How to opt-out of Dropbox's new 'arbitration' clause and keep your right to sue!

Dropbox, the popular online storage service, has begun circulating a new terms of service (ToS) agreement that wants to remove our ability to sue or join in class-action lawsuits against them and instead agree to arbitration using an arbiter of their choosing. Here's how the Dropbox blog phrases it:

Arbitration. We’re adding arbitration clauses to our Terms of Service and Dropbox for Business online agreement. Arbitration is a faster and more efficient way to resolve legal disputes, and it provides a good alternative to things like state or federal courts, where the process could take months or even years. If you prefer to opt out of arbitration in the Terms of Service, there’s no need to fax us or trek to the post office — just fill out this quick online form.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge of Quibbling has already elaborated on the reasons why opting-out is likely in your best interests. I'll add mine here — Dropbox houses much of my documents directory. That's most of my work, personal and professional. There's a trust relationship there that I feel is best served by them having the legal equivalent of the Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads. If my privacy is violated, if my data is misused or abused, if my stuff is in any way compromised, I'd just as soon have every measure under the law available to me should I need to seek redress. None of which is served by pushing me into an arbitration process wholly under their control.

So, I'm glad Dropbox is providing an easy online opt-out mechanism and I've already taken advantage of it. It's only good for 30-days from date of notification, however, so I urge you to read the new Dropbox ToS — which also includes new language on permissions, new privacy clarifications, unification of Mailbox ToS, and new ToS for Dropbox for Business as well.

After informing yourself, if you want to take advantage of Dropbox's arbitration opt-out, hurry up and go here, and then let me know what choice you made and why!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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How to opt-out of Dropbox's new 'arbitration' clause and keep your right to sue!

19 Comments

Switched to OneDrive about a few months ago ... after getting my Office subscription!

I've got 45 GB total .... vs DropBox 2 GB!

Yeah but, what's the per/file size limit. This is where DB beats just about everybody else's free accounts. Yes DB is only 2GB of free space, but you can upload one file that that is a total of 2GB - No one else does that, that I can find, so far.

Yeah, well one problem with that. I do Windows AND Linux. There's not exactly a reasonable simple OneDrive solution for Linux. (Which kind of sucks to some extent, as I have 125 Gb on OneDrive.)

I doubt that those Terms of Service will hold any water in a court of law. I have been told multiple times that waivers (those things you sign when you do something potentially dangerous saying that you won't sue even in the case of neglect and blah blah blah) are not legally binding. I imagine this is the same. Lawyers?

In the UK it would most likely fall under unfair contract terms and thus be null. In the US they like to stick to what's in the contract, so signer beware, but that might depend on each state's specific contract law statutes.

I'm Canadian. I have always been told that you cannot sign away your right to sue someone in a situation. who knows what it is like in the US though.

Opted out because I think that "arbitration" is getting out of control. It is akin to saying "we will try not to screw with you/your stuff, but if we do? Tough for you!"

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"There's a trust relationship there that I feel is best served by them having the legal equivalent of the Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads." That's a weird interpretation of what trust is. I would argue you want to keep the right to sue precisely because you don't trust them. They are in the business of taking care of people's personal files on their servers I would think that if they don't take that responsibility seriously whether you can sue or not they won't last very long - it will become apparent eventually. That is trust. And if their servers blow up you won't recover your precious work anyway - just the satisfaction of getting back at them perhaps.

I just opted out and Dropbox is mostly the number one go to app I use more than any other and will remain that way - Still opted out anyway.

This is why I respect and enjoy iMore. You bring issue to the front that can benefit us as consumers. Making us aware of these type of issues is important and bring value to your site. This is why I come to iMore for anything related to mobile and Apple.

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Thanks for this. Arbitration, even if the arbitrator is not known to either side, tends to be slanted toward the big company. The other question, if there is an impasse, then what? The likelihood of an impasse are rare, but could happen. Best to opt out.

I'm for opting out. If a company encourages me to use their service then says you have no legal recourse if we screw around with your data except to use our arbitration system, it makes me wonder what they are either worried about or planning to use my data for. Sounds like they may have some plans with their data base in mind that I may not particularly like. Maybe I'm paranoid but who needs another company sending me endless emails or adds based on my data or worse selling off that information.

Keep in mind that if you opt out and later have reason to sue them, you and DropBox can still agree to arbitrate the dispute. So it is probably in your best interest to opt out so that you can more options at the time something goes wrong.