[opensource-dev] Can you legally agree to incomprehensible conditions

Darmath darmath at tpg.com.au
Thu Apr 1 18:01:35 PDT 2010


Being the one who made the comments I'll go on record to express my 
disagreement with the views here. I'm not going to elaborate why. I'm 
sure people would rather concentrate on technial matters rather than 
legal matters on this list. Anyone that wants to have a legal discussion 
with me is free to email me. Otherwise i'm going back to lurking on this 
list, trying to learn about software development issues.

On 2/04/2010 10:33 AM, Rob Nelson wrote:
> Okay, I'm going to try this one last time.
>
> When users sign into SL for the first time, they are asked to read and
> agree to the Terms of Service agreement.  Included in the ToS is the
> Community Standards and now the TPV.  *ALL OF THESE DOCUMENTS ARE
> SUPPOSED TO BE READ AND AGREED TO BY THE END USER.*
>
> Saying something like "Well, you're not a lawyer, so how are you
> supposed to know what it REALLY means?" is disregarding the fact that
> users, NOT LAWYERS, are supposed to understand these documents.  _IF WE
> CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOUR DOCUMENTS, WE CANNOT AGREE TO THEM._  No one is
> going to be rich enough enough to be able hire a lawyer to translate a
> document prior to playing a bloody MMORPG, especially a lawyer who
> specializes in copyright law.
>
> Someone commented earlier that the GPL was written in a way that
> programmers could understand.  Guess why?  BECAUSE PROGRAMMERS READ THE
> GPL AS IT'S AT THE TOP OF EVERY SOURCE-CODE FILE AND IS USUALLY
> DISPLAYED ON PROGRAM STARTUP.  End-users typically do not NEED to read
> the GPL unless they're interested in distributing or modifying the
> sourcecode.
>
> Since the TPV DOES apply to programmers, distributors, and end-users, IT
> MUST BE WRITTEN IN A WAY THAT THEY CAN UNDERSTAND.  If I were to make a
> ToS written in Chinese and present it to English-speaking users, how are
> the users expected to agree to it?
>
> tl;dr the ToS, TPV, and CS are all rules to be read, understood, and
> followed by the end user.  You cannot expect us to go out and hire a
> lawyer every time we want to play a new game or develop for an
> open-source project.
>
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