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User Generated Content Terms of Service and Maine Trust for Local News (sometimes referred to as “us” or “we”) are pleased to provide this opportunity for subscribers to comment on stories and share information, experiences and opinions.  Any comment you submit, also referred to herein as a submission, is governed by these Terms of Service.

Users must be logged into the website as a subscriber to join a discussion. Subscribers must register a commenting profile with an email address, password and display name.  The screen name will identify the commenter in the discussion stream.   You are not allowed to share your registration login credentials or give your login credentials to anyone else.

To ensure that the discussions remain respectful, comments will be enabled on some stories but not all.

You are solely responsible for the content of your submissions.  By making a submission, you are consenting to its display and publication on our site and in connection with any of our online and offline services or uses.  If you upload, post or submit any content, you represent to us that you have all the necessary legal rights to upload, post or submit such content and it will not violate any law or the rights of any person. By posting a comment you represent and warrant that you will not:

  • upload to, or distribute or otherwise publish any libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, or otherwise illegal material;
  • violate, plagiarize, or infringe upon the rights of any third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy or other personal or proprietary rights;
  • impersonate anyone else or otherwise misrepresent your identity, affiliation or status;
  • provide material and misleading information knowingly and with intent to defraud;
    upload to, or distribute or otherwise publish any malware, viruses, spyware, or other malicious software or files;
  • use automated means (e.g., “bots”) to upload to, or distribute or otherwise publish any content;
  • threaten or verbally abuse other members or deliberately disrupt discussions with repetitive messages, meaningless messages or spam;
  • use language that abuses or discriminates on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability; and
  • distribute or otherwise publish any material containing any solicitation of funds, advertising or solicitation for goods or services (without our express approval).

By making a submission, you acknowledge and agree that it may be  removed, moved, published, transmitted, and displayed by us and you waive any rights you may have in having the material altered or changed in a manner not agreeable to you. Submissions made to us may also be included in our other digital or print platforms and made available for republishing through other formats.

You hereby indemnify, defend and hold harmless us and all officers, directors, owners, agents, information providers, affiliates, licensors and licensees (collectively, the “Indemnified Parties”) from and against any and all liability and costs, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred by the Indemnified Parties in connection with any claim arising out of any breach by you or any user of your account of these Terms of Service or the foregoing representations, warranties and covenants. You shall cooperate as fully as reasonably required in the defense of any such claim. We reserve the right to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter subject to indemnification by you.

By making a submission, you grant us a perpetual, nonexclusive, world-wide, royalty-free, sub-licensable license to your submission, which includes without limitation the right for us, or any third-party we designate, to use, copy, transmit, excerpt, publish, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, communicate to the public, create derivative works of, host, index, cache, tag, encode, modify and adapt (including without limitation the right to adapt to streaming, downloading, broadcast, mobile, digital, thumbnail, scanning or other technologies) in any form or media now known or later developed, including any submission made or posted by you on any other website or platform of ours.

Generally, submissions are posted immediately as they are submitted. We rely on the commenting platform to use language detection to filter submissions. Submissions that include banned words will be prevented from posting.  Submissions including suspicious words will be flagged for review by our moderators.  Submissions may also be flagged by other users and those complaints will be reviewed by our moderators at the earliest availability.  The language detection may not always be accurate and may flag submissions incorrectly or may rely on human intervention if the software is unable to determine if the submission is in violation. Human moderators will address flagged comments as soon as possible.

Our moderators review submissions with the intent of encouraging open discourse, and will apply judgment in this process. Submissions that may be rejected by us include the following:

Hate speech
Submissions with language that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

Personal attack
Submissions with threatening, intimidating, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or profane language. Attempts to communicate an obscenity or profanity by using punctuation or dashes to partially spell out an offensive word.

Name-calling about private individuals or commenters.
Submissions that can be considered an invasion of privacy. This includes phone numbers, email addresses, URLs or other specific personal information.

Off topic
Submissions that are unrelated to the topic of the article or the comments of others.

Submissions that are repeatedly posted (cut/paste/spamming).
Solicitations of any type or commercial promotion.

Submissions that appear to violate copyright laws (we suggest that comments not contain lengthy excerpts of third-party content).

Submissions where it appears the commenter is impersonating another person.  (This could include the act of registering a screen name that is similar to another user’s.)  Submissions that instigate or encourage others to commit illegal activities or cause injury or property damage to any person.  Comments that are incoherent, meaningless, or unintelligible.

This list of guidelines is not comprehensive.

If our moderators decide a submission shouldn’t be posted, it will be removed from the discussion stream.   If a user repeatedly violates these Terms of Service, the user may  be immediately banned  from commenting altogether on either a short term or permanent basis.

We are reluctant to impose specific limits on the number of posts by any one commenter, but we ask you to exercise restraint. Discussions dominated by the frequency and verbosity of an individual commenter become less interesting and useful to other members of the audience.  We may limit the number of posts by any individual commenter.

We do not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of submissions posted in comments or endorse any opinions expressed in them.  By entering the commenting area, you acknowledge that any reliance on material posted by other commenters will be at your own risk.  You further acknowledge that some comments may contain language that may be considered mean-spirited or rude or otherwise contain language that does not adhere to these Terms of Service.

If you wish to communicate an issue regarding misspelled words or another specific problem with a story, or you want to contact the reporter or an editor privately, you should email the writer directly or direct your feedback via the “Questions/Comments’ link at the bottom of every page, with an indication about who should receive your note.

On some occasions, you may be contacted by us at the email address you used in the registration of your commenting profile or through contact information associated with the subscription account associated with the profile registration to follow-up on your comment or for possible quoting or background in news reporting.   We reserve the right to display a comment in a variety of ways, including within the text of articles or in advertisements.

We reserve the right to amend or change these Terms of Service at any time.   The User Generated Content Terms of Service  is part of our broader Terms of Service, listed here.