Tech law news 20 April 2010

ACTA deal and 3-strikes disconnection

ACTA negotiators have issued a statement that the agreement will not require participant countries to implement 3-strike internet disconnection laws. As it happens, the Government’s revised s92A bill (currently before parliament) still provides for disconnection in limited circumstances, but only as a Court-sanctioned remedy.

ICT finance regulation

Computerworld has an article on the upcoming financial services reform and its possible impact on ICT finance providers:

It is not clear which financial providers in the IT industry will be affected. The MED says that, in general, if an organisation is providing credit under a credit contract, then they are offering a financial service and the registration requirement will apply, meaning they have to join a dispute resolution service.

Consumer finance customers (i.e. those obtaining finance for personal or domestic purposes) already receive a good measure of protection under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003. The new reforms are still being refined; the extent to which they will affect finance operators remains to be seen.

Government indemnities

The Government recently amended clause 4 of the Public Finance (Departmental Guarantees and Indemnities) Regulations 2007 to permit Government departments to agree to:

any guarantee or indemnity contained in the standard terms and conditions for the purchase, licence, or use by the Crown of—

(i) an Internet site;
(ii) software;
(iii) information technology tools, products, or services.

Many websites include indemnities in their standard terms (for example, by even reading the New Zealand Herald you agree to an indemnity). This change makes it more practicable for the Government to use common online and software applications, without having to obtain internal sign-offs.

The “Immortal Soul” clause

On the subject of website terms, a website recently added an “immortal soul” clause to its terms and conditions:

By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul.

While this was an April Fool’s Day prank, it’s purpose was to highlight the fact that very few people actually read website terms. In any case, something tells me this would not be an enforceable website term!