Fee speech

From the AT&T Legal Policy:

  AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries. Termination or suspension by AT&T of Service also constitutes termination or suspension (as applicable) of your license to use any Software. AT&T may also terminate or suspend your Service if you provide false or inaccurate information that is required for the provision of Service or is necessary to allow AT&T to bill you for Service.

  [The boldface is mine. -- DS]

Verizon doesn’t even require cause:

  Without prejudice to any other rights that Verizon may have, Verizon reserves the right and sole discretion to change, limit, terminate, modify at any time, temporarily or permanently cease to provide the Service or any part thereof to any user or group of users, without prior notice and for any reason or no reason. In the event you or Verizon terminate this Agreement, you must immediately stop using the Service.

Word count: AT&T, 10,890 ; Verizon 10,147.

11 comments

  1. Karoli’s avatar

    I prefer the Verizon agreement to the AT&T agreement. Verizon basically says we can stop service to you whenever we want for whatever reason we want, including outages, network problems, dead switches and hackers.

    AT&T’s agreement says “If you say something against us, we can turn off your access.” They must be taking a lesson from the Myanmar authorities.

  2. dustbury.com’s avatar

    By comparison, Alberto Gonzales was a wuss…

    Doc Searls notes that AT&T’s Legal Policy runs over 10,000 words, and singles out this paragraph for special mention: AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address,……

  3. lurkerfan’s avatar

    “They must be taking a lesson from the Myanmar authorities.”

    Exactly! If our corporate leaders — and our government leaders as well — really realized how much their policies resemble those of the worst dictatorships on the globe, they MIGHT be ashamed.

    On second thought, though, shame is dead. The basic guide to behavior is not what is considered fair and decent by upright, moral people, much less what would be good for all of humankind. Instead, unbridled capitalism, political leaders who pander to it, and human greed have created a society in which actions are based on whatever works — what one can get by with. And big corporations with their resources to hire lawyers and buy politicians can get by with screwing the customer.

    I was just forced to buy a new cell phone when Cingular was bought by AT&T, and of course it came with a new two-year commitment. I’d cancel tomorrow, though, if I thought I could get nationwide long distance and good coverage from any other company with a fairer contract.

    Any ideas?

  4. odd time signatures » Blog Archive » Techmeme Leaderboard: The Newest Whuffie Fuse Score’s avatar

    [...] is manufacturing tales to justify a plan to bomb Iran.  It should be telling the story of Verizon and AT&T’s end-user agreements forcing censorship down the throats and pipes of their [...]

  5. lurkerfan’s avatar

    Seth,

    Just because it’s common practice, doesn’t make it right. If the TOS clause “damage the name or reputation” is not designed to censor or punish criticism, what is its purpose? A company’s reputation, good or bad, should depend on the quality of service they provide, not on the customer’s fear of losing service altogether.

  6. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    No, it’s common practice means that it’s not a telecomm attempt to censor or punish criticism.

    I wish A-listers would be better than that.

    Mor e skepticism

  7. chsiren’s avatar

    Seth,

    Just because it’s common practice, doesn’t make it right. If the TOS clause “damage the name or reputation” is not designed to censor or punish criticism, what is its purpose? A company’s reputation, good or bad, should depend on the quality of service they provide, not on the customer’s fear of losing service altogether.

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  9. Sam’s avatar

    Of course -both the fear of losing the service, coupled with the reputation (which is often false) has now become the norm of doing business. In Ireland we have EIRCOM – they rule the phone lines even though they couldn’t organise a beer in a brewery. The vast majority of people need them, eventhough they refuse to roll out a decent broadband service. (some areas of Ireland are still on dial-up). Then you have our banks

    http://secretireland.blogspot.com/2008/11/bank-account-protection-in-ireland.html

    Who say all accounts are protected, even though the protection is 12 times that of our GDP – how we going to pay for that. I cant wait to see…

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