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Speak more clearly please
December 6th 2000, 20:19 CET by Andy

The anti-BS Plain English Campaign has given a Golden Bull award to Yahoo for a clause in its Terms & Conditions.

Weighing in at over 120 words, the Limitation Of Liability clause in Yahoo's T&C was deemed one of "the year's worst examples of gobbledygook".

Basically, the clause means that Yahoo accepts no responsibility for anything that happens to any of its customers as a result of using the service. But being just one paragraph, with 12 commas, five sub-sections and being written in block capitals, that of course may not be obvious.

Launched 21 years ago, the Plain English Campaign aims to reward clear use of the English language. This year's winners include the BBC for a health documentary, Edinburgh City Council for a leaflet giving advice on lead in water, and Exchange Health Information for its "Safer Injecting Handbook", an advice booklet for drug users.

Along with Yahoo in the Golden Bull category were the Britannia Building Society and the Ministry of Defence, both of which used long-winded and potentially confusing legalese.

The light-hearted Foot in Mouth award, given for "a truly baffling verbal statement", went to actress Alicia Silverstone. Speaking about her film Clueless, she said: "I think that [it] was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

Plain English Campaign Awards

And that Yahoo clause in full...

YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YAHOO! SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, DATA OR OTHER INTANGIBLE LOSSES (EVEN IF YAHOO! HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES), RESULTING FROM: (i) THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICE; (ii) THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS, DATA, INFORMATION OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED OR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO THROUGH OR FROM THE SERVICE; (iii) UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS OR DATA; (iv) STATEMENTS OR CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTY ON THE SERVICE; OR (v) ANY OTHER MATTER RELATING TO THE SERVICE.
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#1 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 20:22:20
warren@epicgames.com
I think you could find award winners in just about any legal contract.  :P

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#2 by "fyrewolf"
2000-12-06 20:24:55
csweitzer@intellution.com
CYA statements are always going to be wordy.  I don't think there's really any way around it.  The more exact the statement is, the better it will hold up in court if someone decides to sue.  If all you wrote was "You can't sue us", it wouldn't be as strong as if you actually defined their actually liability.
#3 by "Therac"
2000-12-06 20:25:26
zenfnord@hotmail.com
Don't know what you're talking about.  I understood it just fine.

*shrug*.
#4 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 20:29:00
ikhier@wish.net
My head hurts after reading that.
#5 by "Therac"
2000-12-06 20:29:59
zenfnord@hotmail.com
Launched 21 years ago, the Plain English Campaign aims to reward clear use of the English language.


That would be the problem.  Contracts and legal statements aren't in English, they're in legalese.  That's like treating Java code as English because it uses English words, and then complaining that it isn't clear English.
#6 by "Speed"
2000-12-06 20:50:59
speed@pandora.be
If you want to laugh, you should read the Copyright info on the fragland pages. That's a laugh ! (written by our main man Dogfood :p)

Speed
Fragland.net
#7 by "bago"
2000-12-06 21:05:21
manga_rando@hotmail.com
"You can't handle the crap (but you can have one for free)"

What does this mean! AAAH! It's so unclear! I need to sue somebody!
#8 by "szcx"
2000-12-06 21:23:39
nedocze@hotmail.com
seems pretty straightforward to me (as far as legal documents are concerned).

the article seems to be missing something... there's no conspiracy mentioned.  did you miss the part where they talk about the commercial services they offer while trying to pass themselves off as a "totally independant" organization?

what a load of rubbish.
#9 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-06 21:46:27
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
So I can sue EQ players when they say "plz SOW me" and "UR A FAGET" even though I am a wizard (EQ will get this)
#10 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-06 21:47:28
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
ARR I meant people who play EQ will get this
#11 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-06 22:07:29
pianist@canada.com
ELLEVENTH PSOT!$#
#12 by "undule"
2000-12-06 22:15:43
undule@tampabay.rr.com
#5 -- is that satire?

