Last updated August 17, 2012

THE GIST

Welcome to ARGNet (www.argn.com). This is Michael Andersen, the owner and senior editor of the site. Our volunteer writers and editors put a lot of work into providing original posts here at ARGNet, and I would love for you to use it. However, there are a few important things you should know before accessing the website. I know this is long, but please read through this page before accessing the website content.

Due to the nature of alternate reality games, ARGNet may on occasion run unconfirmed rumors as news. These rumors will be clearly labeled as such. We regularly consult unofficial sources when no official company line is known or available.

This website is designed for informational purposes only. If you use it for entertainment, that’s great too. While I encourage you to express yourself freely, be responsible with your comments. While I generally agree with what is written here, the opinions expressed by the authors on this site are their own, and are not necessarily mine, let alone the opinions of ARGNet or any of our respective employers.

While I am a lawyer, this website is not designed to dispense legal advice, and you shouldn’t use it for that purpose. Any communication through this website, the Contact form, or via e-mail is not privileged, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Substantial portions of the below Terms of Service and Privacy Policy were taken from the folks at Automattic. They made their Terms of Service available under a Creative Commons Sharealike license, which means you’re more than welcome to borrow it and repurpose it for your own use.

As a special treat, the folks at Automattic recommend you order the Texas brisket at Memphis Minnie’s in San Francisco, CA. I’ve taken them up on that advice, and it’s well worth it.

Intellectual Property

All content on this site is protected under copyright law. The text on ARGNet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 license. ARGNet has obtained a limited license to display some images, audio files, and video content on the site, so do not assume that all non-text content is protected under a Creative Commons license: contact us first. See the Terms of Service below for further details on our policy for intellectual property complaints.

Terms of Service:

The following terms and conditions govern all use of ARGNet (www.argn.com) and all content, services, and products available at or through the website (taken together, the “Website”). The Website is owned and operated by Michael Andersen (the “Owner”). The Website is offered subject to your acceptance without modification of all the terms and conditions contained herein and all other operating rules, policies, and procedures that may be published from time to time on this Website (collectively, the “Agreement”).

Please read this Agreement carefully before accessing or using the Website. By accessing or using any part of the Website, you agree to become bound by the terms and conditions of this Agreement. If you do not agree to all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you may not access the Website or use any services. If these terms and conditions are considered an offer, acceptance is expressly limited to these terms. The Website is available only to individuals who are at least 13 years old.

Responsibility of Contributors.
If you post material to the Website, post links on the Website, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available by means of the Website (any such material, “Content”), you are entirely responsible for the Content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content. Content includes both text comments and hyperlinks. By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:

* the downloading, copying, and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;
* if your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content;
* you have fully complied with any third-party licenses relating to the Content, and have done all things necessary to successfully pass through to end users any required terms;
* your Content does not contain or install any viruses, worms, malware, Trojan horses or other harmful or destructive content;
* your Content is not spam, is not machine- or randomly-generated, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);
* your Content is not libelous or defamatory (more information on what that means), does not contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party; and
* your Content is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, other blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods.

Responsibility of Website Visitors
The Website has not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the material posted to the Website, and cannot therefore be responsible for that material’s content, use, or effects. By operating the website, the Owner does not represent or imply that the Owner endorses the material there posted, or that the Owner believes such material to be accurate, useful or non-harmful. You are responsible for taking precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your computer systems from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other harmful or destructive content. The Website may contain content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable, as well as containing technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, errors, and non-current legal commentary. The Website may also contain material that violates the privacy or publicity rights, or infringes the intellectual property and other proprietary rights, of third parties, or the downloading, copying or use of which is subject to additional terms and conditions stated or unstated. The Owner disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from the use by visitors of the Website, or from any downloading by those visitors of content there posted.

The Website reserves the right to delete your Content or edit it to remove hyperlinks for any reason. This includes the deletion of Content that violates any of the above criteria.

Copyright Information and DMCA Policy
The owner respects the intellectual property rights of others, and expects others to extend the same courtesy. If you believe that material located on or linked to by the Website violates your copyright, you are encouraged to notify the Owner via the Contact form.

Changes
The Owner reserves the right, at his sole discretion, to modify or replace any part of this Agreement. While the Website may notify users of major changes to this Agreement via the ARGNet Twitter account, the Website is not obliged to do so. It is your responsibility to check this Agreement periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to the Website following the posting of any changes to this Agreement constitutes acceptance of those changes. The Owner may also, in the future, offer new services and/or features through the Website. Such new features and/or services shall be subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

Termination
The Owner may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.

