5/27/10. Added plagiarism bullet.
12/15/08. Added "Disclaimers/Attributions" section.
3/25/08. Added "Review integrity" section.
10/31/08. Fixed a spelling error.
3/2/08. Fixed a spelling error.
2/29/08. Added italics, capital letters.
2/28/08. Clarified posting rules, which have been on and off this document and elsewhere on the site. Edited don't-dos to include impersonating someone else.
8/11/07. Reordered a bit; clarified that authors promoting their books is commercial.
7/12/07. Added prohibiton against duplicative or nonsense groups.
7/1/07. Added prohibition against reposting flagged content.
1/2/07. Added "Participating in Translation" link. Reordered items a bit.
12/17/06. Added "sock puppets" to "shell accounts." Edited some of the "don't be a jerk," for brevity not content.
12/11/06. Added "Participating in Talk and Groups." Removed "Intellectual Property and Reverse Engineering" clause.
9/11/06. Added part about use by booksellers to "Individual accounts".
8/21/06. Updated "Individual accounts" section to link to information about organizations.
4/3/06. Added section on "Automated Input and Retrieval," and second paragraph of "Individual accounts."
11/8/05. Added IP and reverse engineering clause.
11/8/05. Made it clearer that your username can't be an insult, general or specific, or use a term that suggests you run the website.
10/3/05. Added rule about empty libraries.
Version as of June 24, 2010
It felt odd to keep saying "I." Don't be fooled—this is just the official plural.
No sale of personal information
LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party. This would be evil, and we are not evil. We reserve the right to sell or give away anonymous or aggregate information. We are particularly interested in what the Library Science people discover when comparing the formal cataloging and the user-tagging data. If you are an enterprising grad student, give us a ring!
No email from LibraryThing
LibraryThing will not send you mass emails without your consent.
LibraryThing allows "private" libraries—libraries that others can't see. We promise to try hard to maintain this privacy. As a beta application and a wiggly one, we cannot give an absolute 100% guarantee of privacy. After all, even Amazon had a day when all their "anonymous" reviewers were exposed. (Many turned out to be the authors themselves, of course.) Amazon has dozens of highly-paid database specialists; LibraryThing does not. If the public disclosure of your library would really damage you, by all means don't post it online.
LibraryThing will not cooperate with US law enforcement unless compelled to do so. If you are using LibraryThing from a foreign country with an oppressive government, LibraryThing urges you not to put yourself at risk. We certainly promise never to open up an office in China and actively filter sensitive political information and rat out dissidents, such as Yahoo does. Shame on them.
LibraryThing individual accounts are designed for personal collections (couples and families are okay too). Organizations, like churches, companies, schools and museums, can join. (See organizational accounts for the rules.)
LibraryThing is for YOUR books—books you own, have read or want. Under normal circumstances, this rule doesn't matter, but it would not be appropriate to fill your LibraryThing catalog with all the books in your local library or, for example, Project Gutenberg.
People who have paid for lifetime memberships get what they paid for, and probably a lot more. If, however, LibraryThing adds major new features, including but not limited to tracking your borrowed books by satellite and smiting the malefactors with a death-ray, using these new features may require an additional payment.
The current "beta" deal is $25 (life) or $10 (year) for over 200 books. This deal only applies to people who have taken advantage of it. It does not apply to people who have yet to pay when (if, actually) we raise the price.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) severely restricts what information can be collected from children under 13. For this reason, children under 13 are prohibited from using LibraryThing. Children 13 and over may participate with the permission and guidance of their parent or guardian. Users of all ages are warned not to provide profile information without weighing the risks and benefits, and never to provide their phone number, address or other critical personal data on-line.
Content posted to LibraryThing
By posting content to LibraryThing, you grant (and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant!) LibraryThing a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, omnipotent, royalty-free, fully-transferable and sublicenseable right to display, use, analyze, aggregate, modify, adapt, publish, translate, transform, create derivative works from and perform in any venue or media, online or offline, as well as
"In Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy, / And arts, though unimagined, yet to be." (Shelley, Prometheus Unbound)
This grant is restricted by the above promise that "LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party" as well as any additional promises attached to specific features (eg., reviews).
Reviews posted on LibraryThing.com may be used in LibraryThing for Library's reviews enhancement, an add-on feature libraries can purchase to show reviews within their online catalog. As a LibraryThing reviewer, you have the power to control whether their reviews are publicly available. If you have not chosen, the default is to make the reviews available. Click here to edit your profile and change your preference. It's under Account Settings > Your Book Reviews.
Please note that we do NOT assert copyright over the things you post to LibraryThing, and that the "non-exclusive" above means you can post your content elsewhere. By posting to LibraryThing you let us use, but you do not restrict what you can do with it. We love it when people post their reviews on their blog, on Amazon and other sites!
Participating in Talk and Groups
Use common sense. Be polite. Think before you post.
What's not allowed
How to deal with abuse
In extreme cases - if you feel that you're being harrassed, or if a flame war begins, please email email Tim at timlibrarything.com or Sonya at sonyalibrarything.com.
Participating in Translation
See the Translation Guidelines and Legal Verbiage page for rules, norms and gentle reminders.
Automated Input and Retrieval
Except by permission or through an authorized API, you may not add to or query your library automatically.
We retain the right to delete accounts with no books after three months.
LibraryThing allows members to participate in "book give-away" programs designed to give readers books and foster reviews. But we forbid reviews by or in the service of "pay-for-review" schemes.
The difference is a tricky one, so we have a number of requirements:
Miscellaneous things you can't do
Many of these fall under the category "don't be a jerk" and ought to be obvious:
We proudly use some icons from these great icon sets:
(yes, these are my books)