You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who actually takes the time to read through Apple’s legal disclaimers that pop up whenever you update your iTunes. (South Park even tackled the issue recently.)
But the scary part? According to our pals over at CNN, clicking that little “agree” box has the same legal validity as signing your name in an email, or even signing something with a pen.
It isn’t just Apple, though. Whenever you install new software (take anything from Adobe or Microsoft for instance), you’re bombarded with pages and pages of daunting information that most users simply don’t have the time to read.
So why do companies like Apple do it? “When they change the iTunes terms, as they do all the time, they give you all 50 pages instead of giving the option of seeing the changes,” New York technology attorney Mark Grossman tells CNN. A summary at the beginning, he says, could implicate companies like Apple if they were ever to face legal trouble.
Per the article:
“Whatever is in those 50 pages needed to be said,” he said. “Could you try [reducing] 50 to five and not lose anything? Someone is going to say that it wasn’t in the summary and therefore does not count.”
So there you have it. Until someone innovates a more effective funnel that protects both the companies from lawsuits while making all the legal jargon digestible for the everyman, we’re all at the whims of the terms of agreement (unless you want to live a joyless, technology free life).
Head over to CNN, where they have a great Cliffs Notes version of some of the key legalities.
But while we’re here, let’s be constructive: Any ideas on how we can fix this?
More on TIME.com:
Future iPad and iPhone Updates Won’t Need iTunes
New Update Fixes iPhone Tracking Issues