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Dentist Who Used Copyright To Silence Her Patients Drops Out of Sight

timothy posted about a year ago | from the my-current-dentist-has-been-nice-so-far dept.

Censorship 260

According to a report at Ars Technica, a dentist named Stacy Makhnevich, who billed herself as "the Classical Singer Dentist of New York," threatened patients who wrote bad Yelp reviews with lawsuits, along the same lines as the online dental damage-control outlined in a different Ars story in 2011. This time, though, there's something even stranger than bargaining with patients to forgo criticism: when a patient defied that demand by describing his experience in negative terms on Yelp, Makhnevich followed up on the threat by seeking a takedown order based on copyright (putatively signed over to her for any criticism that patients might write, post-visit) — then disappeared entirely when lawyers for patient Robert Lee filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the validity of the agreement.

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260 comments

"murica (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408807)

"murica

Land of the free home of the brave *laughs*

Re:"murica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408843)

You're free to have your patients sign bogus agreements, but you have to be brave enough to back them up if you think they're going to stick.

Re:"murica (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408851)

Amerikans are FREE to sue anyone BRAVE enough to challenge them. With Obama, an academic law professor, as president what could possibly go wrong?

Who gives a fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408837)

She's fairly good looking. I'd fuck that. I know that doesn't mean much to the fags here but for the rest of the world it's pretty important.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408915)

MODDED DOWN BY A FAGGOT!!!!
 
You Slashbitches just can't accept that some guys like females. It doesn't compute in your tiny brains that can only think of taking a cock in the ass.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409013)

Slashdot has always been a haven for degenerates and left extremists. If you are just figuring that out I feel sorry for you

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409233)

Slashdot has always been a haven for degenerates and left extremists.

So which one are you?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409255)

I'm an anarchosocialist with Islamist leanings, and also a pedophile self-hating Jew living in France, desperately trying to suppress my urges to ram another dildo in my ass....

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409493)

I'm [...] desperately trying to suppress my urges to ram another dildo in my ass....

So the question is, how many are there already?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44410015)

also, there are women here, who may mod down comments like OP's "i'd fuck that" while still being heterosexual themselves. Or maybe it was a man who wants slashdot to be a welcoming place where all men and women come to discuss technology issues. Or maybe it was just somebody with an aversion to assholes (the douchebag kind, not the backdoor kind).

Are you exposed to dangerous chemicals at work? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409601)

Maybe you should get your blood tested.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1, Offtopic)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44409113)

You Slashbitches just can't accept that some guys like females.

Have you considered that your legitimate sexual desire may be off topic?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409135)

I think he's far too busy indulging in his need to bluster about his sexuality to consider bigger topics such as "conversation" and "relevance."

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0, Offtopic)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#44409055)

My son was entering middle school, and we asked him what kind of a girlfriend he thought he'd have. And I swear to god this is what he said: "Of course nobody wants an ugly girlfriend, but it's more important for a girl to be smart than beautiful. It'd be better to go out with an ordinary looking girl that you like than a beautiful idiot."

Of course, that was back when he was 12, before the hormones really kicked in.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409083)

Wow, pre-teen and he already thinks he can judge a human based on intelligence.

At least judging on looks doesn't have the pretence of depth.

Neither good brain nor good body are likely to provide you with a good relationship. As the old saying goes, it is easier to teach skills than values.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409107)

Wow, you are an asshole.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409179)

I'm an asshole because I suggest that content of character is more important than (mostly innate) qualities like intelligence and appearance?

I stand by what I said: values are more important than skills. A good person is better than a clever or a sexy person.

I have found kids to judge people only based on "niceness" too, until the adult competitive world bashes into their head that they must look at less important things. Hormones do make people care about physical appearance, but the particularly physical qualities people find attractive vary tremendously except when society forces particular obsessions (e.g. in the US breasts are a huge taboo therefore big breasts are a Thing in the US, whereas in Europe people fixate much less on them).

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409325)

I'm an asshole because I suggest that content of character is more important than (mostly innate) qualities like intelligence and appearance?

Yes, but character can be moulded by the usual manipulation that constitutes a relationship. Unless you happen to be a plastic surgeon you won't be able to repair her beauty, and as far as intelligence goes ...

Beauty and intelligence are certainly the two qualities I look for in a gf, precisely because they are mostly innate.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409185)

At least judging on looks doesn't have the pretence of depth.

You aren't even able to spell the word "pretense" correctly, you stupid shit.

