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Important Announcement: Introduction of Terms of Service

Discussion in 'Empty Closets Help and Feedback' started by EmptyClosets, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. EmptyClosets

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    As most of you know, EmptyClosets.com has been owned and operated by the nonprofit organization Empty Closets Community Services, a California nonprofit, since September, 2011.

    We recently took one of the last steps to formalize the organization as a public charity by submitting our charitable tax exemption application to the IRS at the end of 2013.

    As part of formalizing our structure, and on the advice of the attorneys and other professionals that have been helping us, we will be adopting and publishing a series of policies that govern how EC operates, what the terms of participation in the community are, and various other policy documents. Most of these will reflect little or no change to how we've already been operating.

    Today, we are publishing a formal Terms of Service, which governs everyone (members and staff) who is a registered member of EmptyClosets.com. Nothing in this document really represents a fundamental change in how we operate, but one thing that we are clarifying is how we can use content posted publicly at EC.

    Since the posts that make up the EmptyClosets community are, realistically, the only real asset that EmptyClosets has at present, and the post archive is one of the most valuable aspects of what EC offers in terms of information to others, as well as the way that most users find EC (through indexed Google searches of existing posts), it's imperative to the organization's growth and stability that we ensure we have rights to use the content that's posted to our site.

    Of course, as anyone who has regularly posted knows, in part due to our security policy, we have never allowed posters to delete posts they have made. Posters can request the deletion of threads, but these requests are weighed based on the number of responses a thread has received, and the nature and reasoning behind the request for removal. So this policy isn't really new; we're just clarifying it and directly stating it for the first time.

    EC's new terms of service clarifies that ownership of copyright to any original content anyone posts to EC continues to belong to the person who wrote it. It also establishes that, by posting at EC and participating in the EC community, each member of the community is granting a license to EC to continue to use and display the content that s/he has posted. This primarily serves as a protection to the organization against claims of copyright infringement, but it also clarifies that we can, for example, make use of posts or content if we produce a special section on a given topic, or quote part of a post in a promotional video or brochure, and that sort of thing. In any case we do so, we'll always be respectful of privacy and the sensitivity of any content we use, and we'll do our best to ensure that we respect each of our members' privacy.

    In practice, any time anyone posts to EC or almost anywhere else on the web, they immediately lose control of the content because Google and all other major search engines, as well as the Internet Archive, scrape the content on EmptyClosets on a regular basis and store it permanently; this is true of virtually every site out there. We're simply being up front about our use of the content to ensure transparency with the EC community.

    Our goals in establishing this policy are, first and foremost, to ensure the continued stability and viability of the community and the organization, to protect the organization, and to ensure that we can continue to offer advice, help and support to those who need it in an environment of courtesy and respect.

    The details of the Terms of Service can be read here. We encourage everyone to read through it and understand it, since continued use of the site will constitute acceptance of the Terms of Service agreement.

    If you have questions about the policy, please email adminteam@emptyclosets.com.

    We look forward to continued growth and expansion of what EmptyClosets offers in the coming year, and remind everyone that EC is what it is simply because of the participation, insight, advice, and volunteer efforts of all of our members and our all-volunteer staff. This community couldn't exist without those who contribute to it.

    Sincerely,

    The Board of Directors
    and the Admin Team
    EmptyClosets.com
    Empty Closets Community Services, a California Nonprofit Organization
     
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