Worst User Agreement, Evar

And the winner goes to… The Terms & Conditions for use of the Hampton Inn’s complimentary WiFi. Weighing in at 47.4KBytes* and a whopping 90 screens (scrunching it all into a tiny browser text box did not help in this regard), this is quite possibly the longest, and most unilaterally evil, user agreement I have ever read.

(I would start here with a list of definitions of usage information (‘hereinafter … referred to collectively as the “Information”‘) gathered by the service, but man is it lengthy. Basically, your IP, lists of websites visited, transactions and purchases on 3rd-party websites, you name it.)

You agree that HHC shall own all Information.

By using the Service, you voluntarily, expressly and knowingly acknowledge and agree with all of the foregoing and further agree to each and all of the following: (I) such Information belongs to HHC and is not personal or private proprietary information; (ii) such Information, wherever collected, may be processed, used, reproduced, modified, adapted, translated, used to create derivative works, shared, published and distributed by HHC in its sole and absolute discretion in any media and manner irrevocably in perpetuity in any location throughout the universe without royalty or payment of any kind, without, however, any obligation by HHC to do so

I’m guessing the main “[iI]nformation” they’re interested in is clickstream data, but the definition of this [iI]nformation includes any piece of data transmitted through or “relating to” or “describing” the service (even prior to being presented with this contract), presumably including this blog post. (*Starts lawsuit clock*) So you might not want to use this service to email your just-finished Great American Novel manuscript to your publisher. Also, this is the first legal agreement I’ve ever seen explicitly covering the entire Universe.

Also, when you submit information (including the Information) to us in your use of the Service, you thereby (i) represent and warrant that such information is complete, truthful, and accurate, that you own all rights in such information, that the information, if applicable, is entirely your own original, unpublished work, is not based in whole or in part upon any pre-existing work or work of any other person,

Again, ass-uming they’re mostly after clickstream data, this makes it a legally-actionable offense to surf in such a way as to provide non-unique clickstream data, i.e. surfing the same sites you surfed yesterday. And apparently, you are forbidden from transmitting already-public data through the WiFi connection (even if you own it…err, would have owned it until the moment you sent a copy through Hampton Inn’s WiFi connection)…maybe they are fishing your packets for saleable manuscripts, leakable memos and not-yet-submitted patents after all.

Because we are not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and suppliers, if applicable, in the event that you have a dispute with one or more users, you also on behalf of yourself, your predecessors, if applicable, and each of their present and former officers, employees, directors, shareholders, parents, subsidiaries, alter egos, affiliates, partners, agents, attorneys, accountants, heirs, executors, administrators, conservators, successors and assigns, as applicable, hereby fully and forever releases and discharges the Indemnified Parties, from any and all claims, demands, liens, actions, agreements, suits, causes of action, obligations, controversies, debts, costs, attorneys’ fees, expenses, damages, judgments, orders and liabilities of whatever kind or nature in law, equity or otherwise, whether now known or suspected which have existed or may have existed, or which do exist or which hereafter can, shall or may exist, based on any facts, events or omissions occurring from any time on or prior to the execution of this Agreement which arise out of, concern, pertain or relate in any way to this Agreement or the Service.

Synonymania! Oh yeah, that is ONE SENTENCE.

Notwithstanding such provisions, this release shall constitute a full release in accordance with its terms. You knowingly and voluntarily waive the provisions of Section 1542, as well as any other statute, law or rule of similar effect. In connection with such waiver and relinquishment, You acknowledges that you are aware that you may hereafter discover claims presently unknown or unsuspected, or facts in addition to or different from those which you now know or believe to be true, with respect to the matters released herein. Nevertheless, it is your intention, through this Agreement, and with the advice of counsel, fully and finally settle and release all such matters, and all claims relative thereto, which do now exist, may exist, or have existed between and among the parties hereto, including the Indemnified Parties. You hereby acknowledge that you have been advised by your legal counsel, understand and acknowledge the significance and consequence of this release and of this specific waiver of Section 1542 and other such laws.1

Hereby, the party of the first part registers a parse error on Line 1. The remainder of this section has you agree to an end-run around a California law protecting you from getting screwed over by an omission from the contract or other omitted facts which, if known, would have materially affected your decision to enter the contract.

If there is any place that runs a “Worst User Agreements” contest, I saved a copy…

* This is about 15% of Pride and Prejudice by weight, according to Project Gutenberg, and >100% as dull, according to the party of the first part myself.

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