SkoolLive gives schools 48 hours.

September 12, 2017

The SkoolLive contract. Schools beware.


From Jim Metrock:

Contracts, like government regulations, are hard to read unless you break the contract down into smaller pieces.

Since law school days I have always found it helpful to write out the clauses, phrases, and qualifying terms, something like I’ve done below in blue.  When I do that, it makes the true intent of the contract clearer in my mind.

Below is a section of SkoolLive’s contract with school districts in California.  I assume it is the same contract in other states.  I am posting this part of their contract first because I can’t see how any reasonable, prudent school board member or school administrator could ever agree to Section 2.  The real fun stuff is found in Section 2.3.

We have two parties to this contract: SkoolLive and the school district.
SkoolLive intends to sign up advertisers who want their ads on SkoolLive’s electronic billboards (kiosks) located throughout the school district.  Since school districts are never initially comfortable with in-school marketing, SkoolLive seeks to calm their fears by telling districts they can review all advertising content before students see the ads on the kiosks.  It sounds good… but wait.

Section 2.1 basically says nothing gosh awful will be advertised on SkoolLive screens.  SkoolLive promises to NOT advertise beer, cigarettes, or anything obscene.  What a relief!  Wow, SkoolLive is going the extra mile to show they are a responsible youth marketing firm.

It is in Section 2.1 that SkoolLive also starts showing how devious they are.  The company will sign up advertisers all through the school year.  SkoolLive will add the new advertisers and their ad campaigns to some online site, accessible to school officials through a web portal assigned to the school.  SkoolLive has the nerve to tell the school district that they – the school district – have to constantly check this portal to see what SkoolLive is doing.  It’s the school district’s responsibility to check at least once a week to make sure they understand what is going to appear on SkoolLive’s billboard screens in the upcoming weeks.

They aren’t serious, are they?  Why doesn’t SkoolLive proactively send all scheduled ad content TO the school district for their approval?  Don’t require the school district to catch SkoolLive doing something bad.  Schools have enough on their plate, why should they have to remember every few days to go check on SkoolLive content?  The simple reason: SkoolLive hopes the school district forgets about checking up on them.

The contract is sloppy in 2.1 because SkoolLive says nothing about what a school is suppose to do if they see any questionable advertising content. I am guessing SkoolLive’s attorney lost his train of thought, but in the very first sentence of  Section 2.3 SkoolLive finishes the thought.  And it’s quite something.

“School District shall be responsible for logging into the SkoolLive portal in order to review proposed content. Thereafter, School District shall have two (2) business days (48 hours) to review and approve or reject the proposed content (the “review period”).
You got to be kidding me. No way.

SkoolLive has the unmitigated gall to give the school district a certain number of hours to complain about advertising content and if they fail to do so, well, tough.  If the school district didn’t register any complaints during the narrow window of opportunity afforded them, then SkoolLive will force the ads on the school district.  Indeed, SkoolLive actually says that if the school district fails to raise an issue within the arbitrary 48-hour time period, and the content is not gosh awful as defined in Section 2.1, then the school district… (I’m not making this up. It’s right there in the contract that SkoolLive wrote.) … wait for it… “MUST approve it (content the school district opposes) for display.”

“Must”!? I would tell SkoolLive’s rep, right then and there, to come and pick up their electronic advertising boxes and get off the school grounds.  Who does SkoolLive think they are?

This gets even more demeaning for the school district.  So let’s say the school district drops the ball.  No one remembers to check the SkoolLive web portal and now SkoolLive is showing some questionable content on their kiosks.  Can someone from the school district simply call SkoolLive and tell them to remove the content.  Er… no can do.  SkoolLive says, in the last sentence of the contract below, that the school district has to send SkoolLive an email explaining IN DETAIL the grounds for daring to object to SkoolLive’s advertising content.  Whether SkoolLive gives in to the school district request and agrees to take down their content is up to SkoolLive.

What type of school district would sign such a contract?


2.1 Content on Kiosk System.

Prior to display on the kiosk system,

SkoolLive shall provide School District with detailed information

about the content, images, and brands, products, and services

to be displayed on the kiosk system by SkoolLive,

including the names of the services, products or brands to be promoted.

To achieve this purpose,

School District shall be required to log into the SkoolLive portal

no less than one (1) time per week

to review the content SkoolLive proposes to display on the kiosk system.

SkoolLive will not display

any promotional content on the kiosk system

that is in violation of the laws, guidelines and policies

applicable to School District

(including any policies or guidelines pertaining to the promotion of non-nutritional or unhealthy foods),

and is otherwise generally inappropriate, violent, offensive, politically incorrect, sexually explicit,

or containing any other similar objectively inappropriate content

for School District’s students,

including content that

(a) is obscene, libelous or slanderous,

(b) may incite students to commit unlawful acts, violate School District rules or disrupt the orderly operation of School District or its schools,

(c) promotes any particular political interest, candidate, party or ballot measure, unless such materials are being distributed at a forum in which candidates or advocates from all sides are presenting their views to the students during School District’s hours or during scheduled events,

(d) discriminates against, attacks or denigrates any group on account of any unlawful consideration,

(e) promotes the use or sale of materials or services that are illegal or inconsistent with School District’s objectives,

including but not limited to promotions for tobacco, intoxicants,

and movies

or products unsuitable for School District’s students,

(f) solicits funds or services for an organization, with the exception of solicitations authorized by School District, and/or

(g) distributes unsolicited merchandise for which an ensuing payment is requested. 


2.2 Changes to School District’s Rules/Guidelines Governing Content.

If during the Term of this Agreement

School District amends or changes its rules, guidelines or policies applicable to the content to be displayed on the kiosk system

as set forth in Section 2.1,

School District shall have an obligation to inform SkoolLive

of any such changes or amendments,

and SkoolLive shall comply with the same

within forty-eight (48) hours’ notice from School District.


2.3 Review /Approval of Content. 

School District shall be responsible for logging into the SkoolLive portal
in order to review proposed content.
Thereafter, School District shall have two (2) business days (48 hours)
to review and approve or reject the proposed content (the “review period”).
If School District does not approve or reject the proposed content within the review period,
SkoolLive may display the content on the kiosk system after the review period.
If the proposed content is within the guidelines and criteria as set forth in Section 2.1 above,
School District must approve it for display,
and School District cannot reject or object to the content for subjective reasons
outside the criteria/guidelines.
If School District believes the proposed content violates the guidelines and criteria set forth in
Section 2.1, within the review period,
School District must communicate its objection to the proposed content
via electronic mail to SkoolLive,
setting forth in detail the grounds for the rejection of the proposed content.

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