Why don't you do something productive and kill yourself.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409219)

Before you judge others you should learn English. 'Pretence' is English for the word that Americans write as 'pretense'.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44410081)

That's 'Muricans to you!

Re:Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44410123)

Actually, 'Pretence' is the screwed up spelling Great Britain uses for the word 'pretense'.

from Anglo-Norman French pretense, based on medieval Latin pretensus 'pretended', alteration of Latin praetentus, from the verb praetendere

So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408897)

News, why? Oh yeah, / - only reason.

Behold the power of Barbra (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44408907)

It's a followup to a previous article featured on Slashdot, showing how the Streisand effect is strong enough to shut down a health care practice.

Re:Behold the power of Barbra (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a year ago | (#44409363)

It's a followup to a previous article featured on Slashdot, showing how the Streisand effect is strong enough to shut down a health care practice.

Not necessarily, that "Mutual Privacy Agreement" is the kind of stupid shit dental consultants sell, and practices that hire these charlatans are usually in pretty bad trouble financial trouble. A fair number of Dentists develop bad personal spending habits, dentistry requires a high degree of hard won skills, which leads to big ego's and sometimes narcissistic behaviours like impulsive spending habits.

disappeared entirely (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#44408911)

Finally. Nice to get a little good news in my day, even if the issue doesn't affect me directly. I firmly believe this kind of thing should happen much more often (think SCO, for just one example).

Re:disappeared entirely (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44409631)

What if the dentist's qualifications were not proper and complete?

Form Paperwork Used by Many (5, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44408917)

Who knows what's up with this dentist. But the company who provides the form paperwork is really the people that the lawyers should be going after. D. Makhnevich is only one of many many who use this company's services / products.

Also this points out why I never pay much attention to Yelp: This dentist is rightfully getting a lot of heat over this business, but most of the "opinions" about her on Yelp are by people who have almost certainly never used her services. This is how it goes when businesses get bad publicity, everyone runs to trash them on Yelp regardless of if they have ever done business with whoever is the target.

There are a number of other sites that specialize in doctor ratings from patient that have a significantly different score for this clown.

Re:Form Paperwork Used by Many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409015)

There's no relationship of any kind between her patients and the paperwork company. Do you also suggest they go after the company provider her equipment, office supplies, and billing software?

Re:Form Paperwork Used by Many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409287)

If that company provided defective equipment that lead to harm to the patient, of course they would be liable in addition to the dentist who used them. Therefore the company that provided defective legal forms that lead to harm to the patient should, in fact, be liable as well.

Re:Form Paperwork Used by Many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409699)

What's the stretching sound?

Re:Form Paperwork Used by Many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409871)

It's the sound of an AC responding to an AC responding to an AC...

Re:Form Paperwork Used by Many (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409911)

Your asshole as your shit that post out of it.

still no match for Orly Taitz (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44408985)

They're a crazy bunch, those in the dental profession.

Re:still no match for Orly Taitz (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409211)

Dentistry is one of the "social mobility" professions. Like nursing. Poor people trying to make it rich, while lacking the values held by rich people who were brought up properly. Dentists also have a very high suicide rate. Go figure.

Re: still no match for Orly Taitz (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409427)

"Rich people brought up properly" - did I miss the sarcasm or do you really think rich people are better than poor?

Re: still no match for Orly Taitz (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409827)

Surely you don't think poor children in general are equally well raised. It has not to do with their qualities as humans, it's simply much more difficult. And so as a group they will be less well raised.

Re:still no match for Orly Taitz (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44409557)

"values held by rich people who were brought up properly"... Like, knowing how to scam properly to not get caught, or at least get bailed out by taxpayer money? Or what exactly do you mean?

Re:still no match for Orly Taitz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44410101)

no, how to scam and not care about ethics

What's most surprising about this story. (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year ago | (#44409035)

What's most surprising about this story to me is that any patients would sign such a contract. According to the article, it is supposedly to increase privacy protections for the patient, but how many dentists go around spilling the beans about their patients' teeth? And are your tooth secrets that serious that you'd be willing to sign over copyright of your internet posts so your dentist will keep them? Are you really that afraid your friends will find out you don't floss regularly?

