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New Essay: “The Crisis of Online Contracts (as Told in 10 Memes)” – Technology & Marketing Law Blog


I’m happy to share my most recent essay, “The Crisis of Online Contracts (as Told in 10 Memes),” which describes the “crisis” of overly formalist contract assent doctrines on-line in a short, breezy, and (I hope) enjoyable format. The essay’s key novelty is that it’s constructed round 10 memes I cut-and-paste from the Internet, making it an early instance of meme-driven authorized scholarship (although not the primary–see, for instance, the work of Prof. Alexandra Roberts of UNH 1, 2).

This essay has had a tortured path to as we speak. I introduced on this matter 6 years in the past at an AALS annual assembly. I wrote draft weblog put up of my notes from that presentation. However, my plans obtained waylaid by my mother’s demise, and the weblog put up languished in my drafts folder for years. Then, I introduced on the problem once more 2 years in the past, and that I wrote up a brief draft essay from that session. However, I saved deferring the work to complete it till the COVID shutdown hit. Rather than dramatically rework it right into a extra rigorous piece, I’ve now determined to maneuver it off my desk and share it (regardless of its limitations) so I can give attention to different initiatives.

I’ve repeatedly talked about the disaster of on-line contracts on this weblog, so a lot of you already know much of what the essay says…although you continue to may decide up a degree or two there and have a number of chuckles. I additionally hope it is going to be a enjoyable and helpful entry level for these much less versed within the dilemmas brought on by on-line contract formation.

The summary:

This essay explains the “crisis” of on-line contracts, the authorized fiction that customers have assented to on-line contract phrases when now we have ample empirical proof that they didn’t actually imply to assent. The essay describes the disaster, and a few doable options, utilizing 10 Internet memes. The essay concludes that the disaster of on-line contracts stands out as the least-worst choice among the many alternate options.


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