Wednesday, September 28, 2011
In the “it’s about time” category, the L.A. Times reports that a fed-up entrepreneur has created a database called the “National Fine Print Repository” which it compares to a “CliffsNotes for contracts.” David Hirsch, sick of fine print and “legal gobbledygook” (yes, that's the official term) created a company, Transparency Labs, to help consumers understand what they can't negotiate. Users can search for a contract by company and, if the contract is in the database, a summary of key provisions appears that translates the legalese into English written at the "ninth-grade reading level". The database already has “2,000 contracts for banks, credit card issuers, cellphone companies, and retirement accounts,” – in other words, all the usual suspects. Hirsch hopes to make money by having his site provide a “seal of approval” to companies or by offering a monitoring service for users. I wonder if they'll also negotiate mandatory arbitration clauses, limitations of liabilities and disclaimers? Ahhh, if wishes were horses.....