Terms of Use

Read in Japanese (日本語はこちらから) (Last Translation: August 25, 2017)

Overview
Cookie Connection is a place to learn, share, and celebrate the art of cookie decorating. Everyone is welcome - no minimum cookie decorating experience or participation is required, though you must be 13 years of age or older.

As a member of the site, you are encouraged to contribute as much as you like to all forums, clip collections, the blog, the community calendar, and other areas, as long as the content is relevant to cookie decorating and in accordance with the terms herein. Whereas some groups welcome posts of a personal, political, or religious nature, this site is intended to be strictly about the art of cookie decorating and related topics, such as sweets decorating and baking.

By accessing (becoming a member of) Cookie Connection (hereinafter “Cookie Connection,” “Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Connection,” “we,” “us,” “our,” “the site,” “our site,” “cookieconnection.juliausher.com,” “http://www.cookieconnection.juliausher.com”), you agree to be legally bound by the following terms. If you do not agree to be legally bound by all of the following terms, then please do not access and/or use Cookie Connection or any of its associated galleries, forums, and services. We may change these terms at any time, at our sole discretion, and will do our utmost to inform you of material changes. However, please review these terms regularly, as your continued use of Cookie Connection means you agree to be legally bound by these terms even as they are updated and/or amended.

Failure to adhere to the following terms and conditions will result in removal from Cookie Connection.

Community Access, License Terms, Content, and Other Conditions
  • Site Access/Account Setup:
    a. You guarantee that you are 13 years of age or older. Because Cookie Connection strictly enforces the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, we require birthdate information to prevent those under the age of 13 from posting here. You can learn more about protecting children's privacy online by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website, here.
    b. You will not create or operate more than one member account.
    c. You will never impersonate another person or member, or use the account, username, or password of another member at any time. Likewise, you will never disclose your password to any third party or permit any third party to access your account.
    d. You will not sell or otherwise transfer your profile/account or that of anyone else.
    e. If your account is deactivated by Cookie Connection for reasons of breach of these terms, you may not create a new member account, login to our site under someone else’s username, or otherwise circumvent your account deactivation.

  • Rights to and Handling of Submitted Content:
    a. You guarantee that you own the rights to all content (photos, videos, blog posts, etc.) that you upload/submit, meaning they are your own work/designs, and that you will under no circumstances infringe upon the copyrights of others. Further, if you reference another person's work, or knowingly draw on that person's designs, ideas, or techniques, in a clip, blog post, or elsewhere, you will do what is right by making sure you have secured necessary permissions to copy copyrighted work and referencing the source and linking off to that source's site or blog.
    b. Cookie Connection does not claim ownership of any content you upload/submit. However, in submitting/uploading your content (of any kind, i.e., photos, videos, blog posts, etc.) to any publicly accessible area on the Cookie Connection site, you grant Cookie Connection the worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, and/or publicly display such content on the Cookie Connection site (including, but not limited to, featured blog posts and reporting of contest or challenge outcomes) and in other works of any format or medium now known or later developed (including, but not limited to, Cookie Connection social media, newsletters, and other publications) for as long as you elect to include such content on the Cookie Connection site. This license will terminate at the time you remove or Cookie Connection removes said content from the Cookie Connection site.
    c. Likewise, you grant Cookie Connection an indefinite and irrevocable license on any content that is entered into, and which earns an award in, a Cookie Connection contest or challenge.
    d. You acknowledge that is it impossible for Cookie Connection administrators to fully and effectively monitor when posted content may infringe the copyright of a third party or other third party rights. If you believe that a post or other content infringes any legal rights that you or others may have, you should notify Cookie Connection immediately via email and provide links to both the original source work and the work that you believe infringes the copyright.
    e. You acknowledge that anything uploaded to Cookie Connection can be saved and redistributed by our members, even without intention of committing copyright infringement. That said, you will only upload content to the site that you are comfortable sharing in an online community, and which abides by the rules set forth herein.
    f. You agree to any submitted content, including that of a private nature, being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent, Cookie Connection shall not be held responsible for any hacking attempts or other actions that may lead to the data being compromised.

