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US court strikes down FCC net neutrality policy


bascule
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(technically, it was your money, spent hiring their service, that payed for the equipment).

 

That's the implication in every business. By that logic, no business has any right to make any choices for itself, since all the consumers own it thus government should run every business.

 

Same with your money too then. Your employer should be able to make economic decisions for you, overriding you, since the money you have came from them when you sold your labor services to them. Technically, everything you own came from money spent hiring your service, that paid for your stuff.

 

I really don't think that capitalist rules actually apply to infrastructure.

 

The idea of paying to open up shop next to an expensive shop given that' date=' as soon as you do, they'll drop their prices so you'll have to as well is iffy enough to begin with; the idea of paying hundreds of millions to lay down new rail-roads, roads, telephone/internet lines, whatever, just so that you can never, ever make the money back because market forces will drive your prices down is... well... not going to happen, basically.

 

It's also not in our best interests: if another hundreds of millions is going to be spent on infrastructure, it should be spent upgrading, not duplicating, it.[/quote']

 

Well, in telecommunications there are layers. The physical layer (layer 1), or the facilities, are what is not duplicated over and over again, most generally. Just enough to create redundancy for reliability. And you're right, it's not practical for each company to duplicate this layer - a big waste. However, I draw no value judgements if a company wants to do it. Good for them.

 

The filtering of content is going to happen over layers 3 thru 7 - however I really don't know precisely which of those it actually happens over since I know very little about server side IP negotiation. I'm a network technician for the phone network, so that's more in my area of expertise.

 

So, the market dynamics still exist just fine. One ISP can use the same backbone facilities as another ISP, yet one decides to restrict porn content and the other one doesn't. Again, you aren't buying the facilities, you're leasing access to a server that fetches web content for you, as well as setting up virtual paths to other servers and nodes. When you establish this service, you agree to a EULA, or sign some kind of contractual agreement of this service, which could contain declarations of content restriction. If you have agreed to this, I hardly see how you have any justification to cry foul and use laws to make them allow certain content.

 

That's my point. There is nothing inherent about this service that suggests some kind of right to override the model of service they choose to employ for their business. Market dynamics work well here. That's why we don't have a problem with ISP's doing it. They know it's a crap business model and they will lose business.

 

 

 

As far as the anti-trust things go, I do understand the need for that in regulating the phsycial and protocol layers - and if there were a way to restrict content in those layers because that would effect all downstream layers and ISP's, depending on where in the network architecture it took place. And if that's what they're referring to, then I would be in agreement. I don't believe it is, but I could be mistaken.

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When you establish this service, you agree to a EULA, or sign some kind of contractual agreement of this service, which could contain declarations of content restriction. If you have agreed to this, I hardly see how you have any justification to cry foul and use laws to make them allow certain content.

 

This is what I was touching on with the 'your money' comment: they're there to do us a service, and to collect and spend our money in order to do so, and, ultimately, they have to do a bloody good job. If/when they don't, then things like 'we told you we were going to do it so nyaa :-p' don't really hold much water, and -- one way or another -- we should force them to do what it is that we want. After all, they are rich, and if this is because they contribute valuably to society then everyone wins; if it's because they're in a position of power and they're going to degrade society to get richer, then society should turn round and tell them to GTFO (i'm sure we both agree on this btw).

 

Usually, i'd prefer they were forced by market forces (more anarchic), but when that can't work (misuse of cartels/monopolies, at least certain infrastructure, etc) then i've no qualms with using legislature to force them to do what we want.

 

however:

 

That's my point. There is nothing inherent about this service that suggests some kind of right to override the model of service they choose to employ for their business. Market dynamics work well here. That's why we don't have a problem with ISP's doing it. They know it's a crap business model and they will lose business.

 

As far as the anti-trust things go, I do understand the need for that in regulating the phsycial and protocol layers - and if there were a way to restrict content in those layers because that would effect all downstream layers and ISP's, depending on where in the network architecture it took place. And if that's what they're referring to, then I would be in agreement. I don't believe it is, but I could be mistaken.

 

are you saying that to compete against a network-aneutral company in, say, a city, you'd just have to pay for several big servers in that city, and you'd be able to use the wires etc that had already been layed-down in that city and nationally? And that you'd not have to pay money to, say, AT&T in order to get above-a-crawl passage through their bits of the network? If so i guess i agree with you, and the government should leave well alone and let the market sort itself out.

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This is what I was touching on with the 'your money' comment: they're there to do us a service, and to collect and spend our money in order to do so, and, ultimately, they have to do a bloody good job.

 

Furthermore, they're claiming to be Internet Service Providers. As soon as they start restricting or disabling access to parts of the Internet, they are no longer providing the service they claim they are.

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are you saying that to compete against a network-aneutral company in, say, a city, you'd just have to pay for several big servers in that city, and you'd be able to use the wires etc that had already been layed-down in that city and nationally? And that you'd not have to pay money to, say, AT&T in order to get above-a-crawl passage through their bits of the network?

 

Yes. The phone companies are regulated such that we are forced to resell or lease facilities at predetermined wholesale rates. It's thick with regulatory detail, so it's not as smooth and easy, or even fair, as it could be but we are definitely not allowed to choose favorites or restrict bandwidth to knock out competition. As a matter of fact, we are under specific direction to prioritize Competitive Local Exchange Carrier circuits above all others, including our own. And I believe that is the case for all Incumbent carriers, like AT&T.

 

This is what I was touching on with the 'your money' comment: they're there to do us a service, and to collect and spend our money in order to do so, and, ultimately, they have to do a bloody good job. If/when they don't, then things like 'we told you we were going to do it so nyaa ' don't really hold much water, and -- one way or another -- we should force them to do what it is that we want.

 

I guess I just don't understand that though. Back to my burger analogy, if I choose not to add lettuce and tomato to my burgers and it says so on the menu - how am I ripping anyone off? And further, how does anyone reason that the government should force me to include lettuce and tomato? I don't see how that doesn't hold water. That's the basic essence of trade between humans - absent fraud of course. And if it's in the EULA, then it's not fraud. Maybe you didn't want to read it, but that's on you.

 

And it's not like EULA's haven't "screwed" me a time or two. And it's not like I, or anybody else in here, hasn't "screwed" someone else with disclaimers upon a purchase. Maybe we're more used to that here in the states. And we should be, it's the kind of economy that compliments a free republic and it's essentially contracts between citizens - and contracts don't legitimize fraud.

 

Furthermore, they're claiming to be Internet Service Providers. As soon as they start restricting or disabling access to parts of the Internet, they are no longer providing the service they claim they are.

 

So is Directv guilty of restricting content when they charge me for more news channels? They call themselves a satellite TV cable service and they are restricting or disabling parts of that network. Shouldn't we have a cable neutrality law to force them to deliver NFL Redzone (which is kickass by the way)?

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Yes. The phone companies are regulated such that we are forced to resell or lease facilities at predetermined wholesale rates. It's thick with regulatory detail, so it's not as smooth and easy, or even fair, as it could be but we are definitely not allowed to choose favorites or restrict bandwidth to knock out competition. As a matter of fact, we are under specific direction to prioritize Competitive Local Exchange Carrier circuits above all others, including our own. And I believe that is the case for all Incumbent carriers, like AT&T.

 

OK, cool. that being the case, I can't see any need not to let market forces sort it out. Legislating something like this would be a morass.

 

 

I guess I just don't understand that though. Back to my burger analogy, if I choose not to add lettuce and tomato to my burgers and it says so on the menu - how am I ripping anyone off? And further, how does anyone reason that the government should force me to include lettuce and tomato? I don't see how that doesn't hold water. That's the basic essence of trade between humans - absent fraud of course. And if it's in the EULA, then it's not fraud. Maybe you didn't want to read it, but that's on you.

 

And it's not like EULA's haven't "screwed" me a time or two. And it's not like I, or anybody else in here, hasn't "screwed" someone else with disclaimers upon a purchase. Maybe we're more used to that here in the states. And we should be, it's the kind of economy that compliments a free republic and it's essentially contracts between citizens - and contracts don't legitimize fraud.

 

With your burger analogy, that's cool 'cos if I particularly want lettus on my burgers, I can go to another burger joint. This economically forces you (or someone else) to do what I want. This is all fair imo, as my choice is 'any type of burger, from anyone, or no burger', and yours is 'serve me, or don't, as you wish'.

 

If you're the only burger joint that can exist, that changes things. I don't think 'your burger from you or no burger' is a fair choice.

 

If choosing 'no burger' for some reason doesn't lead to new burger joints that sell different burgers, then you should be whalloped with the legislation hammer: preferably to force you to allow competition, but if that's not a possibility then, yeah, to force you to put lettus as an option in your burgers. Note that this essentially uses legislature to achieve what market forces usually achieve in cases where market forces won't work.

 

capitalism > legislature > companies that don't have to care what we want

 

seriously, it's our society, and we should set the rules such that if you want to be stupidly rich, you have to contribute to making everyone else's life better, or -- one way or another -- we'll fire and replace you or give you a pay-cut. So I guess in this case it's "give us the network we want or we'll take our business elsewhere. unless for some reason we can't do that, in which case we'll Pass Laws :eek:" (even if they've mea culpa'd in the EULA).

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How about if they did it this way: an infrastructure company that receives government help (a monopoly, permission to use previous infrastructure, funding, etc) but in exchange must provide common carrier service, neither modifying bandwidth, latency, priority, nor content. Then ISPs can rent their bandwidth at a non-discriminatory price, and they can fiddle with things however they like. Then customers can choose whatever ISP they like.

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So is Directv guilty of restricting content when they charge me for more news channels? They call themselves a satellite TV cable service and they are restricting or disabling parts of that network. Shouldn't we have a cable neutrality law to force them to deliver NFL Redzone (which is kickass by the way)?

 

They're not claiming to provide access to the Internet, so no

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How about if they did it this way: an infrastructure company that receives government help (a monopoly, permission to use previous infrastructure, funding, etc) but in exchange must provide common carrier service, neither modifying bandwidth, latency, priority, nor content. Then ISPs can rent their bandwidth at a non-discriminatory price, and they can fiddle with things however they like. Then customers can choose whatever ISP they like.

 

In a way, it's somewhat similar to this presently. AT&T, for instance, is your infrastructure company - that does phone service too - and they are forced to provide common carrier service. AT&T VoIP and ISP services are separate companies, even though they share the brand, and they do not enjoy any special treatment. No sharing of information, customer records, nothing.

 

So, not quite how you propose, but there's at least a resemblance. That said, I like your solution much better. If the infrastructure company - providing the layer 1 and 2 service - was truly separate from the rest then it would all be more transparent and competitive. Good idea.

 

seriously, it's our society, and we should set the rules such that if you want to be stupidly rich, you have to contribute to making everyone else's life better, or -- one way or another -- we'll fire and replace you or give you a pay-cut. So I guess in this case it's "give us the network we want or we'll take our business elsewhere. unless for some reason we can't do that, in which case we'll Pass Laws " (even if they've mea culpa'd in the EULA).

 

Ah well, we'll just have to agree to disagree I guess. Always fun to go a couple of rounds with ya Dak.

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ParanoiA, as a more general question... why do you think the rights of corporations are more important than the rights of people? Consumers aren't omniscient and corporations selling products have a much better idea of what's involved than uneducated consumers. You seem to be arguing that consumers should have zero rights and that corporations should be completely free to screw consumers as they see fit. When a consumer gets screwed (there really isn't an if in that scenario) they should simply ignore it and move on to the next vendor, huh?

 

As a libertarian fiendishly interested in myself, I strongly support consumer rights and the government regulating corporations to ensure I am given the product I am promised. I want pure unfettered Internet access when a corporation claims to be offering Internet access.

 

You would seem to relegate the act of determining whether or not I'm actually receiving Internet access back to me. Is that something I can really know? I'm not sure if you're aware, but as part of their BitTorrent blocking Comcast was actually forging traffic coming from a remote third party. They sent TCP reset packets which appeared to come from a remote peer, but were in fact generated by Comcast and given IP addresses that Comcast doesn't control.

 

Imagine if a telephone service provider sent you forged calls with fake caller ID. Would you consider that fraud? I certainly would. Would you tolerate the USPS sending you forged letters with a fake sender? Would you tolerate FedEx or UPS delivering you forged packages?

