Effective as of: August 1, 2011

1. Introduction

Welcome to the www.thefern.org website (the “Site”).  The Site is operated by Food & Environment Reporting Network Inc. (“FERN”).

These terms of use represent an agreement between you and FERN.  PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF USE CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE SITE.  By using the Site or by clicking a box that states that you accept or agree to these terms, you signify your agreement to these terms of use. If you do not agree to these terms of use, you may not use the Site and you should not register as a member of the Site.

2. Use of Content

The FERN Site is only for your personal use. You may not use the Site for commercial purposes or in any way that is unlawful, or harms us or any other person or entity.

All information, materials, functions and other content (including Submissions, as defined in Section 3 below) (“Content”) contained on the Site are our copyrighted property or the copyrighted property of our licensors or licensees. All trademarks, slogans, service marks, trade names, and trade dress are proprietary to us and/or our licensors or licensees. We may change the Site or delete Content or features at any time, in any way, for any reason.

Except as we specifically agree in writing, no Content from the Site may be used, reproduced, transmitted, distributed or otherwise exploited in any way other than as part of the Site, not even as part of a derivative work, except that where the Site is configured to enable the download of particular Content, you may download one copy of such Content to a single computer for your personal, noncommercial home use only, provided that you (a) keep intact all copyright and other proprietary notices, (b) make no modifications to, and do not rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute, copy (except to create a single copy for your own back-up purposes), or create any derivative works based on the Site or the Content, in whole or in part, and (c) do not use the Content in an unlawful manner or in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services or brands. Any business use, “re-mailing” or high-volume or automated use of the Site is prohibited.

You acknowledge and agree that nothing in these terms of use shall have the effect of transferring the ownership of any copyrights, trademarks, slogans, service marks, trade names, trade dress or other proprietary rights in the Site or Content or any part thereof to you or any third party nor to authorize you to create derivative works based on the Content.

3. Submissions 

In these terms of use, we use the word “Submissions” to mean text, messages, ideas, concepts, suggestions, stories, artwork, photographs, drawings, videos, audiovisual works, musical compositions, sound recordings, characterizations, your and/or other persons’ names, likenesses, voices, usernames, profiles, actions, appearances, performances and/or other biographical information or material, and/or other similar materials that you submit, post, upload, embed, display, communicate or otherwise distribute (collectively, “Distribute”) on or through the Site.

You hereby grant us and our licensees, distributors, agents, representatives and other authorized users, a non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully-paid, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable (in whole or part) worldwide license for an indeterminate period (or for such maximum period permitted by applicable law) under all copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, privacy and publicity rights and other intellectual and industrial property rights you own or control to use, reproduce, transmit, display, exhibit, distribute, index, comment on, modify, create derivative works based upon, perform and otherwise exploit such Submissions, in whole or in part, in all media formats and channels now known or hereafter devised, for purposes of operating the Site, all without further notice to you and without the requirement of any permission from or payment to you or to any other person or entity (the “Submissions License”).

By communicating a Submission, you represent and warrant that the Submission and your communication thereof conform to the Rules of Conduct (set forth below in Section 6) and other requirements of these terms of use and that you own or have the necessary rights, licenses, consents and permissions, without the need for any permission from or payment to any other person or entity, to exploit, and to authorize us to exploit, such Submission in all manners contemplated by these terms of use (including the Submissions License). These terms of use (including the Submissions License) do not limit any past or future grant of rights, consents, agreements, assignments and waivers you may have made or make with respect to Submissions.

You agree that any Submissions you make are not being made in confidence or trust and that no confidential or fiduciary relationship is intended or created between you and us in any way, and that you have no expectation of any review, compensation or consideration of any type.

4. Accounts

Some services on the Site permit or require you to create an account to participate or to secure additional benefits. You agree to provide, maintain and update true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by our registration processes (the “Registration Data”). You shall not impersonate any person or entity or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person or entity, including using another person’s username, password or other account information, or another person’s name, likeness, voice, image or photograph. You also agree to promptly notify FERN at info@thefern.org of any unauthorized use of your username, password, other account information, or any other breach of security that you become aware of involving or relating to the Site or any abuse of the Site or breach of these Terms of Use, including the Rules of Conduct below.

Subject to applicable law, we may suspend or terminate your account and your ability to use the Site or portion thereof for failure to comply with these terms of use or any special terms related to a particular service, for infringing copyright, or for any other reason whatsoever.

5. Public Forums and Communication

“Public Forum” means an area, site or feature offered as part of the Site that offers the opportunity for users to Distribute Submissions for viewing by one or more the Site users, including a chat area, message board or social community environment.

You acknowledge that Public Forums and features offered therein are for public and not private communications, and you have no expectation of privacy with regard to any Submission to a Public Forum. We cannot guarantee the security of any information you disclose through any of these media; you make such disclosures at your own risk.

Subject to applicable law, you are and shall remain solely responsible for the Submissions you Distribute on or through the Site under your username or otherwise by you in any Public Forum and for the consequences of submitting and posting same.

