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Now will you read the fine print?

If your dog won't play with you, automatic doors won't open for you, or you are missing your reflection in the mirror, it could be that either you sold your soul to your best friend for five bucks or you did not read the fine print on that software you just downloaded. reports that a computer game software developer in Great Britain put a clause in the fine print of their user agreement that, unless the user opted out, granted the "non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul." They did this partly as an April Fool's Day prank and partly to prove a point: everyone should read the fine print on those user agreements and most people do not.

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

GameStation's form also points out that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."

The terms of service were updated on April Fool's Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

The company says it would not be enforcing the ownership rights, and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

--posted by Andrew Gerns


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