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (5, Insightful)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | about a year ago | (#44409069)

Most patients, when walking into the office of a new medical provider, are given a stack of forms to sign by a harried receptionist who expects them to just sign the paperwork and hand it back. Few people actually read them.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (4, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44409131)

I always do. I read absolutely everything that I sign, because there are too many unscrupulous people out there. You never know what bullshit is in those contracts, and I've even refused to sign some, and some they've changed or removed clauses

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409187)

And you must be painfully aware that you are in the minority. The poster you replied to is entriely correct in saying "Most patients".

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year ago | (#44409407)

> The poster you replied to is entriely correct in saying "Most patients".

As is the poster you replied to, who did not contradict this.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44410013)

However, his post is about as relevant as if he had posted about the root canal he got last month or something.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (5, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about a year ago | (#44409217)

Likewise. I actually refused to sign the boiler plate at a new dentist after I moved. Upon close reading, the forms insisted that I agree to undergo any procedure the dentist thought necessary for the care of my teeth. So, don't want that root canal the dentist says you need? Too bad - you've already agreed to it. So, I crossed out those parts and corrected the language until it was something I was satisfied with. I called it to the attention of the receptionist and said "I don't agree to these terms as is. I have modified it in the following way, as noted on the form." Signed and handed it back. Not a peep out of them - they were as surprised as I was! They likely had no idea that clause was even in their paperwork, probably inserted by an over-zealous lawyer at some point.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44409717)

Likewise. I actually refused to sign the boiler plate at a new dentist after I moved. Upon close reading, the forms insisted that I agree to undergo any procedure the dentist thought necessary for the care of my teeth. So, don't want that root canal the dentist says you need? Too bad - you've already agreed to it. So, I crossed out those parts and corrected the language until it was something I was satisfied with. I called it to the attention of the receptionist and said "I don't agree to these terms as is. I have modified it in the following way, as noted on the form." Signed and handed it back. Not a peep out of them - they were as surprised as I was! They likely had no idea that clause was even in their paperwork, probably inserted by an over-zealous lawyer at some point.

I would assume that clause is not there to allow your dentist to force you into a procedure you don't want or need, but to let the dentist change their plan of action during a procedure if something during the procedure warrants the change.

For example, I went in to have an old filling replaced that was showing signs of decay in an x-ray, the dentist warned me ahead of time that she wasn't sure if she'd be able to preserve enough tooth surface to let her do a new 2 surface filling. And sure enough, after she started the procedure, she said that after she removed the old amalgam filling and some decayed areas that there wasn't enough tooth surface support a filling, so she'd need to do a crown instead.

It seems like this clause would help protect her if I later complained that I went to her for a simple filling and she sold me an expensive crown.

I don't think any contract clause would protect her if she tried to force an unneeded root canal on me.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (5, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44409267)

"I always do. I read absolutely everything that I sign, because there are too many unscrupulous people out there. You never know what bullshit is in those contracts, and I've even refused to sign some, and some they've changed or removed clauses"

Me too. And I have a good story. You should be aware that this works both ways, and you can use it to your advantage.

Years ago, I had to take a pee test for a pre-employment "drug screening". I have a strong philosophical objection to that practice, but I wanted the job so I did it. (I don't do that anymore, but that's another story.)

So I got to the clinic, which specialized in doing pee tests en masse. Big waiting room, lots of chairs and people, window with a woman behind it. She handed me a form to sign on a clipboard, and I sat down and read the whole thing. And it amazed me. The form said that the clinic could tell anybody (not just the company) anything they wanted about my pee test, even if it was wrong, and I waived any right to hold them responsible in any way.

I went up to the window and asked the woman: "Do I understand this correctly? You are in the business of doing these tests, yes?"

"Yes"

"But in order for you to test me, I have to waive any right to sue you or hold you responsible, even if you screw it up?"

(Annoyed look) "It's just a standard form."

I said "Well, I don't think it is. I think I'd like to own a business where nobody could hold me responsible for actually performing the service they pay me for. Seems like a pretty sweet deal." She looked pretty pissed off.

I sat back down, looking it over. And on the second page of the fine print, where it said I could not hold them responsible, I penned in "Except in case of negligence."

I signed the form and gave it back to the woman. She didn't even look at it... just signed and dated it, and threw it into the pile of papers to file.

