Don't badmouth ATT according to new license

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kdarling, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #1
    I never start new threads, but this is getting ridiculous.

    Apple constantly deletes any message on their iPhone forums that makes them look bad (not a hard thing to do). But now ATT wants to do worse:

    "In addition, AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service ... without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes ... (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T"

    ATT Warns Not to Damage their Rep

    This is a lot different than prohibiting illegal activities. They probably didn't even mean to prohibit talking about them. But this is so broadly written, almost anything counts. I suspect they'll rewrite it again after all the press.
     
  2. Sobe macrumors 68000

    Sobe

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    #2
    I don't really see a problem with this.

    You're not buying a product, you're getting an ongoing service.

    I don't feel like hunting for the specific language because I haven't had any coffee yet, but I would be very surprised if the contract you agree to doesn't let them terminate for any number of totally subjective reasons.

    I'm sure the knee-jerk reaction will entail all sorts of talk about free speech and customer rights. Should be all sorts of fun.
     
  3. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #3
    yes, and the next step will be to crack down on customers who write unpatriotic SMS messages and/or messages critical of Steve Jobs. Ha! Pathetic ATT. What strikes me as interesting with the recent Apple/ATT discussion is how immensely scared of competition/criticism both ATT and Apple must be. While this is not a political thread and ATT and Apple are just companies, it's interesting to compare their behaviour to that of authoritarian regimes - if Apple and ATT were political regimes, they would be anti-democratic, censoring and oppressive. Luckily they're not, but at the same time it's interesting to see that even in an allegedly democratic country, that democratic mindset can be just as absent as it is in places we criticise for being undemocratic.
     
  4. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

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    #4
    I think this is really how one spins it and nothing more.

    This is probably a clause thrown in to allow AT&T to terminate subscribers who are doing something really bad, but written broadly enough to where a suit can't be brought against them later (a few weeks of law school will teach anyone that clauses are written broadly so people can't sue saying they shouldn't haven been terminated because they did A-B-D instead of the requisite A-B-C).

    And isn't this sort of similar to Sprint dropping a bunch of customers a few months ago for repeated customer service complaints?

    Once I see AT&T actually terminate someone using this clause then I'll opine about whether its terrible or not.
     
  5. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

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    #5
    Except these are publicly traded companies and not nations. And the only members of their "democratic populus" are the stockholders. And I don't seem them voting anyone out soon until those stock prices stop dropping.

    I'm a liberal, but seriously, get a grip (or vent your political anger in a more productive way than against a phone).

    Speaking of which, Apple's stock is up since 1.1.1. AT&T's down about a point
     
  6. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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  7. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Thanks for the advice, but I don't think I need to get a grip at all.And I do take out what you refer to as 'political anger' in very creative and productive ways too. But you totally missed my point. I was making an analogy to illustrate that democratic thinking only goes so far and that when it comes to business people seem to think that controlling, censoring, manipulating and penalising is perfectly acceptable. Why would we expect these same people (the shareholders, boards etc) to be different in their mindsets when they enter politics?

    Regardless, as always, people will argue that since it's their business they can do whatever they want anytime they want which seems to be totally true but doesn't preclude us criticising their behaviour, does it? Or is that not allowed?
     
  8. kdarling thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #8
    Ha !! Clever.

    I really wouldn't see a problem with this either, btw, if it had been in the contract for years and had proved out to be innocuous, or used against drug dealers saying "Yo, I use ATT for dealing".

    It's just really odd that it should show up now.
     
  9. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

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    #9
    Its definitely allowed, but as I said in my first post, lets wait until AT&T suddenly does something before pulling out the torches.

    I seriously doubt AT&T is going to hunt down people on various forums, match them up to account numbers and start snipping accounts. I think this is more of the Spint situation, where the company finally said "if you're going to bitch about us that much, we really don't want you as customers any more."
     
