Amazon Web Services terms of use: run far away, run fast

Amazon sells Amazon Web Services (AWS), a collection of cloud-hosting services. Amazon promotes AWS as a way for companies to secure computing capacity quickly and economically, eliminating the need to purchase and maintain physical servers. Thousands of companies, including traditional mainline businesses, internet startups and technology ventures, use AWS to host their software and brands on Amazon servers, including Comcast, Siemens, Reddit and Netflix.

The AWS Customer Agreement ( contains an IP non-assertion clause that is breathtaking in its reach: "During and after the Term, you will not assert, nor will you authorize, assist, or encourage any third party to assert, against us or any of our affiliates, customers, vendors, business partners, or licensors, any patent infringement or other intellectual property infringement claim regarding any Service Offerings you have used." "Service Offerings" are defined as AWS, "(including associated APIs)", the "AWS Content" (which includes software), the "AWS Marks" (which are any marks that Amazon uses now or in the future), and "any other product or service" provided by Amazon under this agreement.

With this clause, Amazon could quite literally copy any of it's customers' software, and their brands, that Amazon hosts on and displays from its servers, fold that into its Amazon Web Services offering, and call it a day.

Each of Amazon's customers has essentially granted to Amazon, and to all of Amazon's customers, vendors, and partners, the equivalent of an unlimited royalty-free IP license, forever, to all the software, content, brands and technology that Amazon hosts for them.

An extensive discussion about this matter and sample contract language (with redlined variations) are available at Redline (

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