Policies and Practices

 

MERLOT policies describe and define rights, responsibilities, and restrictions, and state the terms and conditions under which visitors to www.merlot.org and its affiliated websites (e.g., Voices, JOLT, etc.) may use information found on MERLOT websites. These policies apply to everyone who uses MERