Interesting fact No. 1.
Amazon’s terms and conditions for the Kindle are 73,198 words long.
Interesting fact No. 2.
That’s about the same length as JD Salinger’s classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye , but without the same literary merit. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone comes in at just over 77,000.
The Australian consumer lobby group Choice decided to highlight the absurdity of Amazon’s legal jibberish by getting an actor to read out the entire contract. It’s a task that took him just a minute under 9 hours to complete. And to prove it, Choice put the entire thing up on YouTube in more digestible one-hour blocks.
Here’s the first hour:
Or if you prefer, here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed, which is over in a minute:
The reason Choice did it is because they wanted to highlight the fact that companies “can hide unfair terms in long contracts that are extremely hard to read and understand”.
“No one should have to spend nine hours of their life reading a contract for a basic product,” they argue.
“Our law should protect us from unfair contracts, that’s why we think that any contract that is ridiculously long or written in legal-ese should be banned.”
For example, the consumer group said the Kindle contract “contains some nasty and legally dubious clauses, like one that demands that all complaints are resolved through an arbitration system in the USA”.
Of course, others hide clauses that can say things like if anything goes wrong, it’s all your fault, or in the digital era, give a business access to a range of your private data without you realising.
So Choice is lobbying for changes to Australian Consumer Law to protect consumers from impossibly long contracts that if you got your lawyer to check before you sign it, cost more than the product you’re buying.
The organisation has launched a petition here if you’re keen to sign and spend more time reading books on the Kindle rather than what lawyers say about the product.
But we do like the question one Choice member asked: “If you read it on your kindle will it give you an expected reading time?”
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