After analyzing the Steam Web API Terms of Service and the Subscriber Agreement, it is unclear to me whether the reviews, which are otherwise freely available through Steam's official programmatic interface, can be used for commercial purposes.

I have two distinct questions I would really appreciate an answer for:

  1. Is it legal and permissible to commercially use public Steam reviews as input data for an artificial intelligence module that would then process those reviews to provide some additional insights? The output of the analysis would contain a summary, but not content of the reviews.
  2. Is it legal and permissible to display the content of reviews in a third-party commercial application?

I know that there are some third-party subscription-based services that do something very similar (provide a summary of reviews of a given game with sentiment, main topics, etc.), so I assume it's either entirely permissible or legal, but requires Steam's approval. I'm EU-based and Steam is subject to the jurisdiction of the state of Washington.

1 Answer 1


Do you own the copyright on those reviews? No, not unless you wrote them all.

Do you have a license to use the reviews? The FAQ page about reviews does not grant one.

Is it right to take the work of others without permission and use it for your own commercial gain? No.

  • Note that any copyrighted material can be used under various limitations and exceptions to copyright, such as fair use. This use, for example, seems to clearly meet three out of the four fair use factors (it's significantly transformative, the original works are non-fiction and probably have weaker copyright protection, and there is no market for the originals).
    – Kevin
    Commented May 25 at 20:19

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