“By selecting agree you agree to the TERMS AND CONDITIONS of our policy.” A statement which we all frequently stumble upon when downloading new software to our devices like computers, phones, iPods and even signing waivers. Most, if not all people, do not bother to read over the terms and conditions that come up in their everyday lives, but it is necessary to what it is we are agreeing to when we sign off on this. Otherwise we can end up like the Kyle from South Park’s “HUMANCENTiPAD” and give up our life to apple as an experiment by an apathetic accident.
William Patry makes a good statement about how the terms and conditions limit society to work freely. Notice when Patry states “The term graduated response should be replaced with a more accurate term ‘digital guillotine’ reflecting its killing of a critical way people connect with the world…” by clicking I accept, we are selling our rights by abiding to their terms, which is most of the time not taken into consideration (Patry 14). Apple does a good job of limiting our rights of iTunes as the terms and conditions clearly state “Apple reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the App and Book Services (or any part or content thereof) at any time with or without notice to you.” We are no one to iTunes and even though we are using their services they reserve the right to do with our programming as they like without giving fair warning of their actions (Terms and Conditions). Not only are we limited in our actions by abiding to their conditions, but iTunes does not reciprocate to their customers the formality of telling those that agree what they are doing. After all they do have the right to track their customers down and watch what they do.
Reading the Terms and Conditions about the product we are downloading is vital in today’s society. Although South Park’s “HUMANCENTiPAD” was extreme in portraying the consequences of what may happen if you sign a waiver without reading the terms and conditions, it is a good example of how much a person gives their freedom to the companies which they sign up to. Kyle did not bother to read what he was signing and so he granted Apple the right to use him in an experiment which would make him a part of a human centipede (HUMANCENTiPAD). The reason he did not bother to read this was because iTunes apparently sends a different Terms and Conditions every 3 weeks and they are super long for anyone to actually sit down and read. If he would have actually read through the terms he would have known what he was getting himself into. This is society every day. We sign a document or click “I accept” online when we have no clue of what the company’s terms are, and so we release them what they request on the form. Patry clearly defined this as giving away our freedom, or the “digital guillotine” to phrase it in his words.
Although it may be long and boring, it is always good to read through and see what it is that we are accepting in the terms and conditions of a program.
Patry, William F. “How the Copyright Wars Are Being Fought and Why.” Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
“Terms and Conditions.” iTunes Store Terms and Conditions. Apple, 23 May 2012. Web. 9 Sept. 2012. <http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html>.
Parker, Trey. HUMANCENTiPAD. South Park Studios. Viacom, Apr. 2011. Web. 9 Sept. 2012. <http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-humancentipad>.