 

I certainly wouldn't. That's fraud. Comcast was perpetrating fraud with their forged TCP reset packets. Perhaps if instead of "net neutrality" the label were instead "Internet fraud" people would pay a lot more attention.

Edited by bascule
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why do you think the rights of corporations are more important than the rights of people?

 

I don't agree that this is the case. Corporate personification is a legal convenience intended as an apparatus for the application of binding laws, much like the term "object" in programming. It's not a means by which evil capitalists maintain their sway over the little people (or as you put it, "screw consumers as they see fit").

 

This is supported by the fact that liberals don't seem to want the same objections applied to "labor unions". Those apparently deserve all sorts of unique rights. Just not "corporations". Which suggests that the problem is profit, not the concept of people operating as a group. Money, of course, being the root of all evil.

 

I do agree that excesses and violations happen, by both corporations and labor unions, but I believe they can be more than adequately controlled through appropriate regulation and legislation.

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I think the summary of the problem is thus: the free market has failings when it comes to monopolies, and to imperfect information, both of which apply to internet service. As a solution, bascule advocates restricting the rights of the corporations in this area, which doesn't sit well with libertarians like ParanoiA. Can this be solved without additional legislation?

Edited by Mr Skeptic
accidentally wrote corporations instead of monopolies
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ParanoiA' date=' as a more general question... why do you think the rights of corporations are more important than the rights of people? Consumers aren't omniscient and corporations selling products have a much better idea of what's involved than uneducated consumers. You seem to be arguing that consumers should have zero rights and that corporations should be completely free to screw consumers as they see fit. When a consumer gets screwed (there really isn't an if in that scenario) they should simply ignore it and move on to the next vendor, huh?

 

As a libertarian fiendishly interested in myself, [b']I strongly support consumer rights and the government regulating corporations to ensure I am given the product I am promised. [/b]I want pure unfettered Internet access when a corporation claims to be offering Internet access.

 

That's just it though, I don't believe you are not getting the product you were promised.

 

The reason it appears I'm in favor of corporate rights over individuals is because you are using an emotional argument without any appeal to detail, or even any recognition of it.

 

For instance, I've repeatedly pointed out that contractually you have agreed to terms before you get service - you sign something or you agree to a EULA before you are provided any service and charged for it. THAT is your contract - your promise, as you put it for service. The same kind of contract that you'd just as quickly hold someone else accountable for not fulfilling said contract - using the same detail and print. The same agreement all of us are held to when we sign agreements with each other - whether it be two neighbors, or two corporations, or your neighbor and a corporation.

 

Only an emotional appeal would suddenly see the corporate side of that contract as some kind of unfair advantage or increase in rights.

 

If they are not providing the service promised, then we are to appeal to the law for violating a contract. I have no sympathy for violating the contract.

 

And remember, I'm one of the voices that rejected TARP, from both adminstrations, and that money went to big business corporations. I do not hold them in higher esteem than the individual.

 

You would seem to relegate the act of determining whether or not I'm actually receiving Internet access back to me. Is that something I can really know? I'm not sure if you're aware' date=' but as part of their BitTorrent blocking Comcast was actually forging traffic coming from a remote third party. They sent TCP reset packets which appeared to come from a remote peer, but were in fact generated by Comcast and given IP addresses that Comcast doesn't control.

 

Imagine if a telephone service provider sent you forged calls with fake caller ID. Would you consider that fraud? I certainly would. Would you tolerate the USPS sending you forged letters with a fake sender? Would you tolerate FedEx or UPS delivering you forged packages?[/quote']

 

Based on the information you've provided here, yeah I would likely call that fraud. At the very least, it could be a violation of contract, unless they reserved the right to do it in the contract.

 

None of our consumer controls are ever going to work very well until we start using them. Today, most consumer issues are handled by organized lobbies and changing law - the entire game is played in the referee box. If this were a football game, the players would rarely hit the field - most of the time is spent tinkering with the rule book in this country.

 

We have some, but very little experience and established method for consumer consolidation of power. If consumers would organize and direct their efforts directy at business - the way we see unions - they could affect change far quicker, and far better than any legal process. Not to mention, legal processes are bound by an intractable constitution - whereas an energized, organized consumer base can demand any whimsical, irrational thing they want because they're using persuasion - money.