  10. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #10
    I agree with you 100% that ATT is not going to do anything - they're not organised enough, nor does anybody care enough. And sure, companies do this all the time. But I still don't think that makes it okay. There is always the possibility of abuse. This particular example doesn't matter at all since nobody will get hurt (and many will probably welcome getting out of contract!) if they lose their ATT subscription, but out of principle I still don't like it. There are many parallels with recent legislation and Acts (wiretapping, anti-terrorist, for example) in which people argue that it won't be used for the wrong reasons, but humans are still humans....
     
  11. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #11
    Not Applicable - Different Division

    As I see this, this is for an entirely different part of the AT&T organization although it might sooner or later end up in the wireless division. This is more or less for the DSL service.

    Per the TOS:

    "This is a legal agreement (“Agreement” and/or “TOS”) between you and the AT&T company providing your Internet Access. FastAccess DSL and FastAccess Business DSL (purchased with a voice line and without a voice line) are provided by BellSouth Telecommunications. Wireless Broadband from BellSouth is provided by BellSouth Entertainment, LLC. BellSouth® Dial Internet Service is provided by BellSouth Telecommunications. AT&T DSL and Dial services used with the Worldnet portal (hereinafter “Worldnet DSL” and “Worldnet Dial”) are provided by AT&T Internet Services. AT&T Dial (including Prodigy Internet) and AT&T High Speed Internet (purchased with a voice line and without a voice line) are provided by AT&T Internet Services. All of the companies listed above shall hereinafter be referred to as "AT&T". All of the products listed above shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Service.”

    http://home.bellsouth.net/csbellsouth/s/s.dll?spage=cg/legal/att.htm&leg=tos
     
  12. kdarling thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #12
    Well, yes and no.

    Over my half century, I've watched our freedoms erode each year... often in the name of security or political correctness or protection for the government. Better to stop it right away than let it go uncontested.

    Neither Apple nor ATT can afford more bad PR these days. Apple particularly no longer carries the underdog tag that once protected it. Now they're more seen as a greedy control freak. I mean really, no discounts for military or police?

    Again, I don't think they'll use that clause much either. But it really shouldn't exist as written.
     
  13. kdarling thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #13
    Thank you for taking the time to look that up.

    (I usually spend at least a half hour researching something before I ever make a post, but this news caught my eye when I was in a rush this morning... and I didn't check it out. Live and learn.)
     
  14. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

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    #14
    Ahh, well that's different then. Their DSL stinks. :p
     
  15. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #15
    I just happened to be familiar with it as I read about it the other day on DSLreports.com. Not always on top of stuff like this.;)

     
  16. Avatar74 macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

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    #16
    I think it is very important to distinguish government oppression from corporate business decisions. The issue gets confused too often.

    An agreement between two parties is just that... an agreement between two parties. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, particularly those sections dealing with freedoms and protection from tyranny, restrict the powers of CONGRESS, not corporations. Corporate governance is the domain of statutory law, e.g. Uniform Commercial Code, and is internally regulated by a variety of agencies including FASB and SEC.

    A dispute between two parties that have entered into an agreement is defined as a tort... not a crime. There's no crime occurring when AT&T decides to tighten its agreement. In fact, when you signed an agreement for service with them you agreed to allow them to modify the terms of that agreement at any time and probably without notice. How? Most corporations reserve that right in the language of such service agreements... and if you receive service from them, you implicitly agree to their terms including the right to change those terms.

    If you don't like those terms, nobody is forcing you to be their customer. AT&T does not have a monopoly on cellular service. Even though it is a near monopoly, and even though I agree that it's not good PR for a company to deny people the right to badmouth that company... and while it's not likely that they could win a suit against you for defamation (not because defamation is lawful, but because fair comment is not considered defamation), they aren't required to provide service to people who use that service to criticize, slander or libel them.

    I am a big supporter of the Constitution and the freedoms it protects, and I'm also a consumer rights advocate... but I'm also a consumer awareness advocate. Using rights to justify a belief of entitlement to consumer gadgetry is such an egregious perversion of Constitutional law that it cheapens the idea of freedom in the same way that stamping "God" on everything from pledges to currency cheapens the concept of God.

