Comedian John Oliver on the Fine Print

Comedian John Oliver earlier this month delivered an epic rant on net neutrality and cable companies controlling the FCC that culminated in an exhortation for Internet “monsters,” amongst others, to direct their rage by sending comments to the FCC.   Though he called it “cable company f*ckery,” at about minute ten he notes how the fine print works by declaring:

“The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: if you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring. Apple could put the whole text of Mein Kampf inside the iTunes user agreement, and you’d just go, ‘Agree. Agree. Agree. What? Agree Agree.'”

Watch it here

Then ask, why should we limit it to cable companies? There are all kinds of “fine print f*ckery.”  Oliver, calling out mean-spirited comments, pointed out that the FCC was accepting comments, and while flashing its website address said: “We need you to get out there and, for once in your life, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction.”

The Washington Post reported that Oliver’s segment may have caused the FCC website to crash from the hordes of visitors.  By the Monday afternoon after the Sunday airing there were 45,000 new comments. 

Imagine if we could point out such for all forms of “fine print f*ckery,” creating a similar reaction for each instance of unfair corporate control of real fine print contracts?  For a while now, see Rick Perlstein’s 2013 Nation piece here, we have been pointing out the need to create the forum to do that.  Please contact us if you are interested in helping.