 

I really think that's the proper way to change business behavior when they are walking the legal lines, yet are perceived to be screwing people. Deciding that those legal lines are actually playing unfair and reasoning new legislation doesn't work for me.

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So all that said ParanoiA, why isn't applying common carrier laws to ISPs the solution? No new legislation is required. We simply treat ISPs like telcoms and leverage the existing legislation. Your phone company can't forge, interfere with, or manipulate phone calls. Why should ISPs be able to do that to your Internet traffic?

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So all that said ParanoiA, why isn't applying common carrier laws to ISPs the solution? No new legislation is required. We simply treat ISPs like telcoms and leverage the existing legislation. Your phone company can't forge, interfere with, or manipulate phone calls. Why should ISPs be able to do that to your Internet traffic?

 

 

I suppose I could at least see consistency with cable companies operating as ISP's being forced into common carrier laws, because of the facility monopoly - but I don't agree with a blanket assumption on all ISPs and I haven't yet seen any reason why suddenly contracts aren't "fair" for this industry, yet are just fine for the rest of the free market.

 

I'm never going to sign on trampling the rights of businesses just because we're too lazy to read our contracts. Tyranny made necessary by laziness? I don't think so.

 

If they violate a contract, get them. Step on the rights of every business dude trying to do an ISP business because of irrational corporate contract fear? No way.

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I suppose I could at least see consistency with cable companies operating as ISP's being forced into common carrier laws, because of the facility monopoly - but I don't agree with a blanket assumption on all ISPs and I haven't yet seen any reason why suddenly contracts aren't "fair" for this industry, yet are just fine for the rest of the free market.

 

I'm never going to sign on trampling the rights of businesses just because we're too lazy to read our contracts. Tyranny made necessary by laziness? I don't think so.

 

If they violate a contract, get them. Step on the rights of every business dude trying to do an ISP business because of irrational corporate contract fear? No way.

 

I signed up with Qwest, here. Formally US West, but they didn't make me sign a contract. I bought the service over the phone and received the modem in the mail. I accepted the terms and agreements that came with the modem, and read through them because of this. It says nothing about Qwest's right to restrict packets, or limit bandwidth to certain sites, domains, and/or ip address' in my contract.

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I don't agree with a blanket assumption on all ISPs and I haven't yet seen any reason why suddenly contracts aren't "fair" for this industry, yet are just fine for the rest of the free market.

 

Telecommunication services form an integral part of people's daily lives and businesses. Beyond that, they form an integral part of government services. Because of this, these companies accept money from the government, to help develop their services because they are so integral to so many citizens of this country.

 

An excellent op-ed on the issue here:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/opinion/11crawford.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

 

And another point to consider: why should Internet as provided by cable companies be regulated differently than Internet as provided by telephone companies, especially in an age when cable companies are also providing phone service? (answer: because that's how Bush wanted it to be)

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Telecommunication services form an integral part of people's daily lives and businesses. Beyond that, they form an integral part of government services. Because of this, these companies accept money from the government, to help develop their services because they are so integral to so many citizens of this country.

 

An excellent op-ed on the issue here:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/opinion/11crawford.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

 

And another point to consider: why should Internet as provided by cable companies be regulated differently than Internet as provided by telephone companies, especially in an age when cable companies are also providing phone service? (answer: because that's how Bush wanted it to be)

 

No, I agree with the whole "government subsidy justifies regulation" concept, as I posted when Pangloss first brought it up.

 

I just want things as free as possible so I don't care. I don't want them to have government money. I don't agree with that. They deserve nothing from tax payers, they should earn their money from consumers. This arrangement is created by government intervention to regulate a monopoly - when at&t was busted up in 1981.

 

So, they're both guilty and neither has firm ground to stand on, in my mind. But all that said, I still want people to be as free as possible, whether they're running a business or surfing the net. I don't want government swooping in a "cleaning" it all up - "protecting" us from sites like Wikileaks and demanding that servers block content and information that is "dangerous" to the citizenry.

 

This goes back to the human nature thread. Controlling information is the first step to controlling the masses. Why do you think human kind is done controlling the masses tyrannically and nefariously?

 

Remember, any corporation can be checked with law, but government can only be checked with blood. Why give the entity with the biggest weapons the most power? You're demonstrating an almost infinite degree of trust in government - what exactly have you observed in our history that earns such trust?

