We can see from the feedback we’ve gotten that we need to clarify exactly what is changing with the new Terms. There is confusion around the last item, 1-to-1 chat history.

First, let us clarify that there is no way for an admin to access 1-to-1 chat history through Hipchat itself.

In the past, our terms prevented us from releasing any 1-to-1 chat transcripts to our customers, regardless of the reason, without a subpoena. This caused a great deal of trouble for companies who use Hipchat for business communication and would ordinarily have the rights to view that communication, just as they would with a service like Gmail. Many companies need access to all the conversations that occur through their systems for regulatory or legal reasons.

The new terms allow customers to request chat history from us, and allow us to provide it, if the customer has the right to view the communications of their employees. Those rights are very often granted through a company’s employee handbook or policies. So, for chats occurring after the terms become effective (May 27th at the earliest), if an account owner contacts us and requests their 1-to-1 chat history these new terms allow us to provide it to them.

We hope this helps clarify, and if you have more questions, please let us know at customer-agreement@hipchat.com.

It’s been two years since Hipchat joined the Atlassian family, and we’re bigger and better because of it. Of course, when a product grows this quickly there are always lots of big changes going on. We need to rewrite certain bits of code to make them faster, change the way our servers run to make them more reliable, improve the way our team is organized so we can keep it productive, and implement new ways to support our users.

Today we’re announcing a change that many of you have asked us for; bringing Hipchat under the same terms as other Atlassian products (currently the Atlassian Customer Agreement and the Atlassian Privacy Policy – together referred to as the “Atlassian terms”). No, seriously, we get asked about this a lot. Unfortunately we didn’t think through the original Hipchat terms as much as we should have, and they have caused considerable pain for many users over the years. (Note to other startups: get someone to look over your terms because they’re tough to change!) Anyway, we know this stuff can be boring, but it’s important, so we hope you’ll take the time to read it.

Here’s an overview of the major differences between the Hipchat terms and privacy policy and the Atlassian terms that will replace them:

  • The Atlassian terms are better for your company. The Atlassian terms have the structure and provisions that many businesses expect, which larger companies may appreciate. These include more specific termination provisions (rather than the right to terminate in our sole discretion), as well more favorable liability limitations for paying customers. Atlassian’s liability for paid accounts is now capped at amounts we’ve received from you in the last 12 months, rather than $100. In addition, the Atlassian terms include liability caps and disclaimers for customers, rather than being only in Atlassian’s favor. To accommodate our increased liability to paying customers, our liability for free products is being reduced to $20.
  • The Atlassian terms require binding arbitration for disputes. As Hipchat grows, we need to have a cost-effective alternative to going to court. Our terms now mandate that we resolve disputes via arbitration. We expect binding arbitration to help contain legal costs and offer a faster path to resolution for both parties.
  • The Atlassian terms include a more comprehensive privacy policy. The Atlassian Privacy Policy covers the information we collect and how we use that information in much more detail. For example, it includes an explicit discussion of how we collect analytics information to improve our products and services. This analytics information could include elements of user content related to the function being performed.
  • The Atlassian terms allow companies to access 1-to-1 chat history (for future chats, not retroactively). The Atlassian Privacy Policy also removes a Hipchat restriction that has caused a lot of confusion for business customers. Under Hipchat’s support documentation (which is referenced in the Hipchat privacy policy), Hipchat administrators cannot view other users’ 1-to-1 chat history or the files that were shared. In many cases, this is inconsistent with an employer’s policy about employee communications occurring in the workplace, which employers typically have the right to access. Under the Atlassian Privacy Policy, Hipchat administrators will have the right to access all information in the Hipchat account they manage, including 1-to-1 chat history and files shared in those 1-to-1 chats. The HipChat-Specific Terms require customers (e.g. the account holder) to secure all required consents from users to allow for this level of access. Note that this change does not apply retroactively; 1-to-1 chats occurring before the Atlassian terms become effective are still covered by the prior Hipchat policies.

The Atlassian terms will be effective starting May 27, 2014 for free accounts and new purchases. For existing subscriptions, the new agreement will take effect on your first renewal after this date. If your subscription is set to auto-renew, and you are not willing to accept the terms of the new agreement, please make sure to cancel prior to your next renewal.

Adopting the Atlassian terms will bring Hipchat in line with the other Atlassian products you might be using and will help us stay focused on building a great product for you. If you have any questions you can direct them to customer-agreement@hipchat.com.

Hipchat’s terms of service are changing...