It seems that many artists (including people I know personally) tend to think ToSs are a good thing to apply to art commissions. I tried to explain ToSs put the impetus on the service rather than the transaction or the person. (meaning the service itself either denial of or reduced features of) the service is used to enforce the contract. This makes no sense for art commissions as the artist isn't providing an on going service that they could deny to the client by definition when they are commissioned. Instead either a signed contract or the an implied contract is given when passing over money.

What is the general legal precedent for the term "Terms of Service" and does the contractual form where a service is used in and of itself to enforce a contract have special legal meaning? Or is terms of a service just a name with no legal bearing?

Conventionally what are ToSs used for? I think where this is coming from is that artists want a way to specify what to expect from them BEFORE money or all the money of a transaction is passed over. Is ToS the best tool for this or something else?

This answer can apply generally but defaulting to US law is fine.

1 Answer 1


"Terms of Service" is just a name for the written part of a contract. Its name has no bearing on its enforceability. It could just as validly be called "contract", "agreement", "terms of sale", "Sarah" or "Jim".

  • I'm in agreement here. Although by calling it ToS it does imply the contact is usually enforced by providing or denying the service itself instead of some other remedy. So calling say an art commission contact a "ToS" is inherently misleading. Do you think you could tackle some of the rest of my question?
    – jdwolf
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 2:29

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