The world's most ridiculous Terms & Conditions?

29 Jun 2010
AppleiTunesStoretermsandconditionsontheiPhoneitself_thumb.jpg

Even though I generally like the hardware Apple produces, I’m not a huge fan of Apple’s way of doing business, and in particular its habit of tying you into its systems. For precisely that reason, I’ve never bought an Apple device: nary an iPod, an iPhone or a Mac.

However, we currently have two Apple iPhone 4s on loan in the office, with our reviews editor Jon Bray grabbing one and me the other, and that means for the first time I’ve come face to face with the iTunes Store Terms & Conditions and Apple’s Privacy Policy.

I first met this on the iPhone 4 itself. I wanted to download an app, so clicked on the option to set up a new iTunes Store account. And that’s when I was faced with this screen (photographed by the other iPhone 4, just for the record):

AppleiTunesStoretermsandconditionsontheiPhoneitself_thumb.jpg

As you can see, Apple expects me to read 99 pages of terms and conditions. When I click Agree, I’m asked to confirm “I have read and agree to the iTunes Store Terms & Conditions”. Right, of course I have.

But I’m being unfair, I told myself. It’s only 99 pages on the iPhone; I bet if I try to set up a new account online it’s far fewer pages to scroll through. So, I fired up iTunes, followed the wizard and was greeted by this:

AppleiTunesStoretermsandconditionsviaiTunes_thumb.png

It still wasn’t clear just how many words I had to wade through, so I copied and pasted them into Word. This screenshot tells you all you need to know:

AppleiTunesStoretermsandconditions_thumb.png

That’s no mistake. 48 pages, over 26,000 words. I reckon it would take me half an hour to read that with the attention necessary to spot any terms and conditions I disagree with. But, of course, I’m not going to do that. No one will, except lawyers and journalists far more pedantic than me.

So I’ve got two questions, which I’m hoping PC Pro readers will be able to help me with. First, would these terms and conditions stand up in court? And second, have you encountered any more ridiculous Ts&Cs?

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