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Steve Jackson Games Forums Rules

Forum Rules

Registration in our forums is free, but we require users to abide by the rules and policies detailed below. If you agree to the terms, please check the 'I agree' checkbox and press the 'Register' button below. If you would like to cancel the registration, click here to return to the forums index.

USER AGREEMENT

updated July 22, 2004

(Our thanks to Lance Rose, author of NetLaw, for creating the model contract on which this was based. Any errors we have introduced are our responsibility alone.)

A. Introduction

This is a subscription contract. It spells out what you can expect from us, and what we expect from you. We do not know all our users personally, so it is important to set out the ground rules clearly in advance. If you agree to what you read below, welcome to our forums!

When you are finished reading, you will be asked to check the 'I agree' checkbox and press the 'Register' button below. Only then will you be able to complete the registration process. We intend this to be the legal equivalent of your signature on a written contract, and equally binding.

If you have any questions about any part of the agreement, please send us e-mail at webmaster@sjgames.com.

B. Access and Services.

  1. Access to these forums is free. We may change or discontinue certain services on our system, or change the fee structure, from time to time. We will try to let you know about such changes a month or more in advance.

C. Courtesy, Legality, and Free Speech

The only thing we ask from our users is that they follow the rules we set for use of the system. You will find our rules in two places: here in the user agreement, and in the bulletins posted at various points in the system. If we make a major change in the system rules, we will notify all users by e-mail, and you agree to be bound by such notices.

Respect other users of the system. Feel free to express yourself, but do not do anything to injure or harm others. In particular, if you dislike someone else's ideas, you may attack the ideas, but not the person. We want people to speak freely on our system. But if you misuse that freedom and abuse others, then as hosts we have the right to cut that discussion short.

Do not use our system to commit a crime, or to help commit a crime. This system may not be used to aid dealing in illegal drugs, illegal gambling, prostitution, child pornography, robbery, spreading computer viruses, cracking into private computer systems, software infringement, trafficking in telephone or credit card codes, or any other crimes.

Note that it is not illegal to DISCUSS these subjects, or even to debate whether certain things should be legal or not. The First Amendment guarantees your freedom of speech, and we strongly support it. But anyone PLANNING an actual crime, or ENCOURAGING the commission of a crime, may be convicted of conspiracy, which is itself illegal, and may expose his fellow users - and us - to similar charges.

People sometimes have trouble figuring out whether certain activities are illegal online. It's usually not that hard. If it's illegal out there, it's illegal in here! Using an online system to commit a crime does not make it less of a crime. In fact, if you use an online communications system to commit a crime, you're exposing the operators of the system, and its other users, to legal risks that should be yours alone.

If you genuinely do not know whether something you'd like to do is legal or illegal, please discuss it with us before you proceed. And if we tell you we do not want you to pursue your plans on our system, please respect our decision.

D. Security

Respect the security of our system. Do not try to gain access to system areas or functions private to ourselves, or to other users. If you violate the privacy of other users, we may cancel your account without notice or refund, and we may also take legal action.

Don't abuse your account privileges. You agree not to tell others your password or let your account be used by anyone except yourself. You agree not to attempt to log in more than once at the same time on any given account.

E. Privacy

Through this forum, you may also send mail to the administrators and to other users. This mail passes through our system.

We will endeavor to keep all of your e-mail private, viewable only by you and the person(s) to whom you address it, except: We, as system operators, may need to look at your electronic mail if we believe it is necessary to protect ourselves or other users from injury or damage.

For example, if we have reason to believe a user is involved in illegal activities, which creates a risk that our system could be seized by the authorities, we may review that user's e-mail for our own protection. The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) explicitly gives us the right to do this. We will never, however, monitor electronic mail unless we believe it is actually being misused. If we believe certain electronic mail is connected with illegal activities, we may disclose it to the authorities to protect our system, ourselves, and other users.

Remember that the person to whom you send electronic mail has no duty to keep it secret. The sender or receiver of electronic mail has the right to make it public. If the authorities ever search or seize our system, they may gain access to your private electronic mail. In that case, we cannot assure you that they will not read it or disclose it to others, even in violation of federal law.

Remember that although the law guarantees you certain personal rights of privacy that even the government cannot legally violate, you may have to go to court to enforce those rights. In fact, the precursor to these forums (at that time, a one-line BBS . . . the Web did not yet exist!) WAS seized by the Secret Service in 1990, and the private mail of our users WAS read and deleted. We took the Feds to court, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and won. We were awarded damages for their violation of the privacy rights guaranteed to e-mail users under the ECPA. We cannot guarantee that they learned anything from the experience, even though it cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and a great deal of public embarrassment.

F. Editorial Control

We want our system to be a worthwhile place for all of our users. This does not mean everyone can do whatever they choose on this system, regardless of its effect on others. It is our job to accommodate the common needs of all users while striving to meet our own goals for the system.

