Legal frustration

David Johnson arandir at
Mon Mar 6 06:46:31 UTC 2000

On Sun, 05 Mar 2000, Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. wrote:

> Well, the 7th Circuit already has disagreed with you and a Uniform law that
> many states are about to pass disagrees as well.
> ARGUED MAY 23, 1996--DECIDED JUNE 20, 1996
> "EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. Must buyers of computer software obey the terms
> of shrinkwrap licenses? The district court held not, for two reasons: first,
> they are not contracts because the licenses are inside the box rather than
> printed on the outside; second, federal law forbids enforcement even if the
> licenses are contracts. 908 F. Supp. 640 (W.D. Wis. 1996). The parties and
> numerous amici curiae have briefed many other issues, but these are the only
> two that matter--and we disagree with the district judge's conclusion on
> each. Shrinkwrap licenses are enforceable unless their terms are
> objectionable on grounds applicable to contracts in general (for example, if
> they violate a rule of positive law, or if they are un- conscionable).
> Because no one argues that the terms of the license at issue here are
> troublesome, we remand with instructions to enter judgment for the
> plaintiff."

So we have a circuit judge disagreeing with a district court judge. Seems to me
that  there's disagreement right there on the issue. Who's to say that a higher
court won't issue yet a third ruling?

This may be utterly fascinating to you, considering your choice of profession,
but to layperson, it's extremely frustrating. Frustrating not to know what laws
one lives under from day to day. Frustrating not knowing when or where a process
server will decimate one's life or livelihood. The engineering profession does
not demand that the legal profession understand how computer hardware or
software works. But the reverse is not true.

I have no recourse but to be naive and assume that laws follow some
sort of logical structure consistant with the rest of the human experience. I
mean, if a district court judge that has several magnitudes better legal
education than I do says that I am right, but ends up being wrong, then tell me
what I am to do! The situation may be analogous to most other professions, but
only in the realm of the legal will the absence of specialized post-graduate
education have the potential to land you in jail.

David Johnson...

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