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

Dale Mahalko dmahalko at gmail.com
Fri Apr 2 08:00:25 PDT 2010

I am not a lawyer. I don't know how the whole business model of
lawyers and fees work. This whole "talk to a lawyer" boilerplate
response raises questions related to lawyer fees, that do not appear
to be well known..

Can individuals actually talk directly to Linden's TOS lawyers without
paying a fee of some sort? Probably the huge corporate lawyer being
asked the question wants a fairly sizable fee to provide that answer,
possibly $100 to $1000 per hour.

It is not clear to me what happens when an outside person wants to
talk to a lawyer employed by some company. The lawyer might bill the
questioner for asking the question and bill the company for clarifying
the answer.

What does it cost per minute to call LL's TOS lawyers on the phone and
discuss the issues? Will they even do such an informal form of
communication with a potentially hostile questioner? I suspect a
lawyer would never willingly submit to having such a phone call
recorded, for later transcribing and publishing by the questioner on a
mailing list like this.

I don't know if an individual can even directly talk to a company's
lawyer and get an answer they understand. If lawyers wrote the TOS in
"legalese" then their response to people not employed by the company
might also be in written legalese.

It may be necessary for the questioner to hire their own lawyer ($$)
to write a proper legalese question to be submitted for answering by
the company lawyer (who likely wants to get paid from someone for
answering... the individual, again? The company?) And then your
individual lawyer interprets the corporate legalese response back in
to normal human format, for yet another fee.

This is all conjecture. But it seems possible that if people on this
mailing list want to ask direct questions of LL's TOS lawyers and get
direct answers for this free open source project, the questioners may
need to have some deep pockets and be willing to blow a few thousand
to get those answers.

On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 7:44 PM, Kent Quirk (Q Linden) <q at lindenlab.com> wrote:
> 1) The first line of my comment is that I don't speak for Linden legal.
> 2) What I said was that if you want to understand legalese, you should talk to a lawyer. That's it.

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