Hahaha. I could have written in "And I get to fuck your brother" and nobody would even have noticed. But it was just as legal a contract as anything THEY handed ME.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44409329)

Very nice Jane, that story made me laugh. If I hadn't already commented, I would have modded you +5 funny.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409571)

Doesn't matter. I joined a gym (fitness club) in the 1990s. It included "access to the facilities at [location] and some facilities at other sites by agreement". They had racquetball. I asked "So, to be clear, racquetball is included, right?" "Yes" (veral contracts are legally binding in TX). So I had a signed contract that granted me access to the facilities at that location, and a verbal amendment to the contract that explicitly included racquetball. There was a 2-week cancellation period. I never had an issue playing in that time. There was also a 2-week free access to racquetball included, though not stated anywhere. So the day the cancellation period ends, so does access to the racquetball. So then I filed for a cancellation under the "moved" clause. Denied. There was no ability within the contract to deny a cancellation in that manner. So I wrote a letter indicating that I was blocked from access to the facilities indicated in the contract. And cancel under the failure to perform clause. And, if they didn't recognize that claim, then I cancel for having moved. No response. So I stopped paying. The "bad debt" from 1991 was still on my credit report last I looked. It's "active" and renewed for another 7 years every time it's sold from one collection agency to another.

I could sue them to win a judgment against them, but given how they acted so far, I figured it wouldn't matter. I know people who've won multiple times from someone and still never collected a dime. Though I just checked them out on Google Earth, and the building isn't there anymore, so I'd guess they are out of business, replaced by the smaller, cheaper fitness clubs. But an olympic-sized pool, indoor tennis, and racquetball were nice features.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year ago | (#44409681)

Verbal contracts may be legally binding, but good luck proving it. Get it in writing.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409743)

It was in writing. There were no limitations on the services listed in the contract. The wording implied all services at the site were included in the membership.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (3, Informative)

Raenex (947668) | about a year ago | (#44409835)

Ah, since you mentioned the verbal part I thought it was essential to your dispute. Something else has been nagging me, though, and it's your statement, "The 'bad debt' from 1991 was still on my credit report last I looked. It's 'active' and renewed for another 7 years every time it's sold from one collection agency to another."

That looked so rotten that I had a hard time believing it was legal, and a preliminary search shows it isn't [experian.com] :

"[..] Federal law requires the lender to report the original delinquency date of the account that led to charge off and any subsequent collection efforts. The original delinquency date is the date from which the seven year period is measured.

The original account and any subsequent collection accounts are deleted seven years from the original delinquency date. Because each account must include the original delinquency date, none should return to your credit history. [..]"

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409917)

I agree with you. That's not how collection agencies roll. They are evil. It was more for background.

And yes, I contested the appearance on my credit report once, and the agency (no I don't remember which I challenged it on), and it was found to be "valid". The "validation" is sending a message to the claimed debt holder and asking if it's valid. There's no actual verification of the original debt. The system is broken. The only winning move is not to play.

They reported it as a "new" debt under their own name when it got close to the 7 years, and not under the original debt holder. And the challenges never go back to the original debt holder anyway. The system is broken. I can't count the number of threats of law suits a $400 debt got me. Every time it got sold to a new company, they'd send a batch of them out, with increasing threats until... nothing happened.

They violated a large number of laws when dealing with me. I didn't bother to list them. It was a Bally's but they don't list any Bally's in Texas now, so someone may have chased them down on it.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (3, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about a year ago | (#44409953)

I can't count the number of threats of law suits a $400 debt got me.

Something similar happened to me and it bugged the heck out of me until I finally had a flash of insight. The collection agency was always willing to threaten me with "We have a recording of our last conversation. Would you like me to play it back for you?"

One day they threatened to sue. I replied "You promise?" The collection troll didn't understand. "If you sue me, then we get to go in front of a judge who will force you to shut up long enough for me to explain why I don't owe any money. I want you to sue me."

"Well, we will."

"OK. Just remember, you promised."

They called me a couple of times after that. I reminded them of the fact that they had promised to sue me and I was waiting to be served papers to appear in court. I also reminded them that they had a recording of them promising to sue me.

They hung up on me a couple of times and then I never heard from them or anyone else about it again.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44410083)

Troll the trollers. Honed on Slashdot, used on collections agents.

I've never heard so many lies from anyone other than collections. I managed to stump them by asking them to send me an itemized bill. "I'll pay it if you can bill me for it" But all they had was that they bought some IOU off someone else who had bought it from someone else... So they had no idea of what I owned for what. $20 for pencil, $350 in fees, interest, and penalties. Nope, it was $400 - best guess as to a debt amount. Begging them to send me a written bill for what I owe so I can pay it got them confused and shut them up.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409909)

veral contracts are legally binding in TX

I should hope so. Imagine the hassle if you had to read through a 20 page document and sign in triplicate each time you wanted to get a carton of milk from the corner store! Which is, of course, a contract for the assignment of personal property in the carton of milk in exchange for the payment of legal tender (usually) ... well either that or it's shoplifting.

