No Nuclear Option with Yahoo APIs

Justin Houk
Sep. 03 2010, 11:00AM EDT

Here at ProgrammableWeb we do things like read terms of use for fun. That's just how we roll.  We were perusing Yahoo! APIs Terms of Use when we stumbled on something that truly surprised us.  Yahoo doesn't want us using their API's to operate nuclear facilities. Operating a nuclear facility through any Yahoo API is in fact grounds for having your license terminated. That's not all we found.

Yahoo tells us that we SHALL NOT...

Use the Yahoo! APIs to operate nuclear facilities, life support, or other mission critical application where human life or property may be at stake. You understand that the Yahoo! APIs are not designed for such purposes and that their failure in such cases could lead to death, personal injury, or severe property or environmental damage for which Yahoo! is not responsible;

Upon additional reflection these seem like a good ideas.  Yahoo appears to be watching out for those of us that might tend towards these types of uses. They also forbid using Yahoo APIs to traffic in body parts or materials urging acts of hacking.

The rest of the terms are pretty much standard language like you can find everywhere.   They state in one place that  "Any construction or interpretation to be made of the Terms of Use shall not be construed against the drafter."  This might be saying that if you interpret the terms of use to allow the operation of a nuclear reactor or your uncle Don's life support - don't blame Yahoo if something goes wrong.

Justin Houk

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This is standard boiler plate stuff and goes back couple of decades in software agreements. Check the Java EULA for example. Just search on google for other examples.