May 23, 2004

GMail TOS bans Checking Your Email

Matthew Thomas has discovered a fatal flaw in GMail's TOS:

From the Intellectual Property Rights section (emphasis added):
  • Accordingly, you agree that you will not copy, reproduce, alter, modify, or create derivative works from the Service. You also agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automated device, or manual process to monitor or copy any content from the Service.
For me, being able to check my e-mail is a pretty important part of having an e-mail account. Oh well.

Ha. Matthew is right - the way this provision is worded, checking one's email, whether manually or via automated process, probably does violate the letter of the TOS. However, almost anyone interpreting this contract would consture that phrase within the cotext of the intent of the entire agreemenr - that is, to provide email services. So even a clever lawyer would probably fail to persuade a court that a user checking his email had violated the TOS.

Via NSLog

UPDATE: Not only is it bad legalese, but it's invalid HTML.

Posted by wasylik at May 23, 2004 02:21 PM | TrackBack
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