Verbal contracts are binding almost anywhere you could imagine, and only a small fraction of contracts entered into are ever reduced to written form.

However ... IF, as here, we are considering verbal amendments to written contracts that's a whole new racquetball game and the parole evidence rule [wikipedia.org] comes into play.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409935)

A clarification of "does 'facilities' include all facilities at the location?" is not a material change to the contract, but a minor clarification. The point is, the "change" was verbal and agreed to by both parties, and no, there was no clause that required all amendments be written.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409597)

But it was just as legal a contract as anything THEY handed ME.

Actually it's not, UNLESS you have a copy of that signed statement. Otherwise they can just strike it back out and without any proof they signed it with the clause intact you would get nowhere in court.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (5, Interesting)

Gavrielkay (1819320) | about a year ago | (#44410069)

IANAL, however I think modifications to boiler plate contracts have to be initialized by both parties to be valid. And that's for your benefit or they could add whatever they wanted after you signed it and claim it was there all along. So, funny story, but unless you pointed out your addition to them and got someone to initial it, you probably didn't really accomplish anything.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409399)

I always do. I read absolutely everything that I sign, because there are too many unscrupulous people out there.

What's unscrupulous about putting on paper in black and white what the terms are you are agreeing to? IMO signing a contract and then complaining loudly that you agreed to something without making the effort to find out what it was you were agreeing to is a bit churlish.

What you do is simply the right thing And traditionally the law presumed that is what anyone who signed had done. Though realistically, with a 100 page form contract from a major corporation (eg. bank, telecom), where there is no chance of negotiation and which service you need and can not otherwise procure, you could be forgiven for skipping this step.

Of course nowadays legislation to restrict an individual's rights of contract (colloquial known as 'consumer protection' or 'unfair contracts' legislation ;o ) may interfere with an agreement the State finds "unscrupulous" on aesthetic grounds. Given the current example, why should people, as part payment, not be allowed to assign their copyright (in a highly restricted class of publications) to a dentist? It's their damn right to assign, no?

... and I've even refused to sign some, and some they've changed or removed clauses.

Good on you!

Reminds me of the face of the young estate agent when I took my pen to a rental lease and started striking out various clauses in the agreement. When he protested I replied, "no sorry mate, I can't possibly sign that, I'm a lawyer. Unlike your other tenants I can't tell the judge I didn't understand the effect of agreeing to this." The moment I mentioned I was a lawyer he backed down right away! Odd ... that seems to happen quite a lot.

Zip-line (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44409905)

I once went zip-lining on vacation. Having an indemnity waiver makes sense. There is a particular amount of risk involved. This one, though, was over the top. Among other things, it stated that I would hold blameless the company and employees for injury resulting from gross negligence!

I crossed out the things that I didn't think would stand in court (but wasn't willing to find out), turned it in, and had a blast.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409511)

How do you live? If I read to legal understanding everything I've signed, I'd still be reading. It'd take weeks to buy a house, not just an hour with three or more sets of lawyers sitting in a room while they shuffle the buyer and seller through at separate times on the same day (always the same day so that the funding from the buy hits the sale on the same day to pay off the previous mortgage, if any). In some cases, the contract isn't even available. I've signed things that apply to non-supplied terms and conditions that are available on some web site somewhere. Do you really suspend a sale to look them up and read them, then come back later and complete the sale?

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

chihowa (366380) | about a year ago | (#44409725)

You're dealing with some pretty shady folks there. They've always given me the contract to read well before closing and it really only takes an hour or so to read, tops. That's a pretty weak rationalization for your laziness and deliberate ignorance.

You absolutely suspend the negotiations until the terms you're legally agreeing to abide by are actually spelled out in writing. There's quite a bit of money at stake here; how about some freaking due diligence?

Yikes! It's scary that some people actually live their lives this way!

(I mean, I understand clicking through a EULA for a video game or something, but the idea of not reading anything just floors me.)

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409765)

You mistakenly assumed my stance. I stated that it would take a very long time to read everything. I have a pack from my closing. It's more than 100 pages. Reading for comprehension of a set of contracts that long would likely not be under an hour.

