Simon Willison’s Weblog


Terms and Conditions

10th July 2003

So, I signed up for an AOL Instant Messenger account today. While it was relatively painless, I did get a chuckle out of the terms of use attached to the Instant Messenger installer:

2. Restrictions on Use. You may not create or use any software other than the Software provided by AOL to enter your screen name and password or to access the Service, without the express written authorization of AOL. You may not modify, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the Software or otherwise attempt to derive its source code, or in any way ascertain, decipher, or obtain the communications protocol for accessing the Service.


You may not block, disable or otherwise affect any advertising, advertisement banner window, links to other sites and services, or other features that constitute an integral part of the Software and the Service. You may not incorporate, integrate or otherwise include the Software or any portion thereof (including the communications protocols) into any software, program or product that communicates, accesses, or otherwise connects with the Service or any other instant messaging, Internet, or online service.

I guess that not only outlaws Trillian, Gaim and so on but it also bans browsers with built in pop-up blockers, such as Mozilla, Firebird... and AOL’s own widely advertised AOL 8 software.

This is Terms and Conditions by Simon Willison, posted on 10th July 2003.

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