It's Not a Crime to Break a Terms of Service Agreement (So It's Okay to Never Read Them)

Illustration for article titled It's Not a Crime to Break a Terms of Service Agreement (So It's Okay to Never Read Them)

We all blindly agree with those much too long Terms of Service Agreements without even reading them, right? So what happens if you like, do something unagreeable with the TOS? According to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals... nothing. They've ruled that it's not a crime to break a TOS.


The ruling that breaking a user agreement was totally okay and not a crime was made in the case of US vs Nosal. In it the 9th Circuit said:

Basing criminal liability on violations of private computer use polices can transform whole categories of otherwise innocuous behavior into federal crimes simply because a computer is involved. Employees who call family members from their work phones will become criminals if they send an email instead. Employees can sneak in the sports section of the New York Times to read at work, but they'd better not visit And sudoku enthusiasts should stick to the printed puzzles, because visiting from their work computers might give them more than enough time to hone their sudoku skills behind bars.

The 9th Circuit also cites, as the Awl notes, how it's technically breaking an user agreement when a minor uses Google or when people share their Facebook passwords but the government won't bother prosecuting such minor violations. Awesome, now we really don't have to ever read a TOS Agreement ever again (but of course, you're still subject to liability under a civil suit). [US Courts via The Awl via TNW, Image Credit: zimmytws/Shutterstock]


Brilliant, this means I can use iTunes to make nuclear weapons.