  • Prohibited Content and Activities:
    Cookie Connection reserves the right to investigate and take appropriate legal action against anyone who, in Cookie Connection’s sole discretion, violates this provision, including without limitation, removing the offending content from the Cookie Connection site and deactivating offending member(s)’ account(s). Prohibited content (i.e., photographs, videos, posts in the blog, forum, and calendar, etc.) and activity includes, but is not limited to, the following that in the sole discretion of Cookie Connection:
    a. is not related to cookie decorating, sweets decorating, desserts, or baking, such as personal, religious, or political matter;
    b. is patently offensive and promotes racism, bigotry, hatred, or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual;
    c. harasses or advocates harassment of another person;
    d. exploits people in a sexual or violent manner;
    e. contains nudity, violence, or offensive subject matter or contains a link to an adult website;
    f. solicits personal information from anyone under 18;
    g. provides any confidential contact information;
    h. promotes information that is false or misleading or promotes illegal activities or conduct that is abusive, threatening, obscene, defamatory, or libelous;
    i. promotes an illegal or unauthorized copy of another person’s copyrighted work;
    j. involves the transmission of junk mail, chain letters, unsolicited mass mailings, instant messaging, or spamming;
    k. uses any information obtained from the Cookie Connection site in order to directly advertise to, solicit, or sell to any member, beyond “reasonable” mentions of services/products made in publicly accessible areas of the site. In order to protect our members from such advertising or solicitation, Cookie Connection reserves the right to restrict the number of emails which a member may send to others in any 24-hour period. This number will be determined at Cookie Connection’s sole discretion, and as circumstances dictate on a case by case basis;
    l. involves commercial activities and/or sales such as mention of contests, giveaways, barter, advertising, coupons, free products, or free trials, other than in designated areas on the site (i.e., “Contests,” “Challenges,” and “Giveaways” in the Cookie Connection blog) where “reasonable” mention of such things is permissible;
    m. contains restricted or password-only access pages or hidden pages or images (those not linked to from another accessible page);
    n. furthers or promotes any criminal activity or enterprise or provides instructional information about illegal activities including, but not limited to, making or buying illegal weapons, violating someone’s privacy, or providing or creating computer viruses;
    o. solicits passwords or personal identifying information for commercial or unlawful purposes from other members;
    p. includes a photograph of another person that has been posted without that person’s consent;
    q. makes any automated use of the system, such as using scripts to follow members or send comments or messages;
    r. interferes with, disrupts, or creates an undue burden on the Cookie Connection site or the networks or services connected to the Cookie Connection site;
    s. uses any information obtained from the Cookie Connection site in order to harass, abuse, or harm another person.

  • Content Moderation:
    You also acknowledge and agree to the following terms:
    a. It is impossible for the owner(s) or administrators/employees of Cookie Connection to confirm the validity of posts. Please remember that we do not actively monitor the posted messages, and as such, are not responsible for the content contained within. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted content expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this site, its owner(s), or its administrators/employees.
    b. Cookie Connection owner(s), administrators/employees, and/or guest contributors (who will be clearly identified as such) will also contribute material to the site in order to stimulate discussions and ensure its smooth functioning. The opinions of these individuals are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Cookie Connection. They should not be considered professional advisors.
    c. If you feel that any posted content is objectionable, you are encouraged to contact the chief site administrator immediately via email. The owner(s) and administrators of this site reserve the right to remove objectionable content if they determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, however, so please realize that they may not be able to remove or edit particular content immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well.
    d. Some users may breach these terms and conditions and post content that is misleading, false, or offensive. You bear all risk associated with your use of this site and should not rely on content in taking (or refraining from taking) any specific actions based on the information posted.
    e. You remain solely responsible for your content posted to Cookie Connection. By submitting content to Cookie Connection, you agree to indemnify Cookie Connection, its related businesses and sites, owners, and administrators/employees from all claims, costs, and expenses (including legal expenses) arising out of any content posted by you to this site. (See also, “Indemnification and Governing Law,” below.)

