• SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE! Welcome to The Paracast+! For a low subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free version of The Paracast, the exclusive After The Paracast podcast, featuring color commentary, exclusive interviews, plus show transcripts, the new Paracast+ Video Channel, Classic Episodes and Special Features categories! We now offer lifetime memberships! You can subscribe via this direct link:
    https://www.theparacast.com/plus/

    Subscribe to The Paracast Newsletter!

The Paracast Terms and Conditions


USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Just thought I'd mention that the terms, asks participants to agree to, "... indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries." And that, "The owners of this forum also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or any other related information collected on this service) in the event of a formal complaint or legal action arising from any situation caused by your use of this forum." And it also says, "You must not post, attach or link to any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, offensive ... " bla bla bla.

Given that the topics discussed here are often contentious, and the concept of what one finds "offensive", or "defamatory", or "hateful", or "vulgar" is highly subjective, and that nobody can be sure everything they post is 100% accurate, it's not reasonable to make participants legally responsible ( via indemnification ) for unspecified claims ( including legal costs and damages ) that the forum or those connected with it might incur. They can pay their own legal bills.

So for the record ( again ), I don't agree to indemnify or hold anyone in any way connected with this forum harmless in any way, shape, or form, now or ever, and the owners can take notice that continuing to provide membership privileges and/or make any of my content available signifies their ( the owner's ) acceptance of the above. Better yet, just dump the whole indemnification clause and maybe I'll sign up for the Paracast +. The last thing I'll do is pay money to become liable for some frivolous lawsuit because somebody gets their nose out of joint over what I might post ( and let's not pretend that's never happened :rolleyes: ).
 
Last edited:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
We have standard forum terms for regular and premium content crafted by lawyers. Paracast+ is mostly about protecting premium content and is normal for such settings. If you don't freely circulate the content don't worry.
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
This is not an attempt to bait, Randal but I have to say the points you bring up are small potatoes, at least in a legal sense. The conditions you mention are no different from the regular forum or (probably JREF?) and you are/were just as much at risk in both places. Now from an emotional sense I can't pass judgement on your feelings, everyone has to determine what's best for them, BUT isn't it worth the extra 5 bucks a month just to avoid the GCN based commercials ? In the end if you ever did get caught up in a legal scrap the 50 bucks a year that you would have saved by not being a paracast + won't amount to much as far as financial resouces. The fact is in most any transgression with the public, commercially or non comercially you leave your self open to legal confrontations, the second you step out the door you have put yourself in a legal compact with the rest of humanity. The fact that it's front and center and, more to the point intelligible to those of us who are not as savvy on the Paracast+ forum is all the more credit to Gene for being forthcoming because we all know such legalese is buried or implicit in other sites because no one who would ever create a space, either a tangible physical real world or a bits and bites cyberspace would never, or shouldn't ever. (?) stick their necks out for the rest of us.

It would be nice to have you back more often, but perhaps to avoid those potential legal dust ups you should avoid posting in any religious based thread...or eth vs. terrestrial thread...or consciousness thread....or global warming thread....or....

Just yanking your chain , welcome back.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
This is not an attempt to bait, Randal but I have to say the points you bring up are small potatoes, at least in a legal sense. The conditions you mention are no different from the regular forum or (probably JREF?) and you are/were just as much at risk in both places. Now from an emotional sense I can't pass judgement on your feelings, everyone has to determine what's best for them, BUT isn't it worth the extra 5 bucks a month just to avoid the GCN based commercials ? In the end if you ever did get caught up in a legal scrap the 50 bucks a year that you would have saved by not being a paracast + won't amount to much as far as financial resouces. The fact is in most any transgression with the public, commercially or non comercially you leave your self open to legal confrontations, the second you step out the door you have put yourself in a legal compact with the rest of humanity. The fact that it's front and center and, more to the point intelligible to those of us who are not as savvy on the Paracast+ forum is all the more credit to Gene for being forthcoming because we all know such legalese is buried or implicit in other sites because no one who would ever create a space, either a tangible physical real world or a bits and bites cyberspace would never, or shouldn't ever. (?) stick their necks out for the rest of us.
It would be nice to have you back more often, but perhaps to avoid those potential legal dust ups you should avoid posting in any religious based thread...or eth vs. terrestrial thread...or consciousness thread....or global warming thread....or....
Just yanking your chain , welcome back.
Thanks, and I'll bite too ;).

For me these indemnification clauses are about principle, not about whatever chances there may actually be that I'll end up in a legal battle, although I have had cause in the past top seek legal assistance as the victim of defamatory comments. Legal action against me was also alluded to during my commentary on the NARCAP Ted Roe thread. So it's not inconceivable that some wing-nut or rights group with more money than me who doesn't like my comments might launch a frivolous suit against the forum, thereby making me ( or anyone else ) liable.There are literally thousands of frivolous lawsuits going on at any given time, and the last thing I want is to agree to pay someone else's legal bills, even if the chance is remote.


