Clickwrap

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A clickwrap or clickthrough agreement is a prompt that offers individuals the opportunity to accept or decline a digitally-mediated policy.[1][2] Privacy policies, terms of service and other user policies, as well as copyright policies commonly employ the clickwrap prompt. Clickwraps are common in signup processes for social media services like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, connections to wireless networks operated in corporate spaces, as part of the installation processes of many software packages, and in other circumstances where agreement is sought using digital media. The name "clickwrap" is derived from the use of "shrink wrap contracts" commonly used in boxed software purchases, which "contain a notice that by tearing open the shrinkwrap, the user assents to the software terms enclosed within".[3]

The content and form of clickwrap agreements vary widely. Most clickwrap agreements require the end-user to manifest their assent by clicking an "ok" or "agree" button on a dialog box or pop-up window. A user indicates rejection by clicking cancel or closing the window. If the user opts to reject the terms, they cannot use or purchase the product or service. Classically, such a take-it-or-leave-it contract is described as a "contract of adhesion, which is a contract that lacks bargaining power, forcing one party to be favored over the other."

The terms of service or license do not always appear on the same webpage or window, but are always accessible before acceptance, such as through a hyperlink embedded in the product's webpage or a pop-up screen prior to installation. In order to be deemed to have accepted the terms of service, the purchaser must be put on notice that certain terms of service may apply. If the terms of service are not visible and/or accessible, courts have found the notice requirement to be lacking and as such, the purchaser may not be bound to the terms of the agreement. An analysis of the terms of service of major consumer websites has found that they frequently contain clauses that impede consumer rights in substantial and often unexpected ways.[4]