Important Note: New Legal Page and Changes to our Contracts Coming Soon

Posted by Chris Dahl on 08 Nov 2012

Posted by Chris Dahl on 08 Nov 2012

We spend a lot of our time improving our products to make them easier to use and more friendly. Now we’re applying that same thinking to our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and legal relationship with our users. On December 4th, we will launch a new Legal Page at that will collect the important legal documents relating to the Evernote Service and our products. We are also making some important revisions to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, making them easier to understand and reflecting our expansion from our California roots. You can review the new terms by following these links:

This post highlights the important changes to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, but we first want to emphasize something that hasn’t changed: Evernote’s Three Laws of Data Protection.

  • Your data is Yours
  • Your data is Protected
  • Your data is Portable

These laws continue to be our core guiding principles for protecting our users’ data. In fact, we have made a number of changes that are designed to clarify these Laws and to provide additional information for our users to enable them to understand how to protect their data and how we collect and handle your data and personal information. These are the significant changes we want to highlight for you:

Easier to Read

The first thing individuals will notice when reviewing our new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy is that they are more conversational with less legal jargon. We hope that the updated description of how we operate the Evernote Service and the respective commitments between Evernote and our users are much easier to read and understand.

A Global Company

As part of our effort to better support the needs of our users around the world, we have established a company based in Zurich, Switzerland called Evernote GmbH. This wholly-owned subsidiary will be managing our business and the Evernote Service for our users who reside outside of the United States and Canada, and will be contracting with those users under Swiss law. The Evernote Service and all of its servers will continue to be operated by the California-based Evernote Corporation. For our users in the European Economic Area, this means that Evernote GmbH is the data controller for data protection purposes.

Preparing for Evernote Business

As we announced at the Evernote Trunk Conference in August, we will soon be launching Evernote Business. We have updated our Terms of Service to reflect how existing Evernote Service accounts will co-exist with Evernote Business. Existing Evernote users who are invited to join an Evernote Business account will find that their existing account gains a number of enhancements, most notably the ability to access and share notebooks with others in that business. Evernote Business accounts will be managed by an Administrator who has rights to allow or restrict an individual user’s access to the business’ notebooks, but the Administrator is not provided any information about any user’s personal Evernote account. (We will not even tell an Administrator if an individual user’s account exists.) Nor can the content in an Evernote personal account be accessed, viewed or otherwise affected by an Administrator.

Evernote in Schools

We’re thrilled with the number of educators and administrators around the world who have shown interest in using Evernote in their schools, so we have modified our contracts with respect to use by underage individuals who might not be old enough to enter into a contract on their own, including specific guidance for schools in the US where we want to ensure that the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are satisfied.

Planning for the Future

We have established a policy not to disclose our users’ content to others, even next of kin, after a user’s death or incapacity. We have included this within our Terms of Service and encourage our users to decide whether their content should be available to others, and plan for this eventuality. We have also provided more guidance on the process by which user accounts are closed and how users can delete content from their accounts.

Resolution of Disputes

We have revamped our dispute resolution process by introducing arbitration provisions that will enable users throughout the world to resolve disputes they may have with Evernote more expeditiously and less expensively.

Using arbitration to resolve claims means that users will not be required to travel to California (or Switzerland, for Evernote GmbH users) to file a lawsuit and appear in court and, if the amount of the claim is less than US$10,000, the arbitration may even be done over the phone or internet, depending upon the circumstances. In an effort to resolve all disputes promptly, we are also including a provision that requires both parties to use good faith to initiate the arbitration proceeding within 30 days, with a mutually acceptable arbitrator managing the process.

Our changes will provide users outside the US an option to have their dispute resolved through arbitration, but under a special US law, we are requiring users in the US to use binding arbitration as the exclusive means for resolving disputes and to agree that such claims will be resolved only between them and Evernote (prohibiting participation in class actions or similar representative actions).

We feel strongly that requiring arbitration of disputes on an individual basis will enhance our ability to work with our users to resolve disputes, while ensuring that an individual user maintains control of the issue raised and resolution desired – and that this will happen much more quickly than the long months or years that class action matters typically require. Because we are requiring arbitration for US users (and others subject to the US Federal Arbitration Act), we will pay the arbitration-related fees for all claims up to US$10,000 and even in cases involving more than that amount if those fees would be prohibitive compared to litigation costs, unless, in either case, the claim asserted is determined by the arbitrator to be frivolous. We appreciate that this is a significant change, so we will permit existing Evernote users who do not agree with this change to “opt-out” of the arbitration agreement by notifying us via the methods described in our Terms within 30 days of December 4, 2012 (the effective date of our new Terms).

Please Read Everything

We strongly encourage everyone to read our new contract terms carefully, in their entirety. The content placed into Evernote is important, and all of our users should feel completely comfortable entrusting it to the Service. This post does not describe all of the changes to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and is not, after all, our contract with our users. The provisions in our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and the other documents are the binding contract terms. We hope our users agree that these terms are an improvement and, as always, we welcome input and feedback. Thank you for your support.


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6 Comments RSS

  • Rheinard Korf

    Thanks for the update, looking forward to seeing Evernote offices in Australia one day 😛

  • DeeEmm

    Still no list view for notebooks on ipad, a much needed feature, fortunately one still available on the iPhone.

    Whilst the new layout and animations might look pretty, they detract from the functional aspect of the app and make it less productive. For example, on the iPhone version the new list layout wastes so much screen estate with icons, glyphs and fancy styling that the title is reduced to only 13 characters, which means that it is almost impossible to figure out what the notebooks are without rotating to landscape.

    I find it a little disappointing that efficiency and functionality is being traded off against a fancy looking theme, especially considering that this app is predominantly a GTD app. Glitz and bling is okay for 5 minutes but after that its simply a distraction.

    I like the two click access, a concept that is well known with interface designers and some of the other features are good, but I think that the overall visual concept is a little lacking in execution.


  • Kevin

    Disappointed to see Evernote joining the lengthening list of companies adding anti-consumer arbitration clauses into their TOS. I’ll be opting-out on principle, and despite my growing appreciation of Evernote in my daily life, I won’t be upgrading to Premium.

    • Brian Hall

      Right on. You can’t expect an unbiased ruling when one party is paying the salary of the judge (or arbiter). Personally I have had no problem with Evernote service, but I too will be opting out on principle. For more on the perverse incentives in the arbitration industry, see the movie “Hot Coffee”.

  • Greg

    “, you must send a written notice to us at Evernote Corporation’s address provided above that contains the following”

    This is shameful. There is no excuse, other than deliberately making it difficult for people to opt-out, for requiring people to mail you a printed letter.

    If arbitration is really such a great thing for customers, let us CHOOSE it. We have the court system in the US for a reason, and I’m sick of companies trying to force us to give up our rights to use it in exchange for using an ‘independent’ arbitrator that the company selects and pays. Yeah, that’s really independent. (In fact, ‘independent’ arbitrators find for the company over 75% of the time. That seems fair.)

  • Brad C.

    I second Kevin, Brian, and Greg’s comments (or maybe +1?). I live in the boondocks, and getting to the post office to buy stamps is quite a haul. The service is online–the opt-out should be, as well!