I saw this item on BoingBoing (linked to the Consumer Law and Policy Blog) and had a giggle. Sometimes lawyers really just don’t get it and go a little too far. This clause was found on a company’s website. After reading this I have to wonder what visitors can actually do with their site:
By using this site you agree and understand that the HTML code, look, feel, content, company name, logo, text, and any likeness or derivative of such content is the sole property of ACME LLC and may not be used in any manner without the expressed written permission of ACME LLC. Furthermore, we strictly prohibit any links and or other unauthorized references to our web site without our permission.
So you can visit the site, maybe, but you can’t link to it or even refer to it without the company’s permission (hence why I am not using the company’s real name or even including a link to the site). The law firm that prepared those terms for ACME LLC (I’ll call the firm ACME LAW) have their own terms and conditions on their site (can’t link, sorry) which has a couple gems too:
ACME LAW has a lot of intellectual property on our site. For instance, we are the creators of all of the text on this website, and own the “look and feel” of this website. We also own all of the code, including the HTML code, and all content. As you may know, you can view the HTML code with a standard browser. We do not permit you to view such code since we consider it to be our intellectual property protected by the copyright laws. You are therefore not authorized to do so. In addition, you should not make any copies of any part of this website in any way since we do not want anyone copying us.
Please understand that we regularly monitor the major search engines and conduct searches to identify those individuals and companies that are using our trade name in order to attract business to their own website in which they have pecuniary and economic interests. ACME LAW obviously has the capability to immediately react to such misappropriation, oftentimes resulting in very significant financial exposure for the infringer. You are not authorized to use our name, or any derivative of it. In other words, do not put our law firm on your website suggesting you have an attorney/client relationship with us without our permission. If we do represent you, please ask us before doing so and we will consider the matter.
What I find particularly interesting is that this firm claims to have expertise in new media and yet their own attitude towards visitors to their site is completely closed and uncompromising. Even their own clients must ask for permission just to be able to ACME LAW represents them. Sheesh. So much for cultivating a conversation.