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  • Cyber-Surfing On The High Seas Of Legalese: Law And Technology Of Internet Agreements

    With the rapid expansion of the Internet and the World Wide Web, there has been a discernible and disturbing trend of linking to one-sided terms of use, purporting to bind casual visitors who are not involved in any commercial transacting. Such provisions found on web pages can be extensive and carry potentially drastic consequences through court enforcement. Often placement of the provisions is unobvious, such as at the bottom of a web page, and identified by various nonstandard phrases such as “terms of service,” “terms of use,” “user agreement,” “legal stuff,” “disclaimer,” “conditions of use,” or “user agreement.” Further, uniformly blended colors or shapes, distracting animations, or faded words or images can camouflage such labels. All of this can lead one to ask whether such terms are enforceable against the average cyber-surfer, as distinguished from sophisticated users engaged in electronic commerce. Are users blissfully ignorant of unread web terms acting at their peril or is there nothing to be concerned about?