Also, you should be skeptical about information provided by others, and you acknowledge that the use of any Submission posted in any Public Forum is at your own risk. For example, we are not responsible for, and we do not endorse, the opinions, advice or recommendations posted or sent by users in any Public Forum and we specifically disclaim any and all liability in connection therewith.

We owe you no obligation, and therefore may refuse, to post, deliver, remove, modify or otherwise use or take any action with respect to Submissions you Distribute.

We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit Submissions at any time and for any or no reason including, without limitation, if your Submission fails to conform to the Rules of Conduct, in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice. If we elect to screen Submissions, there may be a delay in the posting of such content in a Public Forum to allow for a review process. If we have questions about your Submissions including, without limitation, the copyright, we may contact you for further information including, for example, to verify that you own the copyright or otherwise obtained permission to post the material.

6. RULES OF CONDUCT

The following Rules of Conduct apply to the FERN site. By using the Site, you agree that you will not Distribute any Submission that:

  • (a) is defamatory, abusive, harassing, threatening, or an invasion of a right of privacy of another person; (b) is bigoted, hateful, or racially or otherwise offensive; (c) is violent, vulgar, obscene, pornographic or otherwise sexually explicit; or (d) otherwise harms or can reasonably be expected to harm any person or entity;
  • is illegal or encourages or advocates illegal activity or the discussion of illegal activities with the intent to commit them, including a Submission that is, or represents an attempt to engage in, child pornography, stalking, sexual assault, fraud, trafficking in obscene or stolen material, drug dealing and/or drug abuse, harassment, theft, or conspiracy to commit any criminal activity;
  • infringes or violates any right of a third party including: (a) copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other proprietary or contractual rights; (b) right of privacy (specifically, you must not distribute another person’s personal information of any kind without their express permission) or publicity; or (c) any confidentiality obligation;
  • is commercial, business-related or advertises or offers to sell any products, services or otherwise (whether or not for profit), or solicits others (including solicitations for contributions or donations);
  • contains a virus or other harmful component, or otherwise tampers with, impairs or damages the Site or any connected network, or otherwise interferes with any person or entity’s use or enjoyment of the Site.

We cannot and do not assure that other users are or will be complying with the foregoing Rules of Conduct or any other provisions of these terms of use, and, as between you and us, you hereby assume all risk of harm or injury resulting from any such lack of compliance.

7. Cooperation; Removal of Submissions

Without prejudice to any of our other rights under these terms of use or at law, we reserve the right to (a) refuse to post or communicate or remove any Submission from the Site that violates these terms of use (including the Rules of Conduct) and (b) to the extent we are able to do so under applicable law, identify any user to third parties, and/or disclose to third parties any Submission or personally identifiable information, when we believe in good faith that such identification or disclosure will either (i) facilitate compliance with laws, including, for example, compliance with a court order or subpoena, or (ii) help to enforce these terms of use (including the Rules of Conduct) and/or protect the safety or security of any person or property, including the Site. Moreover, we retain all rights to remove Submissions at any time for any reason or no reason whatsoever.

8. Suspension and Cancellation of Membership

FERN has the right to cancel your membership and close your account if you violate these terms of use or the regulations on FERN’s Site.  When your membership is canceled, FERN may delete all Submissions made by you.

9. DISCLAIMERS

SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, THE CONTENT ON OR OTHERWISE RELATED IN ANY WAY TO THE FERN SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITES OR SERVICES LINKED TO FROM THE SITE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND WITHOUT CONDITIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO APPLICABLE LAW, WE DISCLAIM ALL CONDITIONS AND WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, THOSE OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, AVAILABILITY, SECURITY, COMPATABILITY AND NONINFRINGEMENT. WE DO NOT WARRANT THAT ANY CONTENT WILL BE ERROR-FREE, THAT ACCESS THERETO WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE SUCH CONTENT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS. APPLICABLE LAW MAY NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

YOU HEREBY IRREVOCABLY WAIVE ANY CLAIM AGAINST US WITH RESPECT ANY CONTENT ON THE SITE AND ANY CONTENT YOU PROVIDE TO THIRD PARTY SITES, TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. PLEASE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOUR STATUTORY RIGHTS AS A CONSUMER, IN PARTICULAR THE LEGAL WARRANTY FOR LATENT DEFECTS FOR USERS WHO ACCESS THE SITE IN CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS.

The Site may contain the opinions and views of other users. Given the interactive nature of the Site, we cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy, or veracity of any content generated by our users.

10. INDEMNIFICATION

You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your username(s), password(s), and your account(s), as well as all activities that occur under your account(s). You hereby agree to indemnify, defend, and hold us and our officers, directors, employees, licensors, licensees, distributors, agents, representatives and other authorized users (collectively, the “Indemnified Parties”) harmless from and against any and all losses, damages, liabilities and costs (including settlement costs and any legal or other fees and expenses for investigating or defending any actions or threatened actions) incurred by the Indemnified Parties in connection with any claim arising out of any breach by you of these terms of use or claims arising from your use of the Site and/or your account(s). You shall use your best efforts to cooperate with us in the defense of any claim. We reserve the right, at our own expense, to employ separate counsel and assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you.

11. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW, WE DO NOT LIMIT IN ANY WAY OUR LIABILITY FOR DEATH OR PERSONAL INJURY CAUSED BY OUR NEGLIGENCE OR FOR OUR FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION OR CONCEALMENT OR FOR ANY OTHER LIABILITY WHICH CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED BY APPLICABLE LAWS.

SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE, SHALL WE OR OUR OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, LICENSORS, LICENSEES, DISTRIBUTORS, AGENTS OR REPRESENTATIVES BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, PERSONAL INJURY (INCLUDING DEATH) AND PROPERTY DAMAGE OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, THAT RESULT FROM (A) THE USE OF, OR THE INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE OR CONTENT, OR (B) THE CONDUCT OR ACTIONS, WHETHER ONLINE OR OFFLINE, OF ANY USER OF THE SITE OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY, EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL OUR TOTAL LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE) OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED $100 FOR ACCESSING OR PARTICIPATING IN ANY ACTIVITY RELATED TO THE SITE OR THE CONTENT THEREON.

12. Governing Law and Venue

These terms of use shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York and the laws of the United States, without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of law.  You agree that any action at law or in equity arising out of or relating to these terms of use or the FERN Site shall be filed, and that venue properly lies, only in state or federal courts located in New York County, State of New York, United States of America, and you hereby consent and submit to the personal jurisdiction of such courts for the purposes of litigating any such action.

13. Changes

At any time, we may amend these terms of use (including by modification, deletion and/or addition of any portion thereof).  If we make a material amendment to these terms of use, we will notify you of such amendment by sending you an e-mail at the last e-mail address that you provided us, and/or by posting notice of such amendment on the Site. Any such amendment to these terms of use will be effective immediately upon our dispatch of an e-mail notice to you or our posting of notice of the changes on the Site. Please note that, at all times, you are responsible for updating your personal information to provide us your current e-mail address. In the event that the last e-mail address that you have provided us is not valid, or for any other reason is not capable of delivering to you the notice described above, our dispatch of the e-mail containing such notice will nonetheless constitute effective notice of any amendment described in the notice.

14. Security

You must observe all security features on the Site and may not disable or bypass any security devices. You must hold your password(s) in confidence and not permit anyone to use your account.  Because access permissions to an extranet may vary among individual users, passwords must not be shared.  You may not use the Site to gain unauthorized access to computers or other computer networks; for malicious or destructive purposes (such as the development or transmission or computer viruses); or to publish, access or transmit obscene or pornographic material. You are responsible for all usage or activity on your account, whether or not authorized by you.

15. Certain Reserved Rights

We reserve the right in our sole discretion: to monitor, review and use all communications and other use of the Site, together with information relating to such communications and use, such as identification of sources and recipients of information, usage frequency and content of transmissions, to change, suspend or discontinue any aspect of the Site at any time, including the availability of any feature or content, and to impose limits on certain features and services or restrict access to parts or all of the Site without notice or liability.

16. Third Party Content

Third party content may appear on the Site or may be accessible via links from the Site. We are not responsible for and assume no liability for any third party content. You understand that the information and opinions in the third party content represent solely the thoughts of the author and is neither endorsed by nor does it necessarily reflect our belief.

17. Unlawful Activity

We reserve the right to investigate complaints or reported violations of this Agreement and to take any action we deem appropriate, including but not limited to reporting any suspected unlawful activity to law enforcement officials, regulators, or other third parties and disclosing any information necessary or appropriate to such persons or entities relating to your profile, e-mail addresses, usage history, IP addresses and traffic information.

18. Links to other Web Sites

The Site contains links to other Web sites. We are not responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions express in such Web sites, and such Web sites are not investigated, monitored or checked for accuracy or completeness by us. Inclusion of any linked Web site on our Site does not imply approval or endorsement of the linked Web site by us. If you decide to leave our Site and access these third-party sites, you do so at your own risk.

19. General Provisions

If any provision of these terms of use shall be unlawful, void or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from these terms of use and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions. No waiver of any provision of these terms of use by us shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such provision or any other provision, and our failure to assert any right or provision under these terms of use shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, YOU AGREE THAT ANY CAUSE OF ACTION YOU MAY HAVE ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THESE TERMS OF USE OR THE SITE MUST COMMENCE WITHIN ONE (1) YEAR AFTER THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUES; OTHERWISE, SUCH CAUSE OF ACTION SHALL BE PERMANENTLY BARRED.

20. Claims of Copyright Infringement

Notifications of claimed copyright infringement must be sent to our Designated Agent:

Food and Environment Reporting Network, Inc.

Attn:  Tom Laskawy

576 Fifth Ave., Ste. 903

New York NY 10036

E-Mail Address of Designated Agent: info@thefern.org

To be effective, the notification must be a written communication that includes the following:

  • A physical or electronic signature of person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed;
  • Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site;
  • Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the material;
  • Information reasonably sufficient to permit us to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted;
  • A statement that the complaining party has a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
  • A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.