If I am an end user utilizing the models via an API, am I subject to OpenAI terms of use or business terms?

If I am an end user utilizing the models via an API, am I subject to OpenAI terms of use or business terms?
Thank you

Hi and welcome to the community!

If you are an end-user the business policies do not apply to you.
But I suppose you are referring to a case where you input your API key into an app made by somebody else?
Since only developers (should) have API keys this would imply your usage is covered by the business terms.
Consider the case that the app you are putting your API key into makes requests to the OpenAI models that violate the guidelines. In turn your account will be banned.

But I think this initial passage of the business terms makes it clear:

These OpenAI Business Terms govern use of our APIs, ChatGPT Enterprise, and other services for businesses and developers. Use of our services for individuals, such as ChatGPT or DALL·E, are governed by the Terms of use.

Source: Business terms

It definitely helps to understand what an end-user is from the perspective of OpenAI.

But this does not mean that other policies do not apply as well. For example the usage policies:

Since I am not a lawyer you need to do your own due diligence and I suggest to read the beginning of the terms for each of them to learn which ones apply to you.

Edit: typos


Hello vb! Thank you for the quick reply.
I am definitely not a developer! I just have an OpenAI account and a set of API keys. I am hesitant to use my API keys on chatgptforwork (or just pay more and not bring my own keys). I was wondering what terms apply to me as an end-user. I am not using the models directly but through an API. Does this make sense?
When I read the Business terms, I understand these are for businesses and developers. When I read the Terms of Use, I understand they are for individuals. And definitely the latter!


If you make use of your API key, you will be treated as a business developer.
If you only make use of the ChatGPT website chat.openai.com then you will be treated as an End User.

Hope that helps!

In the business terms your case is actually explained in more detail:

1.2 Third-Party Offering. Third parties may offer products, services, or content through the Services (“Third Party Offering”). If you elect, in your sole discretion, to access or use a Third Party Offering (including by making it available via a Customer Application), your access and use of the Third Party Offering is subject to this Agreement and any additional terms applicable to the Third Party Offering.

In short: if you use a API key from OpenAI you are a business customer to OpenAI.

Additionally, we generally advise strongly to not put your API key into any app that you have not build yourself. Since we, and I am referring to all of us who have API keys, are responsible for our own accounts, we don’t want to make our keys accessible to any third party.

By the way: is chatgptforwork a website? You can probably not post links, yet, since your are a new user but maybe you will understand that if this is a service not offered by OpenAI they are likely already infringing on brand rights that belong Open AI.

For the record, I am not a OpenAI employee.

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Now I am concerned!

I just need to clean/process a lot of data that I have in Sheets and was thinking of using one of these apps. For example, sheetai (hopefully this one is not infringing anything…?)

The paid plans require you to “use your own OpenAI API key”.

I prefer to be subject to the Business Terms, because the use of the Content is more restricted and the retention policy is better. But since I am not a company and not a developer, I am not sure!

Thank you so much <3

Is there a way to ask OpenAI directly btw?

I would not use a service that charges you AND asks for your API key, I would also not use a service that asks for your API key full stop.

Perhaps you can describe your use case and one of the helpful developers here can create a small app to do it that you can run locally with your API key and then it’s all within your control.

In regards to getting a reply from a staff member directly, it is not something we can guarantee. The forum leadership team meet with staff to ensure we are providing the best possible service and information, the information you have received today is accurate by the documentation OpenAI provide. If you wish to confirm that, you can make use of help.openai.com and select the support bot in the bottom right corner and leave your request and contact details. Note this service is typically under heavy load so please be patient.

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I believe the solution can be very simple.
Since you do have a OpenAI account (and apparently no access to GPT Plus?) you can still create a assistant and upload the files you want to work with into the conversation.
When Code Interpreter is enabled you can read and update the files as needed. Ultimately, you will get a download link that you can access from the Files section.

In case of Sheets I suggest you download your file as csv and then upload it to the assistant.

A few tips: select a cheap model like GPT 3.5 turbo where possible and keep an eye on the usage tab to monitor your cost. Also, don’t upload files outside of a conversation as this will quickly become costly when the model reads them every single message regardless if you need it or not.

I hope this is more helpful!

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