Years ago, the Rocket Science, curious as to whether anyone would read the computer code that was the main appendix at the end of his doctoral thesis, added a comment halfway through to the effect that he would give a gift certificate for dinner to the first person to contact him within the first year of publication. No one, not even the members of his thesis committee, did, at least within the year. (A student working their Ph.D. called a year later.)
Clearly, the good folks who put together Amazon’s Terms of Service felt likewise:
57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.
I don’t know whether I am terribly amused, or grumpy and annoyed that they created a TOS so lengthy that they could toss this in and expect people wouldn’t notice. Probably both. Because, clearly, if people had been reading all the way through to this section, it would have been all over the internet. On a more serious note, TOSs are contractual agreements, and provisions like this demonstrate that Amazon doesn’t believe people will read them before signing, even though the company would be perfectly willing to enforce them, in court if necessary.
By the way, I did read through all of Amazon’s lengthy TOS to get to the zombie apocalypse provisions, but I wouldn’t if my friend Joe Decker had not mentioned them first. So, thank you, Joe. I can sleep more soundly tonight knowing that the restrictions on use for an Amazon service which I have never heard of and certainly never use don’t apply when the monsters come after my brains.
*One of the most notorious “rock stars are the worst” stories is about Van Halen’s requirement that only green M&Ms be served in their dressing room. I read an interview with Eddie Van Halen where he said that, far from being a bizarre and idiosyncratic demand, the green M&Ms served as a safety check. Van Halen did shows which required a lot of heavy gear, and the knowledge and skill to set them up. Van Halen explained that they wedged the green M&Ms provision into the technical specs in the back among a lot of other, more germane, things. If the venue got the M&Ms wrong, there was a good chance that they had not been paying close attention to the specs, with potentially dangerous results.