"Setting the Tone for your API Terms of Service"

I wanted to establish a base Terms of Service for my API area.

So I went and read the API terms of service from 15 top APIs

I found the opening paragraph says a lot about how a company approaches their API.

Here are the opening paragraphs for the top 15 API terms of service I came across:

Twitter Twitter maintains an open platform that supports the millions of people around the world who are sharing and discovering what's happening now. We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businesses around the information flowing through Twitter. At the same time, we aim to strike a balance between encouraging interesting development and protecting both Twitter's and users' rights.

So, we've come up with a set of Developer Rules of the Road ("Rules") that describe the policies and philosophy around what type of innovation is permitted with the content and information shared on Twitter.

Amazon Web Services Welcome to the Amazon Web Services site (the AWS Site). Amazon Web Services LLC and/or its affiliates (AWS) provides the AWS Site to you subject to the following terms of use (Terms of Use). By visiting the AWS Site, you accept the Terms of Use. Please read them carefully. In addition, when you use any current or future AWS services, content or other materials, you also will be subject to the AWS Customer Agreement or other agreement governing your use of our services (the Agreement).

Google Maps Thank you for your interest in the Google Maps/Google Earth APIs. The Google Maps/Google Earth APIs are a collection of services that allow you to include maps, geocoding, and other Content from Google in your webpages or applications.

Skype These Skype API Terms of Use ( "API Terms") set out the terms and conditions of use of the Skype API. If You want to use the Skype API for any purpose (including without limitation, in connection with an application or software program or for the purpose of interfacing with hardware), You must first register with Skype by completing and providing accurate contact information on the Skype Partner enquiry form available at the Skype Website (the "Registration"). By submitting Your Registration to Skype and / or using Skype API, You explicitly agree to be bound by these API Terms and any revised or renewed versions thereof, as will be published on the Skype Website or as may be otherwise notified to You by Skype. Skype reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to refuse or reject Your Registration.

LinkedIn We're glad you've chosen to use the LinkedIn APIs. By using one or more of the LinkedIn APIs (the "LinkedIn APIs" or APIs), you and, if applicable, the company you represent (collectively, "you") accept and agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the "Terms of use" or Terms). It is important that you read these Terms as they form a legal agreement between you and LinkedIn, Inc. (LinkedIn, we, or us).

Rapleaf These terms and conditions constitute a legal agreement between you and Rapleaf, Inc. ("Rapleaf," "We" or "Us"). By accepting these terms and/or using the Rapleaf Personalization API service ("Personalization API" or "API"), you are representing that you have the authority to bind the party being issued an API Passkey for this Personalization API and otherwise act on their behalf (you and any such party are collectively referred to as "You"). The "API Passkey" is the Personalization API service user passkey given to you by Rapleaf upon successful sign-up for this service. In exchange for use of and access to an API Passkey and Rapleaf's proprietary Personalization API and its technical specifications ("Specifications") you agree to be bound by these Rapleaf Personalization API Terms and Conditions (this "Agreement"). This Agreement shall take precedence over and supersede any prior agreement, whether oral or written, express or implied, between the parties, including any non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.

Netflix We're glad you've chosen to use the Netflix API. By using the Netflix API (the "Netflix API" or "API"), you and, if applicable, the company you represent (collectively, "you") accept and agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the "Terms of Use," "Terms" or "Agreement"). It is important that you read these Terms as they form a legal agreement between you and Netflix, Inc. ("Netflix", "we", or "us").

Scribd Welcome to the Scribd, Inc. (hereafter referred to as Scribd) content management and file download platform consisting of web sites, services, software applications and networks that allow for the authorized download and distribution of digital content over the internet (the Scribd Platform).

Ebay Thank you for your interest in the eBay Developers Program, which allows you to build applications that usecontent from and interact with eBay-branded marketplaces around the world. Because we are committed toprotecting our users and our sites and services, we require you to abide by the following terms governingyour participation in the eBay Developers Program and your use of the eBay API, this eBay DevelopersProgram & API License Agreement (Agreement).

Etsy Below this introduction is quite a bit of important legal language. Please read it. Inside Etsy, we talk a lot about the importance of humanity, honesty and transparency in our communications. So, before you read on to the important legalese, we want to share a few thoughts in human and honest terms.

Wolfram Alpha Wolfram|Alpha LLC ("Wolfram|Alpha"), a Delaware company, provides you ("You/Your") one or more unique application ID keys (the "AppID") to its application programming interface ("Wolfram|Alpha API") for the purpose of developing a website or software application ("API Client") subject to Your compliance with these Wolfram|Alpha API Terms of Use (the "Terms"). By using any AppID, You agree to be bound by these Terms.


SalesForce Welcome to Developerforce. By accessing or using any part of Developerforce, or by uploading ordownloading any content, you agree that you are subject to and will comply with these Terms of Use, asWe may update them from time to time. Facebook Facebook Platform is an extension of Facebook, whose mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Platform applications and developers are required to comply with the following documents:

  • Statement of Rights and Responsibilities: requirements for anyone who uses Facebook.
  • Principles: the spirit of the law for Platform.
  • Policies: the letter of the law for Platform.
Flickr Thank you for using the Flickr application programming interfaces (the "Flickr APIs"). By using the Flickr APIs, you agree to the terms below. If you disagree with any of these terms, Flickr does not grant you a license to use the Flickr APIs. We reserve the right to update and change these terms from time to time without notice. You can always find the most recent version of these terms here http://www.flickr.com/services/api/tos/.


The first paragraph sets the tone as strictly legal, business or welcoming you to the API community.

How will you set the tone for you API terms of service?