All messages express the views of the author, and Steve Jackson Games is not responsible for the content of any message. We will not monitor all messages. We want to keep traffic moving quickly and smoothly - this goal would be defeated if we monitored everything on the system. However, if we see (or hear about) messages or other activities that violate the rules, threaten the order or security of the system, or use the system in ways we do not agree with, we will take appropriate action. Our editorial control includes normal housekeeping activities like changing subject headers, closing threads, and removing, editing, moving, or deleting any message thread for any reason.

It also goes beyond that. If a user persists in posting messages that we previously warned him should not be on the system, those messages will be deleted. If we discover any user violating the rules, especially the prohibition against illegal activities, we will act firmly and swiftly. Depending on the circumstances, we may give a warning for the first offense, or we may remove the offender's account immediately.

We always reserve the right to remove a user's account, without notice, for violation of either the system rules or the law. If a user has done anything to put us or other users in jeopardy, we may contact the authorities.

We do not plan to do any of these things. If all users act with respect and regard for us and for other users, there will never be any problems. But if problems arise, we will assert control over our system against any user who threatens it. And in this Agreement, you acknowledge that control.

G. Ownership of Materials

By posting any item to the message areas here, you grant your permission for Steve Jackson Games to archive it permanently, and allow public or private access to it, as we see fit. By maintaining these discussion areas, we acquire a "compilation copyright" on their contents. If you make a suggestion here, you may not later deny SJ Games, or its customers, the right to use that suggestion!

Any posting not carrying an explicit copyright notice is also assumed to be a contribution to Steve Jackson Games, for any use the company sees fit, including later publication in whole or in part under the SJ Games copyright. If you don't want to give us this right, don't post the material!

You should always realize that if you post something on this system, a member of the press may see and quote it, and the press has every right to do so. You may add Please Do Not Quote to your message, but if a reporter disregards your wishes, you have no recourse against us, or against the impolite reporter. When you post something here, you are speaking in a public place.

Likewise, you must respect the ownership rights of others in their own messages. You may not post or transfer any messages unless you own them, or you have full authority to transmit them to this system.

We own certain things you will find in our forums, including the "look and feel" of the system, the name of our system and many of its features, and the collective work copyright in all sequences of public messages on our system. You cannot reproduce any sequence of messages from our system, either electronically or in print, without our permission.

This is not a complete list - other things on the system are also our property. Before you copy anything from these forums with the intent of reproducing it or distributing it, contact us about it. See also the Steve Jackson Games Electronic Rights Policy, which governs (among other things) the use of trademarks and art owned by SJ Games.

H. Limitation of Liability and Indemnity

The great danger for us, and for all operators of online communication systems, is that we might be held accountable for the wrongful actions of our users. If one user libels another user, the injured user might blame us, even though the first user was really at fault. If a user transfers illegal credit card information to another user through private electronic mail, we might be blamed even though we did nothing more than unknowingly carry the message from one user to another.

We did not create this system to take the blame for others' actions, and we cannot afford to operate it if we must take that blame. Accordingly, we need all users to accept responsibility for their own acts, and to accept that an act by another user that damages them must not be blamed on us, but on the other user. These needs are met by the following paragraphs:

You must be 13 or over to open an account in these forums, unless your parent or guardian gives written permission and accepts responsibility for your actions here. You agree to assume responsibility for any use of your account, particularly by minors, and to monitor and control their access to any materials available through the Internet.

You agree that your use of this system is at your sole risk. You agree that we will not be responsible to you for any indirect, consequential, special, or punitive damages or losses you may incur in connection with our system or any of the data or other materials transmitted through or residing on our system, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damage or loss.

In addition, you agree to defend and indemnify us and hold us harmless from and against any and all claims, proceedings, damages, injuries, liabilities, losses, costs, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys' fees) relating to any acts by you or materials or information transmitted by you in connection with our system leading wholly or partially to claims against us or our system by other users or third parties.

I. Choice of Law

These forums can be reached by users from all 50 states of the U.S., and around the world. Each of these places has a different set of laws. Since we cannot keep track of all these laws and their requirements, you agree that the law of our own state, Texas, will apply to all matters relating to this Agreement and to the Steve Jackson Games Forums.

In addition, you agree and consent that if you ever take legal action against us, the courts of our own state, Texas, will have exclusive jurisdiction over any such legal actions. The following legal language makes this agreement binding:

THIS AGREEMENT SHALL FOR ALL PURPOSES BE GOVERNED BY AND INTERPRETED AND ENFORCED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS. THE PARTIES HEREBY AGREE THAT ANY ACTION ARISING OUT OF THIS AGREEMENT MAY BE LITIGATED UNDER THE LAWS OF TEXAS, AND HEREBY AGREE TO SUBMIT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND THAT SERVICE OF PROCESS BY CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, SHALL BE SUFFICIENT TO CONFER IN PERSONAM JURISDICTION OVER THE PARTIES HERETO.

J. General

This agreement is the entire understanding between you and us regarding your relationship to the Steve Jackson Games Forums. If either you or we fail to notify the other of any violations of this agreement, this will not mean that you or we cannot notify the other of future violations of any part of this agreement.


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