CNN - www.cnn.com


Contract Title CNN
Contract Website www.cnn.com
Contract Application All CNN Websites & Mobile Apps
Contract Type website with app
Contract Date 07/19/2017
TOS Website cnn.com/terms
Total Rating 55.56

Total Page Count 20

Terms: 11 pages; Privacy: 9 pages. It's on the long side and doesn't need to be this long.


The Right to Privacy 1 out of 5

General info: Privacy Policy dated 7/31/2015. Doesn't guarantee safety of your data. Geolocation, but can be turned off. They share "de-identified, hashed, or anonymous versions of your information". Cookies and directed ads based on you data. The cookie policy is a whopping two pages, and cookies sync with third parties. You can disable LCOs (locally stored objects). Uses web beacons, SDKs (software development kits), and IDFAs (which they don't define). Your info is shared with at least 29 Turner owned companies, like Court TV Digital LLC, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, etc. as well as non-Turner companies like Warner Bros., HBO, Time Warner, etc.

BAD ASPECTS: Access to all social media information that you link. They share information with ANYONE "to investigate, prevent, or take action" regarding POTENTIAL illegal activity, but private information should only be shared upon presentation of a valid subpoena. They may sell your data to third party advertisers, not-for-profits, databases, etc. Way too many external links. "Do not track" instructions are NOT recognized. If you're outside the US, you use the website/apps at your own risk. Better privacy for California residents via the "Shine the Light" law, Civil Code 1798.83. Why not for all users? They do not discuss account recovery and cell phone porting in a proper manner.

GOOD ASPECTS: Hard to pinpoint, but not the worst we've seen.


The Right to Equal, Fair, & Reasonable Expression 1 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: They can remove or edit user content by you and terminate your account for any reason, so the 'reasons' they state elsewhere which are grounds for termination are meaningless. They state that a violation of the TOS is a "blatant" expression of bigotry, racism, hate speech, abusiveness, vulgarity, profanity, or stating something that is racially or ethnically offensive. But alas, what is 'blatant'? And how do they determine what is 'offensive', 'racist', 'hate speech', etc. There needs to be a clear explanation of how these decision are made.

GOOD ASPECTS: They put the community guidelines directly within the TOS, avoiding users from having to link to yet another document. Well done.


The Right to Control My Intellectual Property 2 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: There is a mention of iReport awards. What is that? You waive your right to enforce any moral rights. They can modify anything you submit. There is no duty to attribute authorship to anything you submit, and no obligation to delete anything you submit. In other words, you can submit something, they can modify it to warp your words, attribute it to you, and do not have to delete it if you ask them. Not cool. Further, you give CNN a "royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, blah blah blah, AND sublicense... without payment to you". So they have no requirement to pay you, but as stated above, they MAY, which at least means you can try to negotiate, but they have no obligation to do so. Further, any blanket 'sublicense' is something to be wary of, because it means they can actually sell your IP to third parties and you have no control over that. It's unclear if there is a clear and fair investigative process of an alleged copyright violation if someone claims infringement against you.

GOOD ASPECTS: No impersonation allowed. They may pay you a license fee if your IP is shared with third parties.


The Right to Sue 1 out of 5

Laws of: New York.

BAD ASPECTS: You waive your right to sue in most cases, and when you can, only in NY courts, which is not helpful if you live overseas. While you can opt-out of arbitration, there is a 30-day time limit, which is uncool, because it's hidden within the TOS.

GOOD ASPECTS: You can still file patent and trademark infringement cases in court. You can opt-out of the mandatory arbitration provisions, but you must do so within 30 days.


The Right to Low-Cost Arbitration 2 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: Arbitration is forced upon you unless you somehow manage to opt-out within 30 days. However, it's not clear if the opt-out still allows one to arbitrate, or if it forces a trial upon you. Any in-person arbitration must take place in New York.

GOOD ASPECTS: CNN will pay for all arbitration for claims less than $75,000. That's pretty awesome! This doesn't include attorneys fees however. For claims greater than $75K, AAA (American Arbitration Association) rules govern. There is a good pre-arbitration negotiation provision. If the claim is < $10K, all arbitration can be by telephone, which is nice, but frankly, why not all claims by telephone for those who are overseas? There appears to be no limit on your potential recovery.


The Right to Join a Class Action 0 out of 5

Fully waived.


The Right to No Hidden Terms or Fees 3 out of 5

GOOD ASPECTS: There don't appear to be too many hidden terms.

BAD ASPECTS: The arbitration clause is a big reason for losing points. The length of the agreements and privacy policy too make it easy for someone to easily miss an important clause.


The Right to Fair Process & To Be Heard 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: You can be removed for any reason. Due process is deficient. No warning process. No opportunity to correct yourself. No defense period. No fair and impartial decision-making process.

GOOD ASPECTS: None.


The Right to Appeal & The Right to Return 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: Appeal process is totally missing. There is no second chance/right to return.

GOOD ASPECTS: None.


The Right to Reasonable Terms 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: There is no warranty that anything on any of the platforms is accurate. In other words, there is no promise to report accurately. Given that CNN is a news organization that greatly protected by laws designed to encourage free speech, this is highly disturbing, and thus warrants a ZERO for reasonable terms because people are supposed to trust news organizations. No wonder fake news abounds. Specifically, they state that they are not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on the site by any third party, but as a news organization, that really drops the ball. You are responsible for any misuse of your account, even if someone hacks your account.

GOOD ASPECTS: Community guidelines are included within the TOS. They pay for all arbitration costs up to $75,000.


Historical Fairness 5.56 out of 10
Historical User Ratings 10.0 out of 10
Historical Lack of Lawsuits or Arbitrations 10.0 out of 10
Public Placement of TOS Fairness Score & Link 20.0 out of 20
Total Rating 55.56 out of 100
Additional Note

Contact emails: cnn@turner.com; copyrightagent@turner.com
OTHER GENERAL TERMS WORTH NOTING: All health and fitness advice is for educational and informational purposes, so basically, don't rely on anything you read--be sure to get medical or health advice for a licensed professional. They are not responsible for any personal injury, loss of profits, or any damages caused. They say they are a 'distributor' of 3rd party content and not a 'publisher', and thus take no responsibility.

Ways to improve

1. Reduce length of privacy policy and terms of service.
2. Allow users to sue you OR arbitrate, at their discretion, and all them to initiate such proceedings from any proper venue worldwide.
3. Take responsibility for the accuracy of what you post! You're a news organization! When I read that, I was flabbergasted. And don't worry: I read the same thing in the FoxNews.com TOS, and I criticize them just as sharply. My analysis here is wholly non-partisan. If a news organization doesn't trust their processes enough to state that they report honestly, fairly, and truthfully, then what good are they?
4. Don't share our private info with anyone unless there is a subpoena or a verifiable legal requirement to do so.
5. Do not kick people off for arbitrary reasons.
6. Create a clear and fair process for identifying and processing potential TOS violations, and put in place a proper appeal and right to return policy.
7. Allow class actions. You need to allow the masses to hold you accountable.
8. Add your TOS rating and link to your TOS page as outlined in our guidelines. You currently are being given all 20 points.

Review Status Completed

First Name Rating Comment

Reviewed by the following attorneys and/or law students:


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