Sympathy for the Lawyer
An e-mail exchange about subscribing to Slate.
From: Mark LundgrenSent: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 1:33 PM To: Steve Tapia
Dear Mr. Tapia:
Sorry about adding to your burden with another e-mail.
A colleague of mine who hopes to start his own internet business had a thought I want to pass on to you. He thinks a brief, non-legalese explanation of your concerns would help your readers understand what you are trying to protect yourself from and why a Slate subscription is more complicated than a magazine subscription. He made two other points:
1) What I meant to say in my last missive is that the problem is not with your agreement BY ITSELF but with the proliferation of such agreements.
2) I could have finished my Slate subscription by now if I hadn't spent so much time bitching at you about it.
From: Steve TapiaSent: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 2:09 PM To: Mark Lundgren
Yeah ... but this is more fun, right <smile>?
I understand the problem with the proliferation of legal agreements ... but I am sorry to say that it's only going to get worse, not better. I really do hate many of the things lawyers have inflicted on the world. So, I'm not just "walking the consumer walk" when I say: the overly litigious society we live in makes it a pipe dream to hope that we will have product labels without qualifications or warning labels or business transactions without disclaimers and such. I really wish it was a passing phase, but when you have things like McDonald's being sued for inadequate warnings on their coffee (gee, coffee's hot?!?), even the most well intended businesses get stuck with layers and layers of legalese in an attempt to insulate themselves from big judgments.
As for why this is different than a magazine subscription? Good question. Let me point out the key differences that I see: