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Dropbox Adds Forced Arbitration to Terms of Service


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#1 Animal

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:58 PM

UPDATE 2014-03-07 01:12 UTC:  It appears that some individuals received emails which notified them of the upcoming change.  Why others have not received such emails at this time is unknown.  Original article follows:

 

Joining the ranks of many Internet-based corporate business models, Dropbox has quietly added new language to their Terms of Service today.

The part which affects you as a consumer is language included to force 'business-friendly' arbitration when resolving legal disputes between consumers and Dropbox.

The new Terms of Service takes effect on March 24, 2014. After that date, you as a consumer will not be able to sue Dropbox unless you take advantage of a small window of opportunity to opt out. Dropbox is offering an opt-out solution before the new Terms of Service go into effect.

What rights are you giving up if you don't opt-out?

Here is the new language from Drobox Terms of Service:

We Both Agree To Arbitrate. You and Dropbox agree to resolve any claims relating to these Terms or the Services through final and binding arbitration, except as set forth under Exceptions to Agreement to Arbitrate below…

Arbitration Procedures. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) will administer the arbitration under its Commercial Arbitration Rules and the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer Related Disputes. The arbitration will be held in the United States county where you live or work, San Francisco (CA), or any other location we agree to.

Arbitration Fees and Incentives. The AAA rules will govern payment of all arbitration fees. Dropbox will pay all arbitration fees for claims less than $75,000. If you receive an arbitration award that is more favorable than any offer we make to resolve the claim, we will pay you $1,000 in addition to the award. Dropbox will not seek its attorneys’ fees and costs in arbitration unless the arbitrator determines that your claim is frivolous.

Exceptions to Agreement to Arbitrate. Either you or Dropbox may assert claims, if they qualify, in small claims court in San Francisco (CA) or any United States county where you live or work. Either party may bring a lawsuit solely for injunctive relief to stop unauthorized use or abuse of the Services, or intellectual property infringement (for example, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or patent rights) without first engaging in arbitration or the informal dispute-resolution process described above.

No Class Actions. You may only resolve disputes with us on an individual basis, and may not bring a claim as a plaintiff or a class member in a class, consolidated, or representative action. Class arbitrations, class actions, private attorney general actions, and consolidation with other arbitrations aren’t allowed.

To summarize, you can forget about joining a class action suit whether you opt-out or not.

Here is the opt out link if you choose to do so: https://www.dropbox.com/arbitration_optout

You will have to log in to your Dropbox account and then the following page will open:

drobox-optout-form.png

Fill in your first and last name and click submit. It will then take you to your Dropbox dashboard.

That's it. You have opted out of arbitration as your only legal recourse should you encounter disputes with Dropbox.

However, Class Action is still dead.


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#2 jessen22

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 04:08 PM

What? These changes were not added quietly.

 

The post was made on their blog on 20 February. I received an email on 26 February:

 

Hi J,

We want to let you know about some upcoming updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. These updates will go into effect on March 24, 2014.

You can find more details on our blog, but here’s a quick overview:

  • 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.
  • We’ve added a section to our Privacy Policy that discusses our recently launched Government Data Request Principles. We’ve also made clarifications to better explain how our services will use your information. For example, we explain that when you give us access to your contacts, we’ll store them so that you – and only you – can do things like share your stuff easily, no matter what device you’re using.
  • We’ve also updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to better explain and reflect our growing list of features for Dropbox for Business customers.

While we’ve simplified much of the language, our commitment to keeping your stuff safe and secure hasn’t changed. We don’t sell your personal information to third parties. We don’t serve ads based on the stuff you store in our services. As always, your stuff is yours.

If you have any questions about these updates, you can read more on our blog or email us at tos-questions@dropbox.com.

Thanks for using Dropbox!

- The Dropbox Team

 



#3 Grinler

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:04 PM

I am sorry but I don't sit here and read a software companies blogs to get new updates. If there is a major change in their terms, it is their obligation to proactively let their user's know instead of silently adding it to the terms and hoping people don't find out within 30 days.

They could have just as easily notified you on login or via email. They chose not go that route and the only way you would know is if you read their blog or saw the story on a news site. Sounds fairly quiet to me.

I never received an email and its not in my spam folder.

#4 jessen22

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:04 PM

I just said that I received an email... that is what I quoted above...



#5 computerxpds

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:08 PM

I have not received an email from them either and I have been a dropbox user for many years now. 

 

Edit: Fixed typos


Edited by computerxpds, 06 March 2014 - 07:15 PM.

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#6 Blade

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:37 PM

To be fair, I definitely received an email as well.  I don't have it anymore but I believe the email mentioned TOS updates in the subject.  It was a week or more ago.

 

EDIT: Found it in the Trash.  Delivered Feb 22.  Subject: Updates to the Dropbox Terms of Service and Privacy Policy


Edited by Blade, 06 March 2014 - 07:40 PM.

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#7 computerxpds

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:41 PM

Also, I did receive an email from Dropbox about mailbox's TOS being absorbed into Dropbox's but it didn't mention this. 


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#8 Grinler

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 10:05 PM

Strange.. oh well.

#9 Ted Striker

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 10:26 AM

Do these TOS clauses hold up in court?






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