TOTW: Always check the small print

By: Imanuel Votteler

Date: 16 November 2012

Small print{{}}We’ve been moving offices recently which has meant lots of IT changes and renewals, all under time pressure to get us up and running as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.  As I quickly completed a software installation, I once again found myself agreeing to some terms and conditions I quite simply didn’t read. Why? Because they’re at least 5,000 words long, and because at least 90% of those words are undecipherable even by your average IT geek.

You or your client need the software (“urgently!!!”) so what do you do? Whatever it takes to get it installed – which happens to include completely ignoring the legal agreement. I wonder how many times I’ve sold my soul to a software provider by blindly accepting these agreements.

I propose a 20 word limit on such legal agreements. Just give me the key points in bullet form because otherwise I’d waste at least half of my day reading agreements I don’t understand, and rashly succumbing to whatever clauses they’ve dreamt up.