Re: OT: When did contract conditions become enforcable in a court of law? Was Re: Forming HTTP request from java code

On Tue, 08 May 2007 14:45:02 +0100, Ian Wilson wrote:
Gordon Beaton wrote:
On 08 May 2007 10:49:47 GMT, Gordon Beaton wrote:

When did TOC become "the law"?

I think it was the 6th century BC, at least in a significant part of
the "civilized world" of that time. Probably millenia earlier, but
I'm neither lawyer nor historian :-)

I don't disagree that conditions agreed upon in a valid contract are
enforceable by law, however I don't think the situation referred to is
quite as simple as that.

In particular, I don't agree that it's even remotely illegal to
*write* a tool to browse Google, it's only some kinds of use they

Here are some random thoughts from a non-lawyer:

- If I use an automated tool to browse a website (not just Google), I
do not necessarily ever click "accept" or even see any contract. At
what point have I accepted any terms?

- In some jurisdictions (e.g. here in Sweden), shrink-wrap licenses
are not binding. I believe the same is true of click-through, but
I'm less sure about that.

- Not all terms are enforecable or even valid, regardless of what the
Big Company would have you believe or what you think you've agreed

- The difference between an "interactive web browser" and a tool that
can do some additional processing of the information it reads is
semantic at best. At what point is my tool no longer an interactive
browser? Common browsers can do things like pre-fetching without me
knowing about it, and often follow links I never click on.

- wget and curl are two popular tools for the express purpose of
automating web queries. Have the authors of those programs broken
the law?

- What about web crawlers and spiders? Is robots.txt legally binding?

- I can't even find Google's ToS for its search engine.