26.Feb.2014 - Dropbox Terms of Service Update

I received an email from Dropbox today that was interesting given our discussions last term about Terms of Service, etc. Should I opt out of arbitration?

“We want to let you know about some upcoming updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. These updates will go into effect on March 24, 2014.

You can find more details on our blog, but here’s a quick overview:

  • We’re adding an arbitration section to our updated Terms of Service. Arbitration is a quick and efficient way to resolve disputes, and it provides an alternative to things like state or federal courts where the process could take months or even years. If you don’t want to agree to arbitration, you can easily opt out via an online form, within 30-days of these Terms becoming effective. This form, and other details, are available on our blog.
  • We’ve added a section to our Privacy Policy that discusses our recently launched Government Data Request Principles. We’ve also made clarifications to better explain how our services will use your information. For example, we explain that when you give us access to your contacts, we’ll store them so that you – and only you – can do things like share your stuff easily, no matter what device you’re using.
  • We’ve also updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to better explain and reflect our growing list of features for Dropbox for Business customers.

While we’ve simplified much of the language, our commitment to keeping your stuff safe and secure hasn’t changed. We don’t sell your personal information to third parties. We don’t serve ads based on the stuff you store in our services. As always, your stuff is yours.

If you have any questions about these updates, you can read more on our blog or email us at tos-questions@dropbox.com.

Thanks for using Dropbox!

– The Dropbox Team”

28.Nov.2013 - Third Party Beneficiaries?!?!?!

Hello all,

I found this animation pretty interesting :)  let’s have some fun with the common law doctrine of privity of contracts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTtnS3TphcQ

Based on what we have learned so far, I think the first scenario is not correct. The girlfriend could not be the third party beneficiary (There is no trust/ agency/ employment relationship between them). But, the second scenario sounds right to me.

 

What is your opinion?

24.Nov.2013 - Law and Tech

For all of the students interested in Law and Technology, the new cyber-bullying legislation (Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act) has some interesting implications.  For instance, internet service providers can now hand over your personal information to police without a warrant.

This is equally if not more applicable to Criminal law, but I know many of you have an interest in this area.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-cyberbullying-law-has-larger-agenda-expands-police-powers-1.2434797

 

20.Nov.2013 - International Knitwear Architects Inc. v. Kabob Investments Ltd.

Hello everybody,

It is great to have the website back. Let’s share some thoughts.

Here is my understanding of the International Knitwear Architects Inc. v. Kabob Investments Ltd.:

K- Lease (May 1, 1987)——Accord- reduced the rent(May 1, 1989)—— Waiver (Dec 24, 1991)

On Dec 13, 1991, the landlord asked for arrears of basic rent through the terms of the lease and on Dec 24, 1991, landlord asked for arrears and payment in full from Jan 1, 1992.

Tenant submitted that the landlord did not provide a reasonable notice and the notice on Dec 24, 1991 was ineffective until April 30, 1992.

Court stopped the landlord from claiming back rent but found him eligible to claim the full rent for the notice of termination period (three months).  So, the court decided that in this case “reasonable time” to revive the strict obligation of the lease was to Feb 1, 1992.

The court also clarified that a dated notice (namely one which names a termination date or specifies an exact time by reference to which the date may be ascertained) was not required.

Overall, I think the outcomes of the case were:

  1. The “reasonable time” will depend on the circumstances
  2. Dated notice is not required.

Please let me know if you have different opinion.

16.Nov.2013 - Is Batman’s Relationship with Gotham City a Contract?

Hey all,

The below news story got me thinking about whether or not there is a contractual relationship between Gotham City and Batman.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/11/15/245480296/holy-empathy-batkid-lives-superhero-dream-in-san-francisco

(This CBC spot is particularly funny for showing San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr’s appeal to Batman:)

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/World/ID/2418642755/

With regard to determining if Batman’s relationship with Gotham is a contract, I am using the script to Batman Begins as evidence – see below:

http://www.raindance.org/site/picture/upload/image/general/movies/batman_begins.pdf

I don’t think there is a legal contract, for the following reasons. To have a legal contract, the following five criteria have to be met:

  1. Offer;
  2. Acceptance;
  3. Consideration;
  4. Legal Purpose; and,
  5. Legal Parties.

At page 54 of the script, Batman offers to help then Sergeant Gordon apprehend Carmine Falcone, and Gordon accepts:

“GORDON: Who are you?

WAYNE:  Watch for a sign.