Disclaimer of Warranties
This Website is provided “as is”. The Owner disclaims all warranties of any kind, express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. The Owner does not make any warranty that the Website will be error free or that access thereto will be continuous or uninterrupted. You understand that you download from, or otherwise obtain Content or services through, the Website at your own discretion and risk.

Limitation of Liability
In no event will the Owner be liable with respet ot any subject matter of this agreement under any contract, negligence, strict liability or other legal or equitable theory for: (i) any special, incidental or consequential damages; (ii) the cost of procurement or substitute products or services; or (iii) for interruption of use or loss or corruption of data. The Owner shall have no liability for any failure or delay due to matters beyond my reasonable control. The foregoing shall not apply to the extent prohibited by applicable law.

General Representation and Warranty
You represent and warrant that (i) your use of the Website will be in strict accordance with this Agreement and with all applicable laws and regulations (including without limitation any local laws or regulations in your country, state, city, or other governmental area, regarding online conduct and acceptable Content, and including all applicable laws regarding the transmission of technical data exported from the United States or any country in which you reside) and (ii) your use of the Website will not infringe or misappropriate the intellectual property rights of any third party.

Indemnification
You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Owner from and against any and all claims and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of your use of the Website, including but not limited to your violation of this Agreement.

Miscellaneous
This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Owner and you concerning the subject matter hereof, and they may only be modified by a written amendment signed by an authorized executive of the Owner, or by the posting by the Owner of a revised version. Except to the extent applicable law, if any, provides otherwise, this Agreement, any access to or use of the Website will be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., excluding its conflict of laws provisions, and the proper venue for any disputes arising out of or relating to any of the same will be the state and federal courts located in Philadelphia, PA.

Privacy Policy:

Alternate reality games can ask for quite a bit of personal information from players, and ARGNet is sensitive to your privacy concerns. We will not collect your personal information without your consent, but do collect quite a bit of non-personally identifying data. We will not assemble this information for the purposes of deriving personally identifying data, and will not knowingly partner with third partners who do so.

This privacy policy does not prevent advertisers from engaging in retargeting (serving advertisements for websites your cookies indicate you have already visited) or other types of behavioral advertising that rely on anonymized personally identifying data. Most of these advertisements rely on cookies.

For instructions on how to provide greater security for your online data and further information on the topic, please refer to resources such as AboutAds.info (the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising) and the EFF’s discussion on Online Behavioral TrackingThe Atlantic has a particularly good piece on the topic that is worth reading.

Collecting Data
ARGNet collects data from a number of sources. As of August 9, 2012, ARGNet uses a number of free services including Google Analytics, Statcounter, Cloudflare, and Quantcast. These services help provide better insights on who reads our site so we can provide more tailored content and so our partners can feel more confident serving tailored advertisements. Information is collected through technology such as cookies, web beacons, tracking pixels, and server statistics.

A number of services on this site (including Statcounter, Quantcast, Cloudflare, and WordPress) collects potentially personally-identifying information like your Internet Protocol (IP) address. This information may be visible to ARGNet staff members, but will not be traced back to an individual or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.

Business Transfers
If ARGNet is acquired, goes out of business, enters bankruptcy, or a third party acquires substantially all of its assets, user information would be one of the assets that is transferred or acquired by a third party. You acknowledge that such transfers may occur, and that any acquiror of ARGNet may continue to use your information as set forth in this policy.

Ads
Ads appearing on ARGNet may be delivered to users by advertising partners, who may set cookies. These cookies allow the ad server to recognize your computer each time they send you an online advertisement to compile information about you or others who use your computer. This information allows ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you. This Privacy Policy covers the use of cookies by ARGNet and does not cover the use of cookies by any advertisers.

Advertisers may use these cookies to serve you advertisements tailored to your particular web browsing history, as viewed through your cookies. If this concerns you, consider implementing some of the EFF’s Surveillance Self Defense tips to minimize the data provided to advertisers and other third parties.

Changes to the Privacy Policy
ARGNet may change its Privacy Policy from time to time. ARGNet encourages visitors to frequently check this page for any changes. While ARGNet may notify users of major changes to the Privacy Policy via the ARGNet Twitter account, ARGNet is not obliged to do so. Your continued use of this site after any change in this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of such change.

Any changes to the Privacy Policy or the Terms of Use are made at ARGNet’s sole discretion, but we welcome your comments and suggestions to improve our site operations. Please direct these concerns to ARGNet’s Contact form.

SECRET SECTION

This section has nothing to do with the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, but I figured alternate reality gaming fans would be disappointed to have this much text without a hidden message somewhere. Looks like all that time checking source codes paid off for once! Go to http://www.argn.com/images/macguffin.jpg for a picture of me used in Storycode’s first Story Hack. Periodically I may replace this image with other, equally embarrassing pictures to encourage you to regularly check this page.