Some questions on the Law Stack Exchange allow questions relating to terms of service. In fact, terms-of-service is a tag on the site. At the same time, a question I recently asked on the site was closed:

Does Amazon prohibit a family of adults from sharing a single Amazon account?

I'm guessing that my question was too specific to a particular site's policy and needed to be more applicable to terms of service in general. Would a broader question that uses Amazon simply as an example be on-topic? Perhaps I could ask the following: "Do ToS agreements prohibit sharing an online account when a license to use a site is 'non-transferable' and when you're given responsibility for restricting access to your account? For example, Amazon's terms say XYZ."

If I were to ask a question like that, would I be in on-topic territory?

1 Answer 1


If I were to ask a question like that, would I be in on-topic territory?

Your original post is on topic and should have remained open. In fact, its wording makes more sense --and provides better context-- than the version you outline here. I just voted to reopen it.

As of today the stated reason for closing your post reads "This question does not appear to be about law", which is inaccurate. Your question clearly is about the interpretation of binding clauses upon which the parties purportedly agreed. This implies that your question pertains to contract law, as you correctly reflected by including the tag contract-law.

More specifically, your question is about the scope of two terms in those clauses. The position that "terms of use are not laws" is too narrow and omits the fact that court opinions very often delve in the scope of terms in a contract dispute. For that purpose, courts resort to dictionaries and common usage of words unless the controversy warrants adhering to a stronger or compulsory source such as a statutory definition. Incidentally, many of those court opinions even become legal precedent (i.e. case law).

The reason why I did not answer your post when I first read it is that I am not acquainted enough with the functionality of the [Amazon] service in order to infer the provider's intended scope of "non-transferable". For instance, allowing an account to have multiple credit cards with different holder names suggests that Amazon did not intend a stringent meaning of the term "non-transferable". Amazon could have implemented a simple validation so that all cards match one same name, and yet the company evidently declined to do so.

Had I known that others would rush to close your question, I would have answered it (as sketched in the preceding paragraph) notwithstanding my gaps regarding that aspect of Amazon accounts.

  • 1
    Thank you! I'm happy to hear that my question is on-topic after all. If it were off-topic on law, then there wouldn't be a better place to ask it on Stack Exchange, and thus it'd be un-askable. Glad to hear this is not the case, and I hope we can get the question re-opened. For anyone reading this comment, if I may ask, could you go to the link above and ask for it to be reopened since its closure is in error? If so, thanks!
    – The Editor
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 13:29
  • Also, I think that's a good point about how credit cards work with multiple names. Trying to think of a possible explanation that wouldn't prove shared accounts, could this be so that the account would be compatible with different forms of the same name (e.g., if someone put down "Kenneth Anyname" on one credit card and "Ken Anyname" on another)? I'm not sure if that's arguable or not, however.
    – The Editor
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 22:49
  • "could this be so that the account would be compatible with different forms of the same name". Maybe, but it might not withstand the argument that scenarios of "family of more than two adults" can be consistent with "personal and non-commercial use" and the family-oriented character that is palpable in the clause altogether. Also the language "You are responsible for [...] restricting access to your account" is less stringent than "only you are allowed to access your account". Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 0:11
  • I see. It could be argued that sharing an account with immediate family is a "personal and non-commercial use," combined with the fact that the terms don't seem to directly prohibit account-sharing but place "responsibility" on you for doing so. That seems to make sense. Is there a way I could get a second opinion (assuming the question won't re-open)?
    – The Editor
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 2:15
  • Actually, the question did reopen. Yay!
    – The Editor
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 13:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .