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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Friday, July 20, 2007

iPhone Contract Is Long and Legally Murky

Like most cell phone contracts, then. Wired:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed the iPhone one of the most intuitive devices ever made. Not so for the iPhone's terms-of-service contract, which at 17,000 words is one of the longest and most complex ever to accompany a wireless gadget, legal experts say.

No one reads such things, least of all early adopters eager to own the summer's most-lusted-after product. So Wired News has done the hard work for you. We read it not just once but several times, with the help of a few good lawyers.

"I think there's no chance whatsoever that a layperson would understand it and I doubt they could get through it. I think most lawyers wouldn't understand it either," says Fred von Lohmann, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who in a past career crafted licensing service agreements for a living.

The iPhone contract is unusual in bundling many separate agreements into a single contract. It comes in six parts, including agreements regarding AT&T's phone service, the iPhone software, the iTunes software, the use of Google Maps and of YouTube in addition to a user's consent that an e-mail from Apple "will satisfy any legal communication requirements."

The iPhone agreement also says Apple may monitor users' iPhones "to verify compliance with terms of this license." It notes that Apple may collect technical information regarding users' iPhones, computers, software and peripherals, as long as such information is not used in a form that personally identifies individual users.

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