iTunes’ Terms & Conditions

In a recent post (in French) I did plot the evolution of the number of pages of some legal document, published (and updated) over a century

 I had the feeling that the same pattern should be observed on Terms and Conditions documents, that seem to be longer and longer. In Small print that’s longer than George Orwell’s Animal Farm! HSBC gets wooden spoon for endless terms and conditions, it was mentioned that HSBC’s terms and conditions for a current account “came in at a heavyweight 34,162 words – almost 5,000 words longer than George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm“.

In order to get the evolution of the length of such documents, I’ve been using https://web.archive.org/web/ on iTunes’s Terms and Contents’ page(s). Copies can be found from January 2009 till now. But changes seem to be annual, only. Here is the evolution of word counts in those documents.

In order to compare with something else, I’ve been using stats from Shakespeare’s work. As mentioned in http://pensourceshakespeare.org, there are 884,421 total words in Shakespeare’s 43 works (i.e. on average 20567.93 per work).

Terms and Contents’ documents are as big as a play (or a book in the case of HSBC’s document). But the evolution is not exponential. If anyone has more studies on similar topics, I’d be glad to hear about it.


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