API Terms of Service Predict an Unsure Future
05 Aug 2011I was just working on a piece for ProgrammableWeb about the new Yahoo WebPlayer, which is amedia player that can play video and audio from any site or service, and be distributed across the web. While browsing around the Yahoo WebPlayer site I came to the Terms of Service, which I found three items that stand out:
Yahoo! can update and change this Agreement and TOS by posting a new version without notice to you. You understand and agree that the Player may allow for advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for Yahoo! to provide the Player for your use. Yahoo! Media Player is free, but Yahoo! reserves the right to charge fees for future use of or access to the Player at Yahoo!'s sole discretion.I think these are pretty standard rules of the road that us publishers and developers are getting used when integrating with APIs and deploying gadgets, widgets and other embeddable tools. But they don't give us much build upon, as a content publisher, or developer trying to build a business. I cannot see into the future, and I understand the problems providers face, but these terms seem pretty wide open, in favor of the provider. What can we do to make terms of services (TOS) for APIs and other tools more in support of the community a provider is targeting with these services? I don't have the answers, just asking the question. This bizdev 2.0 stuff is a lot harder than we anticipated.