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GitHub's terms of service

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From:
Zefram
Date:
September 10, 2011 09:04
Subject:
GitHub's terms of service
Message ID:
20110910160425.GA31592@lake.fysh.org
Bit off topic, but relevant to a lot of people here: I reckon GitHub's
terms of service make it dangerous to use, and completely unfit for some
obvious modes of use.  (I'm looking at it because I'm getting commit
bits on a couple of projectss currently hosted there, and it would be
convenient if I had a GitHub account to be able to commit directly.)

GitHub's TOS can be found at <http://help.github.com/terms-of-service/>.
Highlights:

Preamble: "GitHub reserves the right to update and change the Terms of
Service from time to time without notice.".  You're allegedly bound by
whatever terms they decided to add this week.  For example, they might
change the terms in section F to claim copyright on whatever you upload.
You have no opportunity to reject future changes of terms as unacceptable.
This is an absolute dealbreaker for me.

D4 and G6: GitHub can delete your account at will, without notice, and
without giving you access to the data that was in your account.  So it's
not fit to be the only persistent repo for any project.  Fortunately git
makes replicating the data very easy, so you're not so likely to end
up relying on GitHub.  Which is good, because, per this term, GitHub
is unreliable.

F3: you're liable for GitHub's legal costs where it's alleged that you've
done something wrong.  Not where you *have* done something wrong, but
merely where it's *alleged*.  You therefore have no practical control
over whether such costs are incurred.

This is all very reminiscent of 2002, when Sourceforge changed what had
been decent TOS in ways that rather resemble this.  I documented that
at <http://www.fysh.org/~zefram/sourceforge_terms/>.

-zefram

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