Legalese Insults My Intelligence

The world is beautiful and legalese is not… or at least it usually isn’t.  Contracts should be like poetry.  So… let’s play with an example from the Amazon.com Conditions of Use.

Amazon Poetry

License and Access

Subject
to your compliance
with these Conditions
of Use
and your
payment
of any applicable
fees,

Amazon
or its content
providers
grant you a limited,
non-exclusive,
non-transferable,
non-sublicensable
license to access
and make personal
and non-commercial
use
of the Amazon
Services.

This license
does not include
any
resale or commercial
use
of any Amazon
Service,
or its
contents;
any collection
and use of
any product listings,
descriptions,
or prices;
any derivative
use
of any Amazon
Service
or its contents;
any downloading
or copying of account
information
for the benefit
of another
merchant;
or any use
of data
mining,
robots,
or similar data
gathering
and extraction
tools.

All rights
not expressly
granted
to you
in these Conditions
of Use
or any Service
Terms
are reserved
and retained
by Amazon or its
licensors,
suppliers,
publishers,
rightsholders,
or other content
providers.

No Amazon Service,
nor any part
of any Amazon
Service,
may be
reproduced,
duplicated,
copied,
sold,
resold,
visited,
or otherwise
exploited
for any commercial
purpose
without
express written
consent
of Amazon.

You may not
frame
or utilize framing
techniques
to enclose any
trademark,
logo,
or other proprietary
information (including
images,
text,
page layout,
or form) of Amazon
without express written
consent.

You may not use
any
meta tags
or any other “hidden
text”
utilizing Amazon’s name or
trademarks
without the express written
consent
of Amazon.

You may not
misuse
the Amazon
Services.

You may
use
the Amazon
Services
only as permitted by
law.

The licenses
granted
by Amazon
terminate
if you do not
comply
with these Conditions
of Use
or any Service
Terms.

 

Moral of the story: if a lawyer is ever speaking to you in incomprehensible language, ask him to recite his jargon as a poem.  It’s more understandable that way.  Mostly.

And don’t worry. I’m not legally required to obtain Amazon’s express written consent before making fun of them.

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18 thoughts on “Legalese Insults My Intelligence

  1. I never read the small print, the agreements, the warnings, the labels… I had no idea what I was missing. Now I must do a poetic ode to those labels on mattresses that you are not supposed to remove…

      • I’ve dated lawyers. The good side is that they are verbal and intelligent, so a conversation is possible. The down side is that their ethics are often situational. They’re skillful at framing an argument, of course, and expressing the points in a logical manner orally, but don’t let them write anything. I almost became one, but, in the middle of the LSAT, I realized it wouldn’t have worked. My ethics are not situational and I can write. 🙂

  2. It has come to my attention that you have rendered the legal language provided by Amazon.com into what has been heretofore described to me by an alleged “teacher of poetry” into poetry. This alleged instructor affirmed that poetry is “prose written differently.” I would like to take this opportunity to state that hearing poetry explained in that way by a new-age crystal-wearing boomer named “Jana” sent me into paroxysms of rage. “I imagine that’s poetry for you, Jana,” I didn’t say. Nor did I say, “And I imagine for you truth is personal.” I simply left.

  3. Amazon is the Walmart of the book world. I hate them… (except at Black Friday, online…then I forget for a few days, but for at LEAST 360 days a year…total hatred)

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