Who reads the Terms of Service agreements when signing up for a website? We hate to admit it, but we usually don’t; we usually just scroll down and click the “I Agree” button.
However, reading—or at least, skimming—them is quite important. Other than the fact that those agreements may contain questionable clauses regarding ownership and copyright, you might be missing out on some funny gems. Hence, here are some quirky excerpts from legally-sound terms and conditions:
Compared to other social networks, Tumblr has a predominantly young demographic. According to an article on AdWeek, 23.3% of its audience is from 18 to 24 years old, while 27% are aged 25 to 34. Hence, it’s no surprise that to communicate better with its audience, its terms of service also speak the same language.
Other than its simplified, plain English summaries, it also takes a wisecrack at youngsters trying to sign up for the service:
You have to be at least 13 years old to use Tumblr. We're serious: it's a hard rule, based on U.S. federal and state legislation. “But I’m, like, 12.9 years old!” you plead. Nope, sorry. If you're younger than 13, don't use Tumblr. Ask your parents for a Playstation 4, or try books.
500px - https://about.500px.com/terms/
Granted, the 500px terms of service is more known for having a simple English explanation on the right of all the legalese. But those who still opted to skim to the bottom of the page may have missed this funny tidbit in the section “Limitation of Liability”:
Again, we are not liable. But we may pay you $100 if our server flies into your window.
Bandcamp - https://bandcamp.com/terms_of_use
Music streaming site Bandcamp has also joined the witty ToS bandwagon (excuse the pun). Other than offering a concise summary of the entire agreement at the top of the page, it also deviates from the usual all-caps portions of the ToS. Since those all-caps were originally meant to identify important sections of the agreement, it has opted for something less dramatic but just as effective: yellow highlights.
We recognize that the following document is the literary equivalent of 20 milligrams of Ambien, but it really and truly is required that you read and agree to it before using Bandcamp. We've done our best to make it all go down smooth – you won't find any 8-point type, or long sections of TOTALLY UNREADABLE ALL-CAPS intended to fulfill the legal definition of "conspicuous" (we're pretty sure Your Honor will accept yellow, bold text instead).
SnapTerms - http://snapterms.com/legal/
Now you may be wondering who came up with the idea to write these terms of service. While we won’t be able to pinpoint the actual writers of Tumblr’s and Bandcamp’s ToSs, here’s a company that does provide those to startups and other entrepreneurs. Founded by lawyer Aaron Kelly and entrepreneur Mike Kolb, Snapterms has written custom ToSs for various companies. As a sample of their work, here’s an excerpt:
Welcome to Snapterms.com, the official website of Snapterms LLC, an Arizona Limited Liability Company formed on a bet that ended up becoming really serious and offering low cost legal solutions to website owners. This document constitutes a legally-binding agreement (“Agreement”) governing the terms of providing you with our service. It also originally contained a foolproof solution to turn anything into gold, but we ran out of space so we shredded that part. Throughout this document, the words “Snapterms,” “Snapterms.com,” “Snapterms LLC,” “us,” “we,” “our,” and “hey’s you’s guys,” refer to us, Snapterms LLC, our website, Snapterms.com, or our service, Snapterms, as is appropriate in the context of the use of the words.
This Week in Startups - http://thisweekinstartups.com/legal/
One of SnapTerms’ clients is This Week in Startups (TWIST), a website founded by podcasting pioneer Jason Calacanis. While the entire site offers a wealth of educational videos on running your own business, the terms convey the tone of life with a startup: might be crazy, always fun, and gets the job done.
We’re like MTV; we don’t play any music videos. However, you will find a diverse array of topics being discussed on our shows including music. As such, we encourage our hosts and guests to participate in intelligent, humorous, entertaining and thoughtful discourse.
If you’ve noticed, most of our examples are from websites based in the US. Have you come across some examples locally? Feel free to send them to us through our Facebook page.