How often do you read a Software Agreement before accepting the terms and conditions? I bet few of us stop to read any Terms of Service before we download a new AP and agree to the terms and conditions, without ever wondering what they say. We are an impatient world and we want what we want, when we want it, which is NOW!
I’m talking about the software to operate any free or paid online service or piece of technology equipment. There are even software agreements and/or Terms of Service Agreement with common communication tools as Facebook, LinkedIn, a mobile device or for cloud software services.
With Facebook, I didn’t read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities before I set up my Facebook account. Today, I found that I’d agreed to allow the following Contract Terms:
- “Permit a business or other entity to pay us (Facebook) to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you.”
- “You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such.”
Mary’s translation (MT): I agreed to become a spokesperson for a product or service that I mention on Facebook. In addition, the product’s manufacturer or distributor may pay Facebook for turning over my name, photo and comment. I’ve agreed to do this free. One more surprise is that Facebook does not have to identify their site content as a paid advertisement.
Six (6) Contract Examples
Recently I was prepared to download some “Free Software” for my Android phone. I decided to heed my own advice,
“Always Read before You Sign on the Dotted Line or Be Prepared to Pay the Consequences.”
The following are a few statements I accepted in a single Software Terms of Service contract. The portions of the agreement are underlined. My translation follows.
The Terms of Service (TOS)
- Sometimes, our products have additional rules. You have to follow these too.
MT: (Even if you don’t know what those rules are and we don’t tell you about them, you have to follow our rules.)
- Sometimes, we have to change our products. For example, new legal or technological developments might force us to alter certain product features. If we do and if it’s important, we’ll let you know.
MT: (Trust us. We will take care of you. Furthermore, we will decide what you need to know.)
- Please don’t break our stuff or compromise our security.
MT: (We will get mad at you, if you mess with our stuff or us.)
- We make our living creating cool products. Please don’t steal or copy them.
MT: (If you steal, we will make you pay.)
- If you do things, like break the law or our rules, or don’t pay us, or never use your account, we might terminate or suspend your account. However, if we do, we’ll try to let you know first.
MT: (We know where you live and we can bill you, however, for some unknown reason, we might not be able to reach you to tell you we are upset and cutting off your service.)
- Some parts of these Terms of Service, like the parts that limit our responsibility in legal cases, are so important that they will remain binding even if this agreement is terminated.
MT: (You only think this contract is complete, we may not be done with you. You might have to die to get out of the deal.)
I am not saying we must read every software agreement for our phone aps. What I am saying is IF the dollars involved that can be made or lost are big, read the agreement. Your business success and survival depend upon it.
Read all Software Agreement or Terms of Service contracts. If You Don’t Be Prepared to Pay a Price.