Saturday, October 20, 2012

3647 Protect your rights

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Countering someone's negativity with your positivity doesn't work
because it's argumentative.
People don't like to be emotionally contradicted and if you try
to convince them that they shouldn't feel something,
they'll only feel it more stubbornly.
--  Peter Bregman --


Well, about a week ago I saw the first neighborhood house and yard decorated for Christmas, multicolored lights strung up all over everything.  I guess I can understand why they'd want to do it now, rather than wait for freezing temperatures and snow, but the distaste and sinking feeling I had upon seeing them surprised me.

I hate hate hate those gaudy displays. It ruins the whole Christmas thing for me.


I've got a bunch of eBooks on my Kindle and a few more on the Nook.  I'll bet lots of people have huge music collections on iPods or whatever.  Did you know that if you die, you may not be able to leave those collections, unlike vinyl, CDs, DVDs, and real paper books, to your heirs?

You paid a small fortune for those collections, and it all goes poof when you are no longer around.

It appears that you don't legally own the bits and bytes you paid for.  Your account purchased the right to read, watch, or listen to them.  When you die, your account is terminated, and that terminates any right to the materials.  Story at


Something else to watch out for if you have a PayPal or an eBay account.  The user agreement says that if you have an argument with the companies, you abdicate all rights to sue them and can't join a class action suit.  You have to go to binding arbitration.

Now this is bad.
  • That leaves you out in the cold paying your own legal bills, going up against a corporation with an in-house legal department.
  • They might do the same nasty thing to hundreds of thousands of people, but very few will take it to arbitration.
  • This means that even if they lose every single one of those arbitration rulings (and arbitration rarely goes against the corporation, since the arbiters are not required to rule according to laws), it costs them relatively little, and therefore there's no incentive to change their practices.
Corporations LOVE arbitration!

Yeah, class action suits enrich the lawyers and rarely result in any real money for the damaged parties, and that's why people hate class action attorneys, BUT they DO make the offending companies change their practices.  It hurts them financially, but even more from bad publicity.  You can't do that all by yourself, and definitely not in arbitration.

Oddly enough, PayPal and eBay will allow you to opt out of that clause, but you must meet the deadline to do it.  You have to write each of them a letter in a particular format, to be received by early November for eBay, and the end of November for PayPal (exact dates are at the link).

Go to for details.

Pass this around.


Now, I'm a little confused, because when I took a class in commercial law about 16 years ago, it was pointed out to us that you cannot be forced to give up the right to sue.  Even if you sign a contract that specifies arbitration, you still have the absolute and irrevocable right to request redress from the courts.

Did something change?

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