GORDON: You’re just one man?

WAYNE: Now we are two.

GORDON: We?”

Gordon’s subsequent actions assisting Batman at pg. 83 – 84 show an acceptance of the offer. The dialogue between Rachel Dodson and Sergeant Gordon at pg 91 clearly shows that they accept Batman’s offer, by saying that they are “working for a masked vigilante.”

With regard to consideration, I argue that at its most basic level, Batman provides the service of assisting Gotham with arresting criminals, and the city agrees to grant permission, or a waiver, to Batman from their criminal laws against vigilante behavior.

Examining legal purpose, I think that the contract fails. Gordon’s agreement to work with Batman may cover Batman’s actions – let’s say that Gotham city was under a similar Criminal Code as Canada’s Criminal Code. Section 25(1) and 25(4) would cover Batman’s violent actions, but section 25(9) requires that Batman have written authorization to commit such actions, and there is no reason that Batman couldn’t have obtained a written authorization from Sergeant Gordon.

With regard to legal parties, I think that the contract also fails. Based on Batman not having written authorization from Sergeant Gordon when the opportunity to get this authorization was clearly available, Batman cannot be considered to be authorized by law.

It’s interesting that such a dynamic municipal relationship is not a contractual one.

I tip my hat to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Great work in San Francisco.

09.Nov.2013 - Business Hammocks!

Further research material:

http://vodly.to/tv-4131-The-Simpsons/season-8-episode-2

13:10-14:35

:)

 

07.Nov.2013 - Contract Case in the News

Undue influence in signing contracts:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/inventor-of-foaming-hand-sanitizer-sues-former-employer-1.241764

04.Nov.2013 - Plain Language Version of Limitations of Liability

Rogers version:

Unless otherwise specifically set out in a Service Agreement, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, the Rogers Parties will not be liable to you or to any third party for:

any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, economic or punitive damages (including loss of profit or revenue, financial loss, loss of business opportunities, loss, destruction or alteration of data, files or software, breach of privacy or security property damage, personal injury, death or any other foreseeable or unforeseeable loss, however caused) resulting or relating directly or indirectly from or relating to the Offering or any advertisements, promotions or statements relating to any of the foregoing, even if we were negligent or were advised of the possibility of such damages;

 

My plain language version:

Unless stated in a Service Agreement Rogers Parties will not be liable to you or any third party for any damages, including any losses (for example: financial loss, property damage, or physical injury), which result from the Offering, advertisements, promotions, or any statements unless we were negligent, grossly negligent, or advised of the possibility of such damages.

Note: I bolded the words I thought were important in hopes of making it easier on the reader to take special note of those points (especially those just scanning the document).

I highly recommend reviewing this exercise with Professor Kerr! My original rewrite was much longer. There is a lot you may think you need to include that is not necessary.

- Some contracts law thoughts on quitting marijuana

Hi everybody,

I found Q6 at page 170 of our textbook pretty interesting:

“Father promises to pay son $500 if he does not smoke cigarettes for a year. If son does so refrain, can he claim his money? Would make any difference if Father had promised to pay the $500 if son stopped smoking marijuana?”

As I found, if you give up a lawful freedom of action within certain prescribed limits upon the agreement, it can be considered as a consideration.  So quitting cigarettes would likely be a consideration in this case.
On the other hand, there is no consideration when you give up something that you aren’t legally entitled to do. So, quitting marijuana may not be a consideration.

Please let me know if you have different opinion. 

31.Oct.2013 - Stevie Wonder and Consideration; Promises Enforced as Deeds

In the spirit of contracts and consideration as affirmations of love from musicians…

Stevie Wonder must have figured that “when promises are made in a particularly formal manner” that they are legally binding as the text explains (155). This is why he sings about making a promise that is “signed, sealed and delivered.” Stevie knows that this promise to his lover is “binding as a deed, which is a legal instrument distinct from a contract but with virtually the same effect”(155).

But seriously now.

The song’s title points to something relevant about an understanding of consideration and promises.  The proposition that something is “signed sealed and delivered” carries so much credence, that it was natural for Wonder to use this contractual metaphor to make a promise.

Wikipedia claims that President Obama apparently used the song in his 2008 campaign; again, Obama was trying to give legitimacy to his campaign promises with his understanding that this language resonates with people. When promises are “signed, sealed, and delivered” they are intended to be taken seriously.

And the song’s so fun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO8nlZKrVi4

 

 

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