Clarifying Medium’s new Terms of Service

The Medium Blog
Published in
2 min readAug 20, 2020


We appreciate the feedback about the language in our updated Terms of Service that focuses on your content rights. We first responded by preparing a short blog post explaining the updates.

We’ve now edited the Terms of Service to more clearly reflect what we said in that post.

Here’s the passage we’ve updated:

Rights and Ownership

You retain your rights to any content you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, by submitting, posting, or displaying content on or through the Services, you grant Medium a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, and sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your content in all media formats and distribution methods now known or later developed on the Services.

Medium needs this license because you own your content and Medium therefore can’t display it across its various surfaces (i.e., mobile, web) without your permission.

This type of license also is needed to distribute your content across our Services. For example, you post a story on Medium. It is reproduced as versions on both our website and app, and distributed to multiple places within Medium, such as the homepage or reading lists. A modification might be that we show a snippet of your work (and not the full post) in a preview, with attribution to you. A derivative work might be a list of top authors or quotes on Medium that uses portions of your content, again with full attribution. This license applies to our Services only, and does not grant us any permissions outside of our Services.

This license doesn’t give Medium permission to sell your content to a third party, and we’ll never do that. You’re not granting us permission to use your content outside of Medium. You’re also not granting us copyright to, or ownership of, your content. So, for example, we’ll never claim the right to develop your content into materials such as books, films, or television shows without your knowledge and express consent.

You’ll notice this license is royalty-free. This means posting to our services doesn’t involve any compensation to you (unless you’re in our Partner Program), just as you wouldn’t get compensated for posting to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

And speaking of our Partner Program, these Terms of Service (just like the previous version of Medium’s Terms of Service) do not alter, modify, or supersede that program. All content you decide to put behind our paywall for monetization still earns you money based on subscribed Medium Member engagement. We’re not de-monetizing that content or changing the Partner Program terms.

To restate:

  • You own all the content you post on Medium, and we make no claims to it, nor will we ever in the future.
  • We do not, and will not, sell your content or information. Ever.

If you have any further questions, the best way to contact us is by emailing