I understand clicking through a EULA for a video game or something,

Ah, like all jackasses, you don't follow your own rules, but you have excuses why your way and only your way is the right way. No other way is acceptable. Got it.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409855)

I don't think you've bought a house recently if you think reading it takes just an hour. Or you live somewhere with very different laws than the places I've lived.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year ago | (#44409963)

Yes. That too many Americans sheepishly suspend their rights in the name of convenience is exactly why these practices have gotten too far out of hand in the first place. We are no longer the same people who went to war against our King because we were required to use name-brand paper (the Stamp Act) and repay the Crown for the cost of the French and Indian War.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44410095)

I live quite well, and I know what the conditions of things I've signed for. How do YOU live not knowing what you've actually agreed to. In my state (Illinois) , the contract for the sale of a house has to be given to you 24 hours in advance of you signing it, and yes, I read it. Well, technically, I last "purchased" a house 20+ years ago, but I just refinanced it a year ago or so.

If I'm agreeing to a 15-30 year deal, then an hour (maybe two) isn't that big of a deal spending to make sure that all the money I've investing in the purchase isn't going to go away because of some stupid clause. It's people like you that complain that OMG someone should have protected you from your own stupidity. As if there should have been some way to avoid bad situations, oh, but wait, there was.. READ WHAT YOU AGREE TO. Seriously, take some damn responsibility for your own actions. Most contracts aren't very difficult to read, but if you seriously have that big of a problem reading it, take it to a lawyer you trust. Then you can pay him a couple hundred dollars to read it and explain it to you.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

notthegeneral (2907447) | about a year ago | (#44409121)

As earlier said, most people don't read the paperwork they sign. In addition, how many people with toothaches actually read fine print? They just want to get the paperwork over with and see the dentist NOW.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409151)

Where I am from dentists (like all health-care professionals) are legally obliged to keep patient info private - if they for some reason will need to share this with someone - even another dentist or doctor (usually as part of a larger operation where the patient is moving between different health-care professionals/systems) they will have to ask for your permission.

Is the default in america that these people are free to share your medical record? while i love to pick on usa this was one thing i actually never thought was the case.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44409273)

We don't need no stinkin copyright to protect it.

We already have HIPAA.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44409295)

Yes, true. But I think (I don't remember for sure) the issue with this dentist first came up before HIPAA was passed.

Besides: it's a pretty thin excuse for giving up copyright. Probably wouldn't fly if actually challenged in court.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about a year ago | (#44409281)

According to the article, it is supposedly to increase privacy protections for the patient

And how would that work, anyway? I don't have a privacy agreement with myself. I can tell the whole world all sorts of crazy stuff about myself without any recourse against me for doing it.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (2)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44409617)

There may be a touch of justification for this. The confidentiality laws are one-sided. A patient can criticize a doctor or dentist, but under HIPAA, the doctor or dentist can't defend himself because the doctor is under an obligation of confidentiality. So you could call that a loophole.

When somebody sues a doctor for malpractice, as part of the filing the doctor is released from HIPAA confidentiality to defend himself.

This contract may be intended to say, "Since I can't defend myself in public, you can't attack me in public either."

But I don't think it's good contract. You can't require a patient not to complain, for the reasons described in the article. The dentist might have been able to get the patient to agree that if he complains about her in public, he waives his confidentiality and she has a right to reply.

Medical Justice seemed to have tried something clever by turning it into a copyright issue so they could enforce it with CDA takedown notices. It looks like they were a little too clever. That didn't hold up.

She should have stuck with meatpuppets raving about what a wonderful dentist she is.

Re:What's most surprising about this story. (5, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#44410043)

"What's most surprising about this story to me is that any patients would sign such a contract."

Read the Ars Technica piece by the writer who tried to say "no" to such a contract. In short: he gets booted out the door. Now imagine you're in pain and maybe scared about a possible medical emergency (as the patient in the lawsuit here was). Situations like that is why oversight of a time-critical service like this is needed.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/05/all-your-reviews-are-belong-to-us-medical-justice-vs-patient-free-speech/ [arstechnica.com]

Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44409043)

In order to be a valid contract, there has to be "consideration" on both sides.

What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright? Clearly it isn't dentistry, since that could be had elsewhere without the requirement of waiving copyright.

So what did Makhnevich give patients in exchange for that? If nothing, then there is no contract.

I suppose it's remotely possible that the patients were trading their copyright for dentistry, but that seems a pretty thin argument.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44409183)

Still, I feel sorry for small businesses today -- are there any restaurants whose online listings aren't choking with "gross" and "I'll never go there again!"

