Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1741281
 


 



The New Price to Play: Are Passive Online Media Users Bound by Terms of Use?


Woodrow Hartzog


Samford University - Cumberland School of Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

October 4, 2010

Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 4, p. 405, 2010

Abstract:     
When individuals turn on the television, listen to the radio, or read newspapers, they are not forming contractual relationships. Yet almost without exception, online readers, viewers and listeners are required to enter into “terms of use” contracts. These ubiquitous agreements are generally unfavorable for the user in areas of intellectual property rights and privacy. In addition, the terms often restrict users’ behavior and their ability to litigate any disputes with a Web site. In analyzing the implications of contracts for Web site users, this article examines whether courts have recognized a distinction between online consumers, interactive users, and “passive media users” - online readers, listeners or viewers who engage in little, if any, of the activity traditionally required to form contracts. Case law reveals a frequent de facto exemption from online agreements for passive media users, but not highly interactive users. This exemption could be formally recognized to benefit all parties to a contract.

Keywords: Contract, Terms of Use, Online Agreement

Accepted Paper Series





Not Available For Download

Date posted: January 16, 2011 ; Last revised: August 17, 2014

Suggested Citation

Hartzog, Woodrow, The New Price to Play: Are Passive Online Media Users Bound by Terms of Use? (October 4, 2010). Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 4, p. 405, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1741281

Contact Information

Woodrow Hartzog (Contact Author)
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law ( email )
800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States
HOME PAGE: http://cumberland.samford.edu/faculty/woodrow-n-hartzog
Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society ( email )
Palo Alto, CA
United States
HOME PAGE: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/profile/woodrow-hartzog
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