It would be reasonable if it was more straightforward about what it
said, if it "operationalized" that restriction.
For instance, it could say: you can't use AWS unless your web sites that
use it provide links to Amazon for any items whose details are displayed
from AWS info. That would be fair enough, and I think some other part
of the ToS may say that, at any rate I generally do it as a courtesy and
Or even if it said: that you can't use it if your web page provides any
links to purchase (or even borrow) a book via a non-Amazon vendor. That
wouldn't be 'bizarre' because I'd understand what it meant, although it
would be so restrictive that I'd stop using AWS. (Google has tried
similar things like that, at one point they had "ToS" that said you
coudln't put an HTML search form pointed at Google Scholar on a page
that offered functionality to search anything else except Google! I
generally feel like ignoring that, I don't feel I need a license to put
HTML pointed at Google on my page at all, and never even pressed any
click-through 'agree' agreeing to THAT.)
What's bizarre is the vagueness and lack of operationalization (is that
a word?) of what AWS ToS says. "
You are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service with
any Application or for any use that does not have, as its principal
purpose, driving traffic to the Amazon Website and driving sales of
products and services on the Amazon Website.
Now, okay, it's really not THAT confusing in our case (although would be
in many others), it's pretty clear that it is NOT the principal purpose
of ANY library Application I write. However, what's bizarre is that this
restriction is more honored in the breach, libraries far from alone in
using AWS for Applications that don't even _arguably_ have that as a
'principal purpose', and then there are many more where it would be a
very tenuous argument. Yet Amazon does not seem to have any inclination
to stop any of these people. So I don't feel like being the stickler
when everyone else is using AWS all over the place for applications
without that 'principal purpose', and Amazon is telling nobody to stop.
What's bizarre is that they have this weird restriction about "principal
purpose", but show no inclination to enforce it in any way.
Incidentally, the GBS ToS are bizarre in other even less clear ways.
"The Google Book Search APIs are not intended to be a substitute or
replacement of products or services of any third party content provider.
" Um, okay, thanks for telling me what you do or don't intend, but what
does this mean as a TERM in your ToS, how, if at all, is this meant to
restrict my use? If it actually said "You are not allowed to use this
as a substitute or replacement for any third party service or product",
then it would enter the realm of truly bizarrre, figuring out what that
actually means for a developer. Like, if someone else started offering
very similar services to GBS but charged for it, then I wouldn't be
allowed to use the free GBS APIs at all, since it would be an
alternatative to a paid service? Makes no sense.
Nate Vack wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 3:30 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> However, my understanding is that Worldcat forbids any use of those cover
>> images _at all_. This is much more clear cut, and OCLC is much more likely
>> to care, then Amazon's more bizarre restrictions as to purpose.
> How is Amazon's restriction bizarre? As far as I can read, they're
> saying "hey if you're using our data, we ask that you drive traffic to
> us, OK?" That's totally reasonable; they, you know, sell books for a
> living, and their API services aren't free to support.
> If you're using Amazon's cover images, you should provide a way for
> Amazon to capitalize on that usage. Even if they don't cut you off
> (because they don't catch you or don't care), linking to them is still
> the morally right thing to do.