user agreement promulgated by Apple is adorned by exciting, often iconic, comics such as Peanuts, Donald Duck, Green Lantern, Rex Morgan and Barney Google.  Each page has been modified so that the leading male character is a mock-up of Steve Jobs, complete with black turtleneck and a scruffy beard.

Needless to say, as a student of consumer arbitration jurisprudence I immediately sought the portions of the book addressing dispute resolution.  I expected to  find both an arbitration agreement and a class action waiver.  I found neither.

The agreement provisions from the iTunes Store are based on Beetle Bailey, and call for application of California law and resolution in the courts of California.  So does the App Store agreement (based on the Japanese manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo), and so does the provision from the Apple Music contract (based on Brenda Starr).  No arbitration, no class action restrictions.

One feature will never die, though — the one that says that Apple can change any of these terms unilaterally, and that continued use of the product will constitute the consumer’s agreement to that change.

I get nostalgic for classic comics, and even more nostalgic for contracts where both parties are aware of what they’re agreeing to.

 

F. Peter Phillips is an arbitrator and mediator practicing through Business Conflict Management in Montclair, New Jersey. He is also the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Skills Program at New York Law School where, as Adjunct Professor, he teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Negotiation, and International Commercial Dispute Resolution.