The Better Business Bureau has a mechanism to take complaints and give the business a way to respond and resolve the issues. All this also assumes the complaints are real and not just made up derogatory astroturfing online of competitors.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year ago | (#44409307)

Still, I feel sorry for small businesses today -- are there any restaurants whose online listings aren't choking with "gross" and "I'll never go there again!"

I use Yelp extensively and leave both favorable and unfavorable reviews for a variety of things and find the site to be quite helpful to find what is good and what to stay the heck away from. You can tell who has an axe to grind by looking at their other reviews.

In NYC, the Health Department has a letter system for restaurants. The restaurant must post it prominently. I find it amusing that the restaurants that object the most strongly are also the ones that get poor reviews on Yelp. Like "Gross" and "I'll never go the again." Its all very self-equalizing; one bad review amongst a sea of good ones gets ignored as does the good review for a place with mostly good reviews.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44409313)

"Still, I feel sorry for small businesses today -- are there any restaurants whose online listings aren't choking with "gross" and "I'll never go there again!""

But over time that's a self-defeating fad. If people post frivolous critiques, sooner or later other people will stop taking the site seriously.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (5, Interesting)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#44409321)

My ex-wife does catering for local hotels, i.e. she rents their restaurants and runs them for them. So I know a little bit about the local hotels. Last year a friend wanted to stay in my city but he wanted a top end hotel and my ex works with the mid range hotels so apart from asking her advice I looked at the internet sites. Most had very similar comments. Several comments were very obviously professionally written and I could even see the same style of writing in several comments. Anyway, one hotel interested me. It had several comments including a story about room service stealing a guests mobile phone and about how the guest was very badly treated by reception when they complained. There were lots of replies and debate about how terrible this was. The story interested me because I knew that the hotel had not opened yet and had not employed any staff.

The hotels hire advertising companies who will write glowing stories about the hotel (lies) and write bad stories about the opposition. I am talking about hotels but I am sure that the concept applied to all areas of debate on the internet.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409741)

I think this is especially true of hotels. There are usually a bunch of hotels of similar quality in a similar location. The only difference is price (often very similar) and whatever reviews they may have. So there is a pretty high motivation for hotels to have fake reviews both positive and negative.

Restaurants complain about this when it comes to sites like Yelp too. My practice is to try to throw out any outlier reviews and try to find places with a good number of reviews where I can try to find some general trends or consensus.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44409843)

The Better Business Bureau has a mechanism to take complaints and give the business a way to respond and resolve the issues.

The BBB is a scam, they just have really good marketing like DeBeers quality marketing.

The way it works is that dues-paying BBB members get to have their records wiped of any unresolved complaints after a certain period, usually about a year although it varies between BBB offices. Non-members do not get their records wiped under any circumstances. So when a disgruntled customer files a BBB complaint about a non-member business, the BBB uses that as a marketing tool to get that business to start paying dues.

The end result is that you can only trust BBB records of non-members, because they never get wiped, while a dues-paying BBB "member in good standing" may have hundreds of unresolved complaints that have simply expired. Occasionally a BBB office will "fire" a really egregious dues-paying member, but AFAIK there is no consistent set of rules across all BBB offices for when, if ever, that is required.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#44409229)

In order to be a valid contract, there has to be "consideration" on both sides.

In this case it would appear that the consideration is the "increased privacy" beyond HIPAA.

It will probably still not be enforceable since the reviews are not a work for hire, and reviews are generally not protected by copyright.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44409275)

In particular, the only things that can ever potentially be copyrighted are creative works. Facts are not in any way creative works, fox news notwithstanding.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (2, Funny)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#44409349)

Facts are not in any way creative works, fox news notwithstanding.

I'm pretty sure that Fox News "news" are copyrightable.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1, Troll)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#44410033)

I'm pretty sure Fox 'news' wouldn't know a fat if it bit them on the ass. I just can't work out what genre applies though; science fiction, fantasy or magical realism?

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#44410041)

Bah. I even previewed and didn't see it until after I hit submit. I obviously meant 'fact' not 'fat'.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year ago | (#44409767)

One of the key defenses to posting critical reviews is they are opinions, not merely facts, though of course they may contain facts.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44409319)

"In this case it would appear that the consideration is the 'increased privacy' beyond HIPAA."

Fictitious consideration is the same as none.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (2)

DRJlaw (946416) | about a year ago | (#44409309)

In order to be a valid contract, there has to be "consideration" on both sides.

