9/11 security wasn't as tight as their web site T's and C's.
  • by Graabein (96715) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:16AM (#4593314) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer: Any resemblance between the above views
    and those of my employer, my terminal, or the view out
    my window are purely coincidental. Any resemblance
    between the above and my own views is non-deterministic.
    The question of the existence of views in the absence
    of anyone to hold them is left as an exercise for the
    reader. The question of the existence of the reader
    is left as an exercise for the second god coefficient.
    (A discussion of non-orthogonal, non-integral polytheism
    is beyond the scope of this article.)

    Apologies to whoever I stole it from.
  • Mailorder privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newfoundry (559985) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:27AM (#4593330) Homepage
    [from their privacy policy [aa.com]...] "Protecting your privacy. Your privacy is important to us... " [unless you've read the eula [aa.com]...] "American Airlines will not treat as confidential any communications you send to us by electronic mail or otherwise. American Airlines has no obligation to refrain from publishing, reproducing, or otherwise using your communications in any way and for any purpose." [and if you want to opt out you'll need a stamp and a lot of patience [aa.com]...] "While we believe this disclosure of your information will result in opportunities that may be of interest to you, you have the right to tell us not to give your information to any third party. If you want American to keep all of your information confidential and not share it with any third party, please mail your written request to American Airlines AAdvantage Program; P.O.Box 619688; DFW Airport, Texas 75261-9688. Your request must include your name, AAdvantage number, mailing address and must be signed. Please allow six weeks to process your request. "

    Airmail, anyone?

  • by nachoboy (107025) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:38AM (#4593344)
    ...by a long shot. Check out their service agreement [netsol.com]. A whopping 237 paragraphs, 31,999 words, and 202,556 characters.
    • Verisign has them beat by a long shot.

      Yeah, but that's a service agreement. Somehow I think this stuff is much more absurd as a contract you have to accept before they allow you to use their #^#$@#%^ webpage . And then if you refuse, they allow you to use their webpage.

    • by lightweave (522226) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:21AM (#4593548)
      Actually this is a service agreement and not a EULA that allows you to access their website. I would expect from such a contract to be more lengthy then a simple EULA. I wrote such a contract myself and it also got rather long because you should cover all szenarious you possibly encounter with your customers. This way you don't have to go to court and can settle many things more easily.

      On the other hand I find this paragraph from VeriSign rather refreshing: --
      2. Use of Information. You acknowledge and agree that we may (but are not obligated to) collect, store, use and/or publish information regarding, and data related to, your VeriSign Web Site, including, but not limited to, your domain name, URL and traffic counts. Possible uses of such information include, but are not limited to, marketing, the development and distribution of lists concerning traffic patterns of (or visits to) web sites and VeriSign member web sites and for other general commercial purposes. Use of any personally identifiable information will be in accordance with VeriSign's Privacy Policy.
      --
      So basically they say that they are allowed to monitor all your traffic and sell them to whoever they chose. Nice one. The best is, that they use their own privacy policy which is subject to changes. So agreeing to this you have no privacy at all. At the least you are at the mercy of VeriSign.
  • by Nept (21497) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:38AM (#4593347) Journal
    cause it's AA. and we know RIAA and MPAA are evil, so AA must be the root of all evil

  • by Anarchofascist (4820) on Monday November 04, 2002 @06:50AM (#4593372) Homepage Journal
    I only read as far as "By using the Site, you represent and warrant that you are 18 years of age or older and possess the legal right and ability to enter into this Agreement..." before my brain exploded and I had to go out the back and install a spare.

    So, am I to understand that by using the site I agree that I am legally allowed to agree to this agreement? <fx src="explode.wav" /> bugger there goes another one.

    The lawyers who wrote this crap are clearly a waste of valuable oxygen, water, energy and trace elements.
  • by migstradamus (472166) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:15AM (#4593411) Homepage
    " O. Take any action that will or could impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our site infrastructure."
  • by Dexter's Laboratory (608003) on Monday November 04, 2002 @07:30AM (#4593432)
    Somewhere in the middle, you start to see interesting things included in the text. In the 87th paragraph there is a rather delicious sushi recipe, in the 90th paragraph, a Seinfeld quote, and in the 92nd, it said "Have you read this far, I'll buy you a Big Mac". Not many people have noticed this because it's quite the enormous mass of text.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:24AM (#4593561) Homepage
    The PayPal Agreement [paypal.com] is 373 paragraphs, 19,127 words, 119,761 characters.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [reggoh.gip]> on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:47AM (#4593675) Journal
    How refreshing it is to see a link that still responds, even when slashdotted...
  • by mikedaisey (413058) on Monday November 04, 2002 @08:51AM (#4593700) Homepage
    Everybody does know that this is an enduser agreement for their frequent flier program, and not for their website, right?

    It's clearly marked there, and if you click on "I Do Not Agree" you are taken to the main page of their website to place your order--no fuss, no muss.

    I'm not arguing that some of their terms aren't ridiculous--but this agreement's length is not to block people from the main site, but probably to keep people from abusing their frequent flier program.

    Did everyone just tear into the legalese immediately, w/o reading anything else?

  • by Nonac (132029) on Monday November 04, 2002 @09:04AM (#4593774) Journal
    They tried to hold me to the terms of this agreement even though I never saw it or agreed to it.

    I was selling Kellogg's AAdvantage coupons that I had cut off cereal boxes on ebay. Somebody from American sent me a threatening letter telling me I was in violation of the terms of use of the AAdvantage program. They also sent a letter to my bidders who backed out of the auction on threat of having their AAdvantage accounts terminated.

    When I responded to their original email asking how they can enforce a penalty against me if I never signed up for AAdvantage, they never responded.

    Since then, I have continued to sell AAdvantage coupons on ebay in private auctions so American Airlines can't hassle my buyers.
  • by hyoo (155460) on Monday November 04, 2002 @09:08AM (#4593794)
    You must be over 18.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday November 04, 2002 @10:23AM (#4594075) Homepage Journal
    Since all EULAs pretty much has the same goal in mind, here is a simpler version:

    In purchasing, pirating or using this product you have lost all your rights. All your bases belong to us.
  • Simple solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jesser (77961) on Monday November 04, 2002 @10:59AM (#4594146) Homepage Journal
    Just type this URL into your address bar while viewing the disclaimer:
    javascript:for (i=0; t=document.getElementsByTagName ("textarea")[i]; ++i) void(t.readOnly=false)

    Then you can delete all the text, change all the vowels to o's, or do whatever you do with annoying contracts in real life.

    You can even keep this URL as a "bookmarklet" on your personal toolbar and click it whenever you need to edit a read-only textarea.
  • Not Too Long (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ReadParse (38517) <.moc.wocynnuf. .ta. .nhoj.> on Monday November 04, 2002 @11:29PM (#4597461) Homepage
    It didn't take me long to find longer T&Cs. I just went to Google and searched for "Terms and Conditions", which of course is not going to find those agreements that are called by a different name.

    Anyway, the very first one I found was longer than American Airlines', and the second was WAY longer.

    1) ICQ: 31,969 characters
    2) Lycos 88,220 characters (dude!)

    Anyway, here's a summary of about five minutes worth of work. I started to get sick to my stomach and quit after that:

    This is `wc -c` output:

    6991 tucows.txt
    11292 dell.txt
    11635 att.txt
    13467 ge.txt
    22585 american_airlines.txt
    31969 icq.txt
    88220 lycos.txt

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