The WELL Member Agreement

YOYOW is the nickname for the following bit of enigmatic prose, coined by WELL co-founder Stewart Brand, "You Own Your Own Words." Eventually this mysterious phrase was replaced by the following more precise document, agreed to by all WELL Members.

The WELL Member Agreement

This document is an agreement between The WELL and its members. It concerns the legal framework in which you participate on The WELL, what your rights and responsibilities are and what you can expect from The WELL.


The WELL's Rights and Responsibilities

The WELL is not the publisher or author of any works posted by its members. It is a passive service for storage and dissemination of the works that WELL members may choose to post and distribute via The WELL. WELL management does not screen works before they are posted, and no prior approval is required for posting. The WELL disclaims all copyright and ownership in such works and all responsibility for them.

Although it cannot make an absolute guarantee of system security, The WELL takes reasonable steps to maintain security. If you have reason to believe system security has been breached, contact WELL staff for help.

If WELL technical staff finds that files or processes belonging to a member pose a threat to the proper technical operation of the system or to the security of other members, The WELL reserves the right to delete those files or to stop those processes. If WELL technical staff suspects an account is being used by someone who is not authorized by the account holder, The WELL may temporarily disable that account in order to preserve system security. In all such cases, The WELL will contact the member as soon as feasible.

The WELL appoints hosts for its Featured Conferences. However, hosts have a great deal of autonomy in setting policies for and running their conferences. Hosts are not acting as agents of WELL management in making such decisions, in the absence of explicit agreements to the contrary, nor are they subcontractors or employees of The WELL. For more information about the relationship between hosts and The WELL, see the WELL Hosts Agreement, available in the Hosts conference.

The WELL reserves the right to refuse service to anyone and to cancel an account at any time.

The WELL is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. The WELL will not be liable for incidental or consequential damages at all or for other damages beyond the normal base membership fee for one calendar quarter.

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a WELL Member and Poster

You are legally and ethically responsible for any works - writings, files, pictures, or any other work - that you post or transmit using any of The WELL's services: email, conferencing, the World Wide Web, USENET, the MUSE, or any other service that allows interaction or dissemination of information. In posting works on The WELL, you are responsible for honoring the rights of others, including intellectual-property rights (copyright, patent, and trademark), the right to privacy, the right not to be libeled or slandered. For example, if you wish to post a copyrighted work on The WELL, you are responsible for obtaining the copyright holder's permission first.

Under US law, you retain copyright on all works you create and post to The WELL, unless you choose specifically to renounce it. In posting a work on a service offered by The WELL, you authorize other members who have access to that service to make personal and customary use of the work, including creating links to or reposting among WELL-only conference areas to which the author has access, but not otherwise to reproduce or disseminate it unless you give permission for such dissemination. You also give permission to The WELL to copy your works as part of the normal backup process, and to conference hosts to archive topics containing your works. You have the right to remove any of your works from The WELL at any time.

Illegal activity under the laws of California and the United States using your WELL account is a violation of this agreement. Since the law as to jurisdiction of online systems is unsettled, we urge you to consider the possible effect of laws outside The WELL's locality or your own residence. The WELL is open to members worldwide (and works published on the World Wide Web, Usenet, or other such services are accessible to anyone on the Internet), and The WELL cannot guarantee that you won't run into legal trouble from other jurisdictions over your works.

Your Responsibilities as a WELL Member and Reader

You agree to provide your real name when signing up as a WELL member. The WELL normally does not permit anonymous or pseudonymous accounts. Exceptions to this general rule require special arrangements with WELL management.

If you have a complaint about the behavior or posts of another member, it is your responsibility to attempt to resolve the conflict, typically by contacting that person directly. If that doesn't help, and your complaint is about interactions or material in a specific conference, you should also feel free to contact that conference's host for help. Normally, WELL staff will not take a role in mediating conflicts between you and other members. The WELL does not take responsibility for your behavior or that of other members of the system. However, a WELL member has the right to expect not be bothered by others against his or her will. For this reason, utilities exist on The WELL to deny access via private communication from individuals or the public at large. You can install these protections at any time, or contact WELL staff for help. You agree not to attempt to bypass these protections if installed by another member.

Your access to the works that members have posted on The WELL is for your personal use only. If you want to redistribute works you find on The WELL, it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the poster (and any other person with rights in the material).

You agree to pay all charges that accrue to your account through your use or the use of those authorized by you. You take responsibility for all authorized use of your WELL account, and for all contributions to any service offered by The WELL that you post from your WELL account.

You agree to help protect your account and the security of other members by guarding your password. If you have reason to believe your password has been compromised or there has been any unauthorized use of your account, contact WELL staff as soon as possible.

You agree not to use the system for illegal activity or for violating the privacy or security of other members.

You may cancel your account at any time by contacting The WELL Billing Department. If you cancel your account, you are responsible for paying the monthly membership fees through the last day of your current billing cycle as well as any surcharges for system use through the date of cancellation. Disputed charges must be reported to The WELL within 60 days.

The WELL reserves the right to change the terms of this agreement. There is a conference called policy where issues around changes to this agreement may be discussed from time to time. You are invited to give your input through a discussion with WELL members in that conference.

The WELL may assign and delegate its rights and obligations to any successor to all or part of its business or assets.

This agreement supersedes all other agreements or understandings regarding this subject matter, and is governed by the internal laws of the United States and California.

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