Can you have fun with a GDPR announcement? JibJab did

Your mailbox is full of GDPR announcements. They’re obligatory, and you’re almost certainly ignoring them. Writing in this context is a challenge — but humor and video site decided to have a little fun with it. On the policy side, though, it’s still legalese all the way down.

Here’s the email my friend got from JibJab:

From: JibJab <>
Date: Wed, May 23, 2018 at 8:58 PM
Subject: Hey, guess what?! We ALSO updated our privacy policy!

It’s another privacy policy update email!

What a fun time for our inboxes. Bear with us as we let you know about some changes we’ve made to our Terms of Service, Terms of Sale, and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018:

Terms of Service and Terms of Sale

  • We cleaned up the language to make our terms easier to read and understand. We tried to sprinkle in a “bae” here or an “af” there so as to really speak to the people but our legal counsel wouldn’t let us. [Terms of Service only]
  • We made minor changes to our defined terms to ensure the language is consistent throughout the website and all related services. This was the most fun we’d had at work in years. [Terms of Sale only]
  • We made minor modifications to our arbitration provisions if you’re seeking some casual Thursday reading.
  • We removed references to StoryBots, our children’s brand, and all related applications, but we still love them.
  • We also removed references to Hello Santa and live video calls. More like Goodbye Santa.

Privacy Policy

  • While we haven’t changed how we collect, use, and share your information, we did reorganize and restructure our Privacy Policy so it’s easier to understand.
  • We added specific language and disclosures relevant to our users, customers, fans, stans, and haters in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA).

Please read through all of our new legal terms and make sure you understand them fully. If you continue to use our website, app(s), and/or other products and services on or after May 25th, 2018,you are agreeing to our updated Terms of ServiceTerms of Sale, and Privacy Policy.

WHEWWWWW, high five—you did it! You made it to the end!

Thank you for using JibJab. Until next time. ✌

JibJab Bros. Studios | All Rights Reserved
13428 Maxella Ave #363 | Marina Del Rey, CA, 90292

You can have fun with the emails — but the policies, not so much

JibJab’s brand is silly, and so is this email. It does what it needs to do, but stands out from the rest of the GDPR spam for its humor.

I took the next step and looked at JibJab’s Terms of Service, Terms of Sale, and Privacy Policy, which are linked in this email. They’re not nearly as enjoyable to read.

The Terms of Service, for example, is 7813 words long and includes gems like these:


Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that once your User Materials are integrated into Collaborative Content, all of the licenses for such User Materials, as granted in Sections 8 and 9 of these Terms of Service, shall extend in perpetuity, meaning that JibJab will have the perpetual right throughout the world to exploit such Collaborative Content embodying your User Materials in any and all media now known or hereafter devised.

Subject to your strict compliance with these Terms of Service and except as otherwise expressly permitted by these Terms of Service or by JibJab, JibJab grants you a limited, personal, non-exclusive, non-commercial, revocable, non-assignable, and non-transferable license to download, view, and/or play the JibJab Content (excluding source and object code) for your personal, non-commercial use only, PROVIDED that: (i) you maintain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained in the JibJab Content or any copy you may make of the JibJab Content; (ii) you do not use the JibJab Content in a manner that suggests an association with JibJab or any of its Licensors/Suppliers or any of their products, services, or brands; (iii) you do not modify the JibJab Content; (iv) you do not allow or aid or abet any third party (whether or not for your benefit) (a) to copy or adapt the object code of any of the JibJab Services or (b) reverse engineer, decompile, reverse assemble, modify, or attempt to discover any source code associated with any of the JibJab Services or other products or processes accessible through the JibJab Services; and (v) you do not insert any code or product to manipulate the JibJab Content in any way that affects any user’s experience.

Yes, that last sentence is a 209-word behemoth, which should be illegal for anyone but Dickens. JibJab’s Terms of Sale and Privacy Policy are similar, as is the remainder of their Terms of Service.

Will GDPR matter?

I’m no expert on privacy and regulation (if you need an expert, contact Fatemeh.) But here are two predictions:

  1. Consumers will not read GDPR notices or change their behavior. Companies can put any disclosures they want in these emails and policy pages; no one is going to stop using a product due to an arbitration clause. The overwhelming majority of consumers will give up any amount of privacy, with a single click, in order to get a small amount of convenience.
  2. Companies will change their behavior only if regulators make them pay. Companies are changing the policies on their sites. Some American companies are temporarily closing their sites to European visitors, because GDPR applies to those visitors. But inertia is powerful. Companies will try to do business the same way they always have — and the way that entertainment- and convenience-focused visitors have grown to expect — because change is hard. GDPR’s impact on actual corporate behavior will not play out until at least two years of enforcement actions show, in practice, what corporate activities will get companies into legal and regulatory trouble.

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One Comment

  1. Life Is Good also took a playful approach:
    I didn’t go to the full notice (as you say, how many of us will?) to see if they also have a 209-word behemoth of a sentence. Maybe in law school, budding lawyers are punished for the use of periods or rewarded for extra length in sentences?