Got time to spare? Read the iTunes store agreement

The other day, I was innocently about to update a couple of apps on my iPhone when a message interrupted me asking -- well, forcing me -- to read an updated agreement for the iTunes store. No problem, I think to myself, until I scroll down and see that the agreement is 56, count 'em, 56 iPhone screens long.

Now I'm a pretty careful guy about reading the fine print, but I was mobile, and I either had to accept the agreement, or not get my updates.

Apple had another great idea. It would email me the agreement.

Huh? What's the advantage? It will take just as long to read as an email as it does on the App Store page.

Apple is proud of making things easy for users. This Kafkaesque approach to getting users information about an updated agreement would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Why not give the reader a chance to read a summary of the changes? After all, the only reason for the new agreement is that some changes were made.

I hope Apple lawyers don't go wild with this policy. I can see it now. I start to write up something in Pages, and I'm interrupted with a warning that anything I write might subject me to Libel laws. Or a warning that using the mouse might get me RSI, or lead to arthritis. Or suggesting I not sit too close to the screen. Show of hands. How many of you read all 56 pages? How many skipped it and downloaded your update? How many think this kind of legal silliness is just going a bit too far? In fact, the whole unpleasant experience reminded me of the 2007 Apple Television ad that compared OS X to Vista. Even funny guy Eddie Izzard has had a go at iTunes.

I've bought cars with less paperwork. C'mon, Apple. Get it together.