The Yahoo excerpt doesn't strike me as being any less zany than your average NDA. But when it comes to Ms. Silverstone, my! She must not have wormed her way out of character yet. Das' ok.
#13 by "Napoleon"
2000-12-06 22:40:17
nap@softhome.net
Speaking as a law student:

a) it's perfectly understandable.
b) Almost EVERY clause is written like that
c) Once you read about 50 of these, you understand them a lot faster, trust me :)
d) The public really doesn't NEED to read these either. It's pretty clear what Yahoo is saying: You can't sue us, use at your own risk. That's what probably everybody immediately gets from this clause. The whole legalese gobbledygook (if I may loan your word ;) ) is just so it will hold up in court, but it has zero influence on everyday life
#14 by "Greg"
2000-12-06 22:59:43
greg417@worldnet.att.net
Can we complain that Yahoo! uses all caps?

Greg
#15 by "Preacher"
2000-12-06 23:18:11
preacher@unreality.org
Since we are on the subject of stupid celebs.. this one takes the prize: "Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean, I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." - Mariah Carey
#16 by "EvilivE"
2000-12-06 23:59:35
satanas@worldmailer.com
Man that Alecia Silverstone statement was totally hilarious.  She is really good looking, but man is she dumb. :)
#17 by "Rantage"
2000-12-07 01:24:25
rantage@hotmail.com
Mariah Carey, vapid?  Now there's a shock!
#18 by "Morn"
2000-12-07 01:43:15
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Myopic!
#19 by "Radar"
2000-12-07 01:45:26
radar@gamespy.com
Preacher: Mariah never said that statement. Someone posted it as a joke in a newsgroup a few years ago, and it has been taken as fact ever since.  While she is definetly not the brightest bulb in the bunch, she's not quite that dumb!
#20 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-07 03:43:12
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
  Preacher: Mariah never said that statement.  


The world don't care about facts, only entertainment.  Look at Bill Clinton, no one doesn't have any photographs of that ugly bitch and Bill doing it, but they still make him of to this day because its funny :)
#21 by "ToddG"
2000-12-07 04:03:31
toddg@ftel.net
I guess you could say the trouble in the Whitehouse blew over, eh Bloodnight?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
#22 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-07 04:28:20
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
http://www.hecklers.com/clinton/index.php3
#23 by "Skunk"
2000-12-07 13:40:02
skunk@gameplay.com
Why are all legal things in capitals anyway?  It just makes them completely unreadable - or maybe that's the point...
#24 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-07 21:52:02
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Why are all legal things in capitals anyway? It just makes them completely unreadable - or maybe that's the point...


So you they 'eye catch you'.  It grabs your attention or so they think.

Hell the only thing I read in an agreement is "I agree"
#25 by "deadlock"
2000-12-07 23:16:50
deadlock@eircom.net
how about 'there's none more of them gettin' got gev out'

(said by a bloke I used to work with of some old warranty manuals)

deadlock
#26 by "None1a"
2000-12-07 23:52:26
none1a@home.com
So you they 'eye catch you'. It grabs your attention or so they think.


Helps that most people fell asleep for the first week in typography 101. Caps never ever grap your attention (acctauly when you expect some one to read only half of something lower case grabs the eye far better). The only place it's really usable is when the font is massive.
#27 by "deadcoil"
2000-12-09 00:11:58
deadcoil@hotmail.com
Can we just agree that Yahoo! blows dead toads?
#28 by "Whisp"
2000-12-11 20:03:29
whisp@vt.edu
<b>#13</b> "Napoleon" wrote...
<quote>Speaking as a law student:

d) The public really doesn't NEED to read these either. It's pretty clear what Yahoo is saying: You can't sue us, use at your own risk. That's what probably everybody immediately gets from this clause. The whole legalese gobbledygook (if I may loan your word ;) ) is just so it will hold up in court, but it has zero influence on everyday life</quote>

SAY WHAT!?!?  I think we've just found the problem.  Lawyers would prefer you DIDN'T read the contracts you are about sign.  And they'd prefer you didn't understand what you are agreeing to either.  

-Whisp<i><b></b></i><i></i><i></i>
#29 by "shaithis"
2000-12-14 01:39:59
cwb@cuse.org
You know, I say a word once (myopic), and it becomes a catchphrase. :)

Kiosk!

-shai
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