From my point of view, if the owners of these forums want us to provide free content and for us pay too, while they benefit ( perhaps even turn a profit ) by having our contributions added to their premium service section, then they should be the one's indemnifying us. News reporters and such are usually protected by their publishers, and those who create consumer products are typically responsible for their products, and let's face it, this website is a product, yet we're seeing sweeping changes in the way legal responsibility is being shifted from where it should be to where it shouldn't be.

I'm just old enough to see how this pernicious shift has been insidiously creeping into our lives and infringing upon our rights and freedoms. The big push began when doctors began getting sued for malpractice, so to reduce the risk of having to compensate patients for their screw-ups, they began making patients indemnify them. Now, for many doctors, if a patient refuses to do indemnify the doctor, they get no treatment. The other sector is the banking business where customers used to get paid decent interest for giving the bankers the privilege of using our money. Now the banks have turned it all around and brainwashed the younger generation into thinking they're supposed to be grateful for getting a discount on banking service fees.

Even some employers are requiring their employees to indemnify their product suppliers. This happened to me when I was working at London Drugs here in Canada. Unless I agreed to indemnify Telus Corporation against any damages that may result from using their online website, which included cell-phone activations, I was told I would lose my job. I consulted a lawyer over the potential risks and it turned out that if I activated a cell-phone in the store, and some doze went out of the store with it and backed-up over someone's baby buggy while they were busy texting, I could be held personally liable. That's how bad it's getting. People's very livelihoods are now being affected, yet the vast majority of the population is oblivious to it.

If only the form just said, "Just click "next" to become personally liable for all legal bills our company might incur, and we might reveal your personal identity too" How many people would proceed to the next step? ( maybe I shouldn't even ask that question because I'm too afraid of the answer :D )


So here we have on the Paracast, yet another example of the legal weaseling that is creeping into our lives facilitated by the need for instant gratification of some kind or another. In this case it's not having to fast forward the show past the commercials, plus instant access to some sort of as of yet unspecified premium content. For the owner, it's the ease ( or laziness ) of not having to think about drafting a Terms of Service that doesn't include any of these lousy indemnification clauses. BTW, not all terms of service have indemnification clauses, so attempting to write them off as "standard fare" is mainly just a convenient excuse.

There are other ways to write Terms of Service agreements. For example one could simply delete the indemnification clause and have any liability issues covered by something along the lines of: "You agree to participate at your own risk and expense. The Paracast is not responsible for the content posted by members, and the content provided by forum members does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher." Simple. We say what we want and take any risk for that, but having to cover the owners and associates as well is going a step too far. I certainly don't agree to indemnify them, let alone pay them to make myself liable for their legal bills.

BTW: I still check the content once in a while, but I'm cutting way back on participation due to too many differences of opinion, and it was never my intent to come here just to argue with people all the time. It just became that because I'm not afraid to stick-up for what I believe is true or fair or the way I believe things should be.
 
Last edited:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
We have had a Terms of Service here for several years; it hasn't been changed. The only difference is the addition of a special set for The Paracast+ to protect the premium contents. That's it. We aren't taking your free content from free forums and putting them behind a paywall. That's absurd.

As to the legal phraseology, I welcome advice from attorneys on any modifications.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
We have had a Terms of Service here for several years; it hasn't been changed. The only difference is the addition of a special set for The Paracast+ to protect the premium contents. That's it. We aren't taking your free content from free forums and putting them behind a paywall. That's absurd.

As to the legal phraseology, I welcome advice from attorneys on any modifications.
Attorneys are the ones causing the problem, so why would anyone welcome any advice from them :confused:? In fact the fewer of them involved, the better :D. Regarding the member generated content. There have been musings about some sort of interactive section that is part of the Paracast Plus, whether that's in the form of a forum featuring high profile guests or some sort of chat feature or whatever, I don't know, and I have no problem with the idea. It's a good one. I'd even pay to join the Paracast Plus to take part if it weren't for having been unfairly banned in the past for taking part in the non-pay portion, or having to cover the cost of your legal bills if one of your guests decides they don't like what I might have to say. But good luck with it. Really. You've got a business to run.
 
Last edited:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Randall you have far too much time on your hands here.

Our basic Terms and Rules were set up several years ago, and they continue unchanged. You have posted thousands of messages under those terms without protest, even though they have been clearly posted.

The additional entries strictly cover the premium area. They do not apply to the free areas of the forum, as should be obvious when you read them.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Randall you have far too much time on your hands here.

Our basic Terms and Rules were set up several years ago, and they continue unchanged. You have posted thousands of messages under those terms without protest, even though they have been clearly posted.