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Remember, any corporation can be checked with law, but government can only be checked with blood. Why give the entity with the biggest weapons the most power? You're demonstrating an almost infinite degree of trust in government - what exactly have you observed in our history that earns such trust?

 

The way I see it, government can be checked with votes, and corporations by laws passed by people we vote for.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
So all that said ParanoiA, why isn't applying common carrier laws to ISPs the solution?

 

I think that what ISPs want is the protections from common carrier laws while maintaining the ability to degrade (but not block) any content they choose. Because if they transmit at 1 bit per minute, it's still being transmitted, right? Still common carrier so they can't be sued for content they chose not to block.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
Consecutive posts merged.
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So, they're both guilty and neither has firm ground to stand on, in my mind. But all that said, I still want people to be as free as possible, whether they're running a business or surfing the net. I don't want government swooping in a "cleaning" it all up - "protecting" us from sites like Wikileaks and demanding that servers block content and information that is "dangerous" to the citizenry.

 

Why do you keep conflating net neutrality with censorship? Net neutrality is the opposite of censorship.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
I think that what ISPs want is the protections from common carrier laws while maintaining the ability to degrade (but not block) any content they choose. Because if they transmit at 1 bit per minute, it's still being transmitted, right? Still common carrier so they can't be sued for content they chose not to block.

 

This has nothing to do with QoS, although that's the typical industry red herring they throw out in response. Net neutrality does not affect an ISP's ability to set their own QoS policy. Comcast argued that their forgery of TCP reset packets was QoS, which is just stupid. QoS works as you describe, Mr Skeptic. Traffic is prioritized. It's not deliberately altered, and packets aren't forged.

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I read Consumer Reports and several consumer-oriented blogs, and I take their advice seriously. I always do research from several different sources before I make any significant purchase or subscribe to any service. All of this takes time, persistence, and savvy to sort out the good information from the misinformed, the astroturfed, and the bribed.

 

All of that said, I have no idea what any of the many, many EULA I've "agreed to" actually say. As far as I can tell, nobody does. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't have endless time. So while in Ideal Free Market Land, yeah, I agree to a contract, and it's my own fault if I don't like the terms, and if the other guy violates it I can bring grievance against their army of lawyers and get my money back.

 

But how realistic is that, really? All the power and all the knowledge is on one side of the equation. And even if it wasn't, and I knew exactly how they were screwing me, what could I do? The percentage of extremely well-informed consumers is small enough that a cable company isn't going to care about pissing them off. And necessarily so - even if there wasn't general apathy, nobody can be an expert on everything, so even an extremely concerned consumer base is going to be largely ignorant about most of the things they consume. Perfect information not only doesn't exist, but it's not even close to existing.

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That's why the proverbial fine print only flies legally. If you screw enough people with the fine print, you may not have broken any laws, but you've broken trust with the consumer. If that gets out, you're losing business, which is the point of your ISP adventure. AOL was rumored to block content, like a decade ago I think and I forget the details or if it was even true. But I do remember friends of mine and co-workers telling me about it and chucking their service because of it. (I don't even hear about AOL anymore, I wonder if they're still in business...)

 

Most EULA's don't screw people, so when most of us say "yeah, sure, just install it..." we're reasonably sure we're not agreeing to some malicious scheme.

 

The fine print and legal mumbo jumbo is pretty chickenshit, I totally agree. But in the interest of freedom, I think it's well worth it.

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This is awesome.

 

The "Immortal Soul Clause" was added as part of an attempt to highlight how few customers read the terms and conditions of an online sale. GameStation claims that 88 percent of customers did not read the clause, which gives legal ownership of the customer's soul over to the UK-based games retailer.

 

The remaining 12 percent of customers however did notice the clause and clicked the relevant opt-out box, netting themselves a £5 GBP gift voucher in the process.

 

GameStation executives are now assuring all customers that they are not enforcing the Immortal Soul Clause and will be contacting customers via email with a notice of nullification - phew!

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Ha. I highly doubt as many as 12% regularly read the agreements, so I figure it was probably word of mouth spreading the news.

 

It would be easy enough to tell: did the proportion of people opting out increase with time?

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