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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Dropbox Updates Its Terms of Service

A few months ago, I received an e-mail from Dropbox, on which I rely to back up all of my work.  The e-mail notified me that Dropbox was updating its privacy policy and Terms of Service.  "Uh oh," I thought.  Since I rely on Dropbox, I figured this was something I ought to look at carefully, but since the e-mail came during a hectic time in the semester, I just saved it to look at later. 

Today is later, and cleaning out my inbox is one way I take a break from term-end grading.  Here is part of the e-mail:

  • We’re adding an arbitration section to our updated Terms of Service. Arbitration is a quick and efficient way to resolve disputes, and it provides an alternative to things like state or federal courts where the process could take months or even years. If you don’t want to agree to arbitration, you can easily opt out via an online form, within 30-days of these Terms becoming effective. This form, and other details, are available on our blog.

D'oh.  If I had read this when I got it, I could have opted out of the arbitration policy!  Today, when I tried to click on the opt-out link, I got a screen that said, in effect, "Sorry sucker, you missed the boat!"  I had already accepted the new terms of service, including the arbitration clause, by using Dropbox for 30 days without reading the e-mail.  If anybody has attempted to opt out, please share your experience.  I really wonder how easy it is to opt out or if Dropbox is just counting on people not to bother.

Fortunately, most of Dropbox's terms are pretty reasonable as such things go.  Dropbox will pay all fees on claims under $75,000 and will pay a $1000 bonus to anybody who wins an arbitral award in excess of Dropbox's settlement offer.  Dropbox promises not to seek its own fees and costs unless the arbitrator determines that the claim is frivolous.   There are also exceptions to the arbitration provision for small claims and for injunctive relief, but the latter would have to be brought in San Francisco.  There is also the now-unavoidable ban on class actions, as well as consolidated or representative actions.  

Boo!

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