The additional entries strictly cover the premium area. They do not apply to the free areas of the forum, as should be obvious when you read them.
Actually, I've never agreed with those terms and that was made clear when I first signed up. As soon as I signed up for the forum I read the TOS and posted a message saying that I revoked any agreement to indemnify or hold harmless the Paracast or anyone else, and that continuing to grant me membership privileges and publish my posts constituted an agreement with that amendment, so by all means you're free to delete all my content and revoke my membership. That should eliminate any possibility that you might get any flak for anything I've posted.

As for how I spend my time, you don't need to concern yourself with that unless you want to start paying my wages. In the meantime, if you disagree with what I find important, be it issues in ufology, or our eroding rights & freedoms, you have far more power to express yourself through your show than I do, so is suggesting I go away really necessary? Would you really prefer that I restrict my activity to being part of the cheering squad? The Paracast is still a cut above most other forums and UFO related websites and radio shows, I'll grant it that, but there are still times when opinions will differ. I can live with that, but agreeing to cover your legal bills in the event you're sued isn't part of the deal.


BTW if the issue is really as trivial as you're suggesting, then just delete the indemnification clause ( no biggie right? ), or just forget we had this exchange of comments and let's both move on to more important things. You don't have any lawyers bother me and I won't have any bother you, deal :D ? If somebody goes overboard with bashing me here I'll let you know and I trust you'll take care of it. If somebody threatens legal action on you because of something I post, by all means feel free to delete it. I might complain but I'll still understand. And I don't need to worry about you "reserving your right to release my personal information" because I don't hide my identity here anyway. So let's forget indemnification clauses and lawyers and just be reasonable OK? Say yes and I'll sign-up for the Plus this afternoon :) .

Maybe the following video clip from one of my favorite animated kid's adventures will help impress my "point" ( or lack thereof ... LOL ), particularly the segment where our beloved King mentions the law & lawyers ...




 
Last edited:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Listen, I do not recall your claim that you revoked the agreement. I don't know that our terms allow for that.

But inasmuch as nobody has sued you — yet :) — I suppose no harm.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Listen, I do not recall your claim that you revoked the agreement. I don't know that our terms allow for that.

But inasmuch as nobody has sued you — yet :) — I suppose no harm.
Yes, the old board is gone along with my first posts ( how time flies ), but I have reiterated it since then too, and I think I kept a screenshot someplace as well. It's something I do whenever I run into these insidious indemnification clauses in TOS agreements. It's a matter of policy.

What ever happened to, "Don't agree to anything you don't actually agree with, and don't sign any contracts unless you read them first." It's as fundamental as "Look both ways before you cross the street." These days when the walk-light signals change at the croswalk, people walk out into traffic, just like they push the "Next" button, and once in a while one of them gets picked off because they weren't looking. It's no different in principle. These changes in the way society expects everyone to simply assume everything is OK while the fine print tells another story trouble me. So I do my bit to counter it. Sometimes people agree and appreciate the feedback. Sometimes they don't. But like I said, agree to release me from the indemnification clause and I'll take a screenshot and sign-up this afternoon :). Entirely your call.
 
Last edited:

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Once again, you've got too much time on your hands if you have to start worrying about terms of service agreements.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Once again, you've got too much time on your hands if you have to start worrying about terms of service agreements.
You imply the TOS indemnification clause is so inconsequential that it's not worth spending time being concerned over it, yet you don't think it's inconsequential enough to get rid of it, therefore it's obviously more important to you than you pretend. So why then should it not be important to those who you require agree to it?
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Such agreements are common. Fretting over each and every one isn't. People who aren't involved in defamation, infringing intellectual property, and law breaking needn't worry about most of these things.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Such agreements are common. Fretting over each and every one isn't. People who aren't involved in defamation, infringing intellectual property, and law breaking needn't worry about most of these things.
Simply because something is "common" doesn't make it OK, and if more people would make the smallest of effort to preserve their individual rights and freedoms, then we'd all be that much more better off. I've already explained how from personal experience, allowing these electronic TOS agreements to creep into our lives has resulted in threats against my livelihood, and that company has thousands of employees. Incidentally there were a few others who also refused to agree to the TELUS TOS, and their jobs were threatened too.

So although these lousy TOS indemnification clauses may be commonplace, that commonness is part of the problem. They shouldn't be [commonplace], and you are in a position to change a small part of it. 5 minutes worth of editing would do it. But it seems you choose instead to be another tiny cog in the machine that is the problem, and no-doubt there will be people who simply don't care and who agree to pay your legal bills ( should you ever be in that position ) and they're unwittingly adding to the problem too. But me, I'll just keep fast-forwarding through the commercials :rolleyes: ( and looking both ways before I cross the street ) :D.


Oh and BTW, frivolous lawsuits are still commonplace, as are people who misinterpret and take exception to any criticism, and I've already been in a situation on this forum where my comments elicited allusions to legal action simply because I expressed views that one of your guests didn't like or agree with, so it's not simply about "defamation, infringing intellectual property, and law breaking". None of that is required to launch a civil suit, and the average frivolous lawsuit costs the defendant over $20,000 to fight, even if they win. So it's not so far-fetched to think that some bozo might actually follow through just because they can.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Again, you have too much time on your hands. Time to move on
And again until you start paying my wages you don't need to be concerned about how I spend my time. Also, in case you're getting the wrong impression. I'm just trying to make it easier for you to take my money ( and anyone else's ) :D I don't expect that you'll bother to take the 10 minutes required to cut and paste the amendment, but you should know that basic contract law gives legal adults the right to draft contracts on their own accord that are as legally binding as those any a lawyer can create. Here's the solution to the TOS indemnification problem:

Delete this part: "Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries."

and replace it with:

"The content provided by members of the Paracast forum and the Paracast + do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs or opinions of The Paracast owners or Making The Impossible Inc. hereafter referred to as The Publisher, and you hereby agree that at no time will you hold The Publisher liable for any content not expressly created by The Publisher.

---------------

The other part I have misgivings about is this:

"You may not, and you agree that you will not, reproduce, download, license, publish, enter into a database, display, modify, create derivative works from, transmit, post, distribute or perform publicly by any means, method, or process now known or later developed, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, use on another computer-related environment, transfer or sell any Intellectual Property, information, software or products obtained from or through The Paracast+, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Paracast."

For the most part, the above is reasonable, but when it comes to the part about "information", there could be some problems. I use the Paracast as a source of "information" and I create written works that might be construed as "derivative" and even use direct quotes from time to time. For example, I might say that on such and such episode of The Paracast, Gene Steinberg said, bla bla bla. Plus I was under the impression that the Paracast + would be providing commercial free downloads. If we can't download without "express written permission", where is the "express written permission" ( distinctly different from implied permission by way of providing a download link ).

And what happens if I download the shows I paid to have access to and then sell the computer? Do we have to delete them all? And what about not being able to use the files on "another computer related environment?" Does that mean I can't transfer or copy the downloads to a portable device like an iPod or CD and listen to it while out and about?

So strictly speaking I cannot agree to those terms either. If I sign-up, I fully intend on downloading episodes and using any content that I see fit to use within the constraints of normal fair-use guidelines. Additionally, should there ever be member contributions of content to the Paracast +, will that become intellectual property of The Paracast? Having contributed over 5000 posts here, I think it's a reasonable question.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Let me mull it over OK?
Absolutely :). And FWIW we're just having a friendly discussion about it. I'm not trying to elbow in on your project or any of that kind of nonsense Ted was accusing me of when I suggested he rethink NARCAP's policy to distance itself from ufology. I genuinely want to see the Paracast + succeed. I think it's long overdue and I applaud your success in getting the network onboard to make it possible. I want to sign-up, but agreeing to the terms as they are now would be lying, and I really don't like doing that, especially when it involves legal issues in writing, no matter how trivial they may seem to everyone else.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
I don't want to belabor the issues about NARCAP. But I did ask a lawyer friend for his feedback about your suggestions. I will see what might be done.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Fair enough, but keep in mind that the idea is to eliminate ( or at least minimize ) the need for lawyers in the first place. I don't think it's mere coincidence that these TOS agreements are drafted in such a way that instead of preventing the need for lawyers, they create conditions whereby not only will they be needed, but also paid, usually by some other party than the one invoking the clause. Superficially indemnification makes them more attractive to use. After all, it protects you at little or no cost, and as a bonus to the lawyer, every time one gets inserted into a TOS it creates another potential client. That's great if you're the lawyer. It's not so great if you're the consumer who is getting stuck with the liability. IMO it's a shady move, regardless of how prevalent these clauses are. Plus if an issue does come up, instead of providing resistance to litigation, it opens the door, and that can be bad for business regardless of who's paying the bills.

In contrast, by simply making members ( and users ) agree that they won't hold you liable in the first place, you are doing your best to avoid litigation in the first place. So you are protecting yourself as much as possible without needing any lawyers. So it's no wonder lawyers have little incentive to draft such clauses. They'd be cutting themselves out of the loop. But for the rest of us, that's exactly what we want. We want to avoid litigation in the first place ( not simply have someone else pay for it ), and therefore IMO we should be taking a more active role ourselves to ensure that these TOS agreements are really working in all our favor. Protect yourself ... sure that's perfectly reasonable, but protecting yourself and your customers, instead of making them liable is even better. It's got honor and integrity, and that can only reflect well on any business.
 
Last edited:


Top