When terms of service appear on a screen, it is most people’s first instinct to vaguely skim the agreement, if that, and click accept. After watching the South Park “Human CentiPad” episode, I looked over the iTunes agreement that I have personally accepted many times without reading just to make sure that I had not agreed to anything along the same lines as Kyle had. Although there was nothing in the contract that extreme, this episode shows that these major entertainment companies could, in theory, have the consumer agree to anything that they find necessary, no matter how grotesque that may be. With these huge companies, such as Apple, people put their complete faith in the idea that the company is going to have their best interest in mind, but there are many people in this world who I am sure have not looked over even one of these terms of service, for any site.
As far as iTunes goes, luckily there was nothing that was too far out of the ordinary. Most of the terms in there are completely understandable, and I feel that iTunes does a good job of enforcing them. By this I mean that there are really no ways around it, because as soon as you try to infringe on these copyrights, a notice comes up saying, for example, that you have already authorized a song on five different computers (iTunes Usage Rules ii). If iTunes didn’t have a system like this set-up, they would be vulnerable to probably the biggest P2P sharing crisis in the music industry, as iTunes is one of the main distributers of mp3 files in the world. Another catch of these terms is that although you have the “option” to decline them, it really isn’t much of an option. As the saying goes, it is either their way or the highway. This is a good example of push marketing, which William Patry says is “top-down and hierarchical” (Patry 5). If one doesn’t want to use these terms of service, they can simply take their business elsewhere. There is no negotiating, only a yes or no answer, which I think leads into the common action of scrolling through and clicking accept. People just want the application, and in reality, don’t really care about the fine print. South Park satirizes this in a great way, having all of the characters except Kyle be in agreement with the idea of, “how can you agree to something if you don’t know what it says?” (Parker 2011). If these companies do want people to start reading these terms, their needs to be some sort of say from the consumer. Although I don’t think a total “pull market” will ever exist, some middle ground between the push and pull needs to be found.
“iTunes Store-Terms and Conditions” Apple. 23 May 2012. Web. 9 September 2012. <http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html>
Patry, William F. Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Parker, Trey. “The Human CentiPad” South Park. 27 April 2011. Television. <http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=70224252&trkid=8379884&pt_request_id=5d547d42-44f2-4131-a998-949c877cc88e-1401181&pt_rank=0&pt_row=0&pt_location=WATCHNOW#MovieId=70136107&EpisodeMovieId=70224251>