terms of service [English]

InterPARES Definition

n. (also Terms of Use (ToU, abbr.) or Terms and Conditions (TaC), abbr.) ~ A contract, typically between a service provider and a user (individual or corporate), detailing the provider's obligations and liabilities, address copyright, privacy and use of personal information, and acceptable behavior, and client's obligations for use of the service.

General Notes

Terms of service often limit a provider's obligations and liabilities while establishing legal protections for the provider.


  • McLelland, et al. 2014 (†403 9): The “Terms and Conditions (TaC),” “Terms of Service (ToS),” or similarly named document TaC may contain more general clauses that would encompass all of the services that a provider offers, such as conditions for service termination, legal protections for the service provider in terms of content uploaded by the client, and copyright terms. In general, these contracts describe the client’s obligations when using the service, and they are clearly meant to protect the service provider more than the client. [Text includes citations] (†467)
  • Russell 2012 (†383 n.p.): [Genealogy] What are terms of use? Easy answer: they’re the limits somebody who owns something you want to see or copy or use puts on whether or not he’ll let you see or copy or use it. These are limits that are different from copyright protection, since the law says what is and isn’t copyrighted and you can own a thing without owning the copyright. So this isn’t copyright law; it’s contract law – you and whoever owns the thing you want to see or copy or use reach a deal. (†416)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. "terms of service"): Terms of service (also known as terms of use and terms and conditions, commonly abbreviated as ToS or TOS and TOU) are rules which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service. Terms of service can also be merely a disclaimer, especially regarding the use of websites. (†417)