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As a person who "buys time" on upwork quite frequently, I regularly get sent links to 3rd party sites housing example work and portfolios. And almost all of my developers will send me private repos on github. My writers will submit work on Google Docs so we can collaborate. Rarely do I get any worker who doesn't "violate" the TOS, because the TOS is a POS that hinders mine and the freelancer's business.

The great thing about a TOS which everyone violates, is that it can be arbitrarily enforced, for any unspoken actual reason.

Learning the best tricks from government law making.

It would be nice if there was an "easy" way of proving this, and regulations making void TOS the company does not enforce in a majority of cases.

Sort of, if you have the $$$ and the damages are worth chasing in reality you would take them to court. Demonstrating that everyone else is routinely breaking the TOS, and that the company knew about it, would be a very strong piece of evidence in your case

It really wouldn't, at least with the laws as they exist now. Upwork just says "private company, at-will service, voluntary association", and they win.

Trouble is, almost nobody cares to spare that much money, least of all the typical gig economy servant.

This story, and the "POS TOS" that everyone violates, reminds me of Wyzant, which is a tutoring service that connects tutors to pupils.

All payment and communication between tutors and pupils must be handled through their online system, which takes a 40% cut for the first 25 hours of tutoring, and eventually reduces to a 25% cut- after 400 hours of logged lessons.

They're similarly inscrutable when tutors are arbitrarily banned.

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