Tumblr Legal Guidelines

These guidelines are for law enforcement officials seeking user records from Tumblr, Inc. (“Tumblr”), and for Tumblr users who want to know more about our policies for dealing with law enforcement and other government requests for information. More general information about Tumblr’s terms and policies is provided in our Terms of Service, Community Guidelines, and Privacy Policy.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a media network that allows users to create, post, share, and follow the digital media that they love. More information about the Tumblr platform is available here.

What are Tumblr’s Principles Regarding Law Enforcement Requests?

  • Freedom of expression: freedom of expression is of utmost importance, and law enforcement requests should be respectful of that freedom

  • Compliance with law: law enforcement requests must comply with all laws, particularly those protecting user information, and must clearly establish the legal need for disclosure

  • Specificity: law enforcement requests must be related to specific investigations and specific accounts implicated in those investigations

  • Notice: whenever legally permitted, users should receive notice that their information is being requested

  • Security: we believe that no government should install backdoors into web security protocols, or otherwise compromise the infrastructure of the internet. We'll fight the laws that allow them to do so, and we'll work to secure our users' data against such intrusions

Information Stored by Tumblr

Tumblr is an open platform and most Tumblr information is posted publicly, so you can usually view Tumblr blog posts, likes, and reblogs by simply visiting the appropriate Tumblr blog or tag page. You do not need a Tumblr account in order to view content posted publicly. Before submitting a legal request, please ensure that the information you seek is not publicly available.

Tumblr collects and stores non-public user information in accordance with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. The information we have may not be the information of a real person, for example, if the user has created a fake or anonymous profile. Tumblr does not require identity authentication.

Disclosure of Non-Public Information requires a Valid Subpoena, Search Warrant, or Other U.S. Governmental Order

Tumblr is located in New York, New York, and may disclose non-public account information only in accordance with our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and applicable U.S. law, including the federal Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2712.

In accordance with U.S. law, Tumblr may respond to requests for disclosure of non-public information from foreign law enforcement agencies when issued by way of a U.S. court (such as through a letter rogatory or mutual legal assistance treaty).

Contact Information

Official law enforcement authorities may submit requests and legal process using the designated form. NOTE: If you are not an official law enforcement authority, do not use that address, as it is designated for official law enforcement requests only. We will not respond to non-law enforcement requests sent using that form. Instead, you may send your request via our abuse forms.

If you need to serve us personally, you can do so at:

Tumblr, Inc.
c/o C T Corporation System
28 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10005

Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.

Requirements for Requests for Non-Public Information

Tumblr may disclose data that is identified with sufficient particularity through valid legal process, and that we are reasonably able to locate and retrieve.

All requests must accurately identify the specific Tumblr user account by an email address associated with the account, or an account name or URL. Tumblr will not respond to general, vague, overbroad, or imprecise requests.

Requests must also clearly identify the specific information requested, and the relationship of that information to the applicable investigation.

An order of sufficient legal scope is required for disclosure. For example, a valid subpoena issued in connection with an official criminal investigation is required to compel disclosure of basic subscriber records, as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(c)(2). Such records include length of service, registered email address(es), and IP login(s), if available. Tumblr does not collect name or address information from its users, and therefore cannot provide this information to law enforcement.

A search warrant issued under the procedures described in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or equivalent state warrant procedures, based on a showing of probable cause, is required to compel disclosure of the stored contents of any account, such as non-public blog posts or messages.

Requests must come from appropriate government or law enforcement officials; Tumblr will not respond to requests from other sources.

Finally, please provide a valid law enforcement email address with your request, so that we can communicate with you upon receipt. Tumblr will not respond to any law enforcement requests sent from a non-law enforcement email address.

Requirements for Civil Cases

In a civil matter, it is our policy to turn over private user information only upon receipt of either (1) a valid order from a court in the US; or (2) a subpoena served from a court in the US as part of an existing lawsuit, which complies with Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and/or the California Discovery Act. Litigants should ensure that any such requests comply with the US SPEECH Act, 28 U.S.C. 4101 et seq. We will not provide any non-public user content information in response to civil orders or subpoenas under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq. and § 2701 et seq.).

Requests must identify the specific information sought. Any request for specific post or comment information must include the specific URL of each post or comment.

Please note that we charge an administrative fee of USD $125/hour for compliance with validly issued and served civil subpoenas and court orders. We will bill for and collect this fee prior to furnishing information in response.

User Notice

Tumblr respects its users’ rights and privacy. Tumblr’s policy is to notify its users about requests for their information, and to provide them with copies of the legal process underlying those requests. This sort of notice is necessary so that affected users have the chance, if they wish, to challenge those requests. In some cases, Tumblr may be prohibited by law from providing notice, such as when we receive a non-disclosure order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b). In these situations, Tumblr’s policy is to notify the affected users after the non-disclosure period has elapsed.

In exceptional circumstances, such as cases involving the sexual exploitation of a child, Tumblr may elect not to provide user notice before complying with the request. If an investigation involves such an exceptional circumstance, law enforcement should provide a description of the situation for us to evaluate. In these exceptional circumstances, Tumblr’s policy is to notify the affected users 90 days after the time we respond to the request.

Preservation Requests

Tumblr will preserve account records, to the extent they are available, for 90 days upon receipt of a valid preservation request issued in accordance with applicable law. Preservation requests must comply with the general requirements for requests, above.

Emergency Requests

If law enforcement officials believe there is an emergency involving death or serious physical injury to any person, and Tumblr may have information necessary to prevent the harm, they can submit an emergency disclosure request using the designated form. Such requests should include all of the following:

  • Identity the individual in danger of death or serious physical injury;

  • Nature of the emergency;

  • Tumblr username/URL of the individual (e.g., http://staff.tumblr.com) of the account(s) containing information necessary to prevent the emergency;

  • Links to any specific posts containing relevant information;

  • The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency; and

  • Any other relevant details or context regarding the particular circumstances.

Tumblr users aware of an emergency situation should contact local law enforcement officials for assistance.

Matters Involving Child Safety

Tumblr reports any apparent instances of child exploitation it discovers to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), including information brought to our attention by government requests. If a law enforcement request relates to a child exploitation or safety matter, those circumstances should be specified in the request (and include any NCMEC report information, if applicable), to ensure that appropriate action is taken as quickly as possible.

Cost Reimbursement

Tumblr may seek reasonable reimbursement costs for responding to law enforcement requests for information.