What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright? Clearly it isn't dentistry, since that could be had elsewhere without the requirement of waiving copyright.

Courts do not analyze consideration with that degree of detail. In order for there to be consideration, both sides have to agree to provide something of value and/or agree not to do something that they otherwise had the right to do (provide services, tender payment, agree to a property boundary, not disparage each other, etc.). The contract has to have mutual obligations. If I contract to give you $20 in exchange for absolutely nothing, it's not a contract -- it's a non-contractual promise to make a gift. If I contract to give you $20 to shovel my walk and not drink alcohol for a week, that's a presumably enforceable contract.

Courts do not break apart the transaction to say which consideration was exchanged for what part -- if there is a single contract, it's a single package. The fact that you could get dentistry elsewhere without agreeing to the covenant means that you could have refused and taken your custom elsewhere, yet instead chose to contract -- who's to say why. Courts will rarely look at the relative value of what was exchanged -- the key is that something was exchanged.

This is why there is a bar exam. You could not have been more wrong if you'd tried.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409359)

> What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright?

Dental work.

You want your teeth cleaned? Pay us some money, AND agree to these terms. That's the consideration.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a year ago | (#44409383)

Supposedly it's increased privacy, which is pretty thin also; I don't even say "Hi" first to our patients I see on the street due to potential HIPPA concerns.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year ago | (#44409475)

What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright? Clearly it isn't dentistry ...

No, it is dentistry. The assignment of copyright constitutes part payment for the provision of dental services, the balance being paid in legal tender.

...since that could be had elsewhere without the requirement of waiving copyright

Reducing that logic to the extreme, the fact that a free dentists practises elsewhere would mean that no dentist can charge anything for dentistry.

I suppose it's remotely possible that the patients were trading their copyright for dentistry, but that seems a pretty thin argument.

Now I think you are getting closer to the most obvious point of legal attack. The contract fails not for want of consideration, but because this kind of term is so far outside the ordinary nature of an agreement for the provision of dental services, so unreasonable, that it would require the proverbial "red hand [wikipedia.org] " (UK law but similar cases exist in may CL jurisdictions) to bring it to the notice of patients. Patients wouldn't have imagined that they were trading copyright for dentistry and such a term must be specially brought to their attention. Alternatively this most likely falls foul of the relevant statutory prohibition on the formation of unfair contracts.

Nice try though, you have to give her that.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44409583)

In order to be a valid contract, there has to be "consideration" on both sides.

With EULA, the "consideration" use using the item you bought. If you don't agree, you don't get to use the item you own. So the service itself *is* the consideration. I think that sucks, but it works for EULA/copyright, so why not dentistry?

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year ago | (#44409759)

What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright?

I thought about that too, but I just assumed the company that created the contract also addressed that issue. Maybe "these are my fees, but the agreement gives you a 10% discount," or something like that. If consideration was not addressed by that company it'd be pretty darn stupid.

Re:Probably Not Enforceable Anyway (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44409825)

In order to be a valid contract, there has to be "consideration" on both sides.

What is the "consideration" given to the patient, in exchange for giving up copyright? Clearly it isn't dentistry, since that could be had elsewhere without the requirement of waiving copyright.

What? Of course it was the dentistry service. Why do you think consideration must be unique? If that were the case, then paying the dentist with money would not be consideration since just about everybody has money.

ta3o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409193)

so on, FreeBSD went Took preceDence the point more another troubled Outstrips I know it sux0rs, on my Pentium Pro

Let me be the first to say... (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44409239)

...this totally bites.

Smells Like Obama And Clinton! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409381)

From the Wash-Post, "Feinstein suggests Snowden might have given info to China, Russia".

"might have" is so weak as to wonder if the 'Lady In Red' has truly lost her mind at last ... such would be a blessing for the U.S.A. not only the hapless citizens of San Francisco.

However there is another 'Lady In Red' and inch'n to the "Station".

"Trouble ahead, lady in red,"
"Take my advice
you'd be better off dead."
"Switchmans sleeping,
train hundred and two"
"is on the wrong track and headed for you!"

"Drive'n on that train, High On Cocaine,"
"Obama you better, watch your Speed!'
"Troubles Ahead!"
"Troubles Behind!"

Don't U know That "Potion" just crossed my Mind!

Yee Haaa!

http://nm2ofs.net/forum/showthread.php?t=80299 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44409773)

http://nm2ofs.net/forum/showthread.php?t=80299

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