Tumblr Terms and Conditions


January 15, 2015 by EmilyCRios

The microblogging site Tumblr last updated it’s Terms of Service in January 2012. They start their terms with a note saying that they have included annotations that are not a part of the contract, but are meant to emphasize the terms and help users follow them.

Tumblr realizes how confusing Terms and Conditions are and that a lot of people probably do not read them so their annotations are meant to help users understand the terms and maybe even chuckle a bit.

Tumblr age


They know kids are going to sign up or attempt to sign up for the site so stating clearly that the age requirement is based on legislation is smart and I kind of loved that they told those younger than 13 to ask for a Playstation 4 or to try reading a book.

Tumblr is fuel by the fact that users can like and reblog content so I was interested to see what their terms said about who had ownership over content. According to their terms users own the rights to any intellectual property a user posts on the site but grant Tumblr “a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of, such Subscriber Content.”

They make sure to include the statment that “creat[ing] derivative works” is not intended to give Tumblr a right to make substantive editorial changes or derivations, but does, for example, enable reblogging.”

tumblr permission

Tumblr makes it clear that their terms can change and clearly indicate where users can go to learn more about their Privacy Policy and their Community Guidelines

TumblrChangesTerms and Conditions are long and filled with legal jargon, but Tumblr does a great job at keeping things simple and including boxes of annotations that put things in simple terms that the average person can easily understand.

At the end of the terms Tumblr include a link so that users can look at prior versions of the terms and see what things have been changed.

4 thoughts on “Tumblr Terms and Conditions

  1. migshields says:

    Hey Emily,

    Note: I truly don’t understand copyright laws, so bear with me.

    I actually like how Tumblr says that you own everything you publish on their site. This is so different from Facebook in which Zuckerberg essentially owns everything you post on there. My only concern when it comes to this is a lot of material on Tumblr is original, but use elements of copyrighted material. For example, a buddy of mine has a Tumblr in which he photoshop’s his daughter into movie scenes. I get that this pictures are property of his, but doesn’t taking screenshots of movie scenes infringe on copyright laws? Does it say anywhere in the terms about copyrighted material?

    My friend’s Tumblr:

    I do like how Tumblr makes their terms and agreements funny and witty. I never read terms when signing up for a site, but if I did, I actually would get a kick out of this stuff. Have you come across any other sites terms similar to Tumblr’s?

    • EmilyCRios says:

      Copyright laws seem even more confusing than terms and conditions. In Tumblr’s terms it says that they their copyright policy is in line with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and if that people discover a copyright infringement on Tumblr they can submit an infringement notice which Tumblr will then look into. Looking through Tumblr’s terms and conditions and attempting to get through the DMCA I could not find anything about altering copyrighted images. Since this is a popular occurrence on social media sites especially with items like memes I would think there would be some sort of rule about it, but with just the large number of social media accounts it would be a hard rule to police unless copyright owners were specifically trolling and then reporting everyone using and sharing their altered images.

  2. PatAce says:

    Hi Emily,

    I recently signed up for a Tumblr account, and I’m loving it! To be honest, Tumblr to me is the equivalent to a blogging version of Pinterest. Rather than repinning pictures, you’re rebloging posts. Tumblr’s approach to their terms of services seems to be more engaging than the other sites we’ve seen this week. Though Ello also does try the same approach in some ways.

    At this point, it’s not surprising that Tumblr makes it clear that its users own the rights to the content they post, and that Tumblr doesn’t take responsibility. It’s the whole liability thing, and given all the kinds of comments and posts people create (some of it quite illegal) I can see why companies go out of their way to make sure that they bear as little responsibility as possible for posts. Now of course this doesn’t excuse the site from monitoring what is posted and deleting things that should not be there.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      I had never compared Tumblr and Pinterest, but your comparison makes total sense. Both Tumblr and Pinterest allows users to easily search using certain keywords and like and share what they like. I love how both are fueled by visuals. Sites should be monitoring what is posted on their platforms and like you said delete things that should not be there and are inappropriate and users need to realize that they are responsible for what they are posting.

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