  • Posting Guidelines:
    When posting content to the site, you will also make best efforts to:
    a. keep your comments respectful and constructive at all times. We aim to keep Cookie Connection a positive, safe, and friendly environment for all. If you disagree with someone, or have had a negative experience with something, we encourage you to share, but we do not tolerate cruelty, abusiveness, or otherwise unconstructive commentary;
    b. restrict posts of identical type to one forum or area of the site (i.e., you will not cross-post to multiple forums or to multiple areas of the site, i.e., blog, forum, clips, and/or calendar);
    c. do not post the same image to “Clips,” and avoid posting more than one (1) other view/angle of the same work to “Clips”. However, you can post the same clip to multiple clip “Sets” to ensure that it is properly catalogued and easy for members to find;
    d. remember to remove all people from any images before uploading those images to any area of the site. Uploading photos with people’s faces (with the exception of your own member profile image) is a violation of these terms and such photos will be removed;
    e. make every effort to stay on-topic. If you have a topic that strays from the original intent of a post, create a new forum post;
    f. be as complete as possible when posting to the Cookie Connection blog. Do not simply link off to a post on your personal site or blog, or any other personal platform. A primary goal of Cookie Connection is to educate and inform, so be sure your blog posts contain at least a few paragraphs of content and one (1) or more images in the text, plus a "title image". Always catalog your blog posts and clips in collections (and clip sets) and add tags. Collections, clip sets, and tags are mandatory. These practices will allow your content to be more discoverable, both on the site and elsewhere online. While you are welcome to link to yours or others’ sites, blogs, or online platforms within your Cookie Connection blog posts, posts that do not conform to these guidelines will be deleted;
    g. avoid obvious and repeated self promotion. While you are welcome to "reasonably" promote your own cookie decorating work and other resources, i.e., books, videos, etc., with links on your own member profile and in Cookie Connection blog and forum posts, be sure to always couple links in the blog and forums with quality information posted to the Cookie Connection site. Do not link gratuitously;
    h. confine promotional matters, such as notices of giveaways, contests, and challenges, to those areas in the blog and forums specifically designated for that content, or your member profile.
When in doubt about where to post something, please contact the chief site administrator.

Account Deactivation and Content Modification
Cookie Connection reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to delete or modify posts, revoke membership or block access to the site, modify your account profile, or modify any user content on the site if you are in breach of any of the terms contained herein.

If you feel that your account was deactivated or your content was deleted or modified in error, please contact the Cookie Connection chief administrator via email.

Deactivation of your account does not cancel the right of Cookie Connection to publish any content you submitted while using Cookie Connection, which had not been removed by either you or Cookie Connection prior to deactivation.

Indemnification and Governing Law
Cookie Connection (including its owner(s), officers, directors, agents, and administrators/employees) will be released and held harmless from any and all liability arising out of any dispute that may result from your use of the Cookie Connection site, and any of its features, subdomains, subsidiary or related sites, or other publications. This release extends to any claim for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages, or attorney fees, even if we are advised of the possibility of such damage, and whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise.

If you nevertheless involve us in a dispute, you will comply with the "Governing Law" provision of these Terms of Use and pay our costs and expenses, including reasonable legal fees. This agreement (Terms of Use) shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of Missouri (USA). US District Courts can also hear cases involving copyright issues. However, in all cases of dispute, you irrevocably agree that any grievance will be brought and maintained within one (1) year after the claim arises or be barred. If we are required to enforce these terms or our rights, you agree it is reasonable to send you legal notices and papers by electronic mail at the email address provided in your member profile.

Questions about Our Terms of Use?
Contact Julia M. Usher

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation! And, most importantly, have fun!

Revision: October 1, 2016
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