    As long as you keep insisting on confusing civil rights with consumer privileges you will continue to bind yourself at the mercy of corporations only to complain about it later on. The trick is not to bind yourself to the mercy of corporations... In this case it means not becoming a slave to your desire for luxury gadgets.

    Turn off, tune out, rise above.
     
  17. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #17
    I think it goes like this:;)

    "Turn on, tune in, drop out"

    A counterculture phrase coined by Timothy Leary in the 1960's

     
  18. kdarling thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #18
    Well written, and I thank you as well.

    Sometimes you can hang out on these forums too much, and it's too easy to fall into simplistic ways of thinking!

    :rolleyes:

    OTOH, even though I'm heading towards twice the age... I still say, never trust anyone over 30 !!

    Or under 30.

    Just 30 year olds. Yep, that's the ticket.
     
  19. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816

    DeaconGraves

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    #19
    Just found this on engadget: AT&T's response:

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/02/atandt-disconnecting-critical-users-probably-not/

    In other words, your damaging AT&T's name if you are using their services to access/support mean and nasty things, not if you're complaining about their service.

    In other, other words: I interpreted it wrong, as did a bunch of other people. Nothing like the internet to whip everyone into a frenzy.
     
  20. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Ha ha...and that was the end of that discussion. :)
     
  21. Avatar74 macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

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    #21
    That resolves it... Very typical feature of many ISP Acceptable Use Policies... I worked in internet security for three years and absolutely right, we reserved the right to terminate service to dissociate ourselves with people using the internet for unethical/illegal practices.
     
  22. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #22
    the fact that ATT changed their policy today shows that this kind of criticism is worthwhile. Surely, everybody would prefer the new agreement to the old one? Better to have very clearly defined rules, than broad ones that can be interpreted and enforced arbitrarily.

    here's the news:

    http://www.electronista.com/articles/07/10/11/att.back.peddles.on.tos/
     
  23. Jocko macrumors member

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    #23
    I'm a hardcore Republican (not to be confused with conservative) and when I hear people talking about what corporations should and should not be "allowed" to do (i.e. through ever increasing government control), warning lights go off in my head. When I see an outcome like this, it makes me happy. Activist consumers taking it upon themselves to affect positive change instead of crying to their government to do it for them. That to me is the foundation of what being a Republican is about. When it comes down to it, I think generally we all want the same thing. It's just the means to get those things that we usually disagree on.

    Oh wait, was this NOT supposed to become a political thread? Oops. :)
     
  24. PDE macrumors 68020

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    #24

    As a hardcore liberal (I didn't grow up here so I won't attach myself to the either-or party categorisation), I do disagree with you because I believe that when companies merge to form much larger, more powerful entities (like ATT) there is a tendency for consumers to be, and feel, powerless and rightfully so. This was a good change and resulted from a vocal consumer protest - if this works, that's of course great, but many companies don't respond to consumers and that's when the state should protect their interests rather than interests of large corporate entitities whose only purpose is to make more money. Nothing wrong with wanting to make money, but consumers should have protection against practices that only benefit the companies and harm the consumer. Anyway.....it's neither here nor there.

    I think it's difficult to NOT be political when we are discussing these issues and I don't think there's anything wrong with it, even here. The iphone is not so important, but the issues surrounding it are actually quite important in the long run.
     
  25. carfac macrumors 65816

    carfac

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    #25
    Unfortunately, NOT. IF ATT decides to enforce this (and that is a big IF!), you are then terminated for cause, and would STILL be responsible for paying the ETF.

    HOWEVER, if you bought the iPhone with a contract w/o this language, and this has been ADDED to the contract and you are now subject to these new terms, AND you do NOT agree to those terms, as a matter of cuurrent US LAW, you have sixty days to notify ATT that you do not accept the change in terms, and they HAVE to let you out of the contract with NO ETF.

    I know you won't believe me, so I am going to find this, and I will post back. But I know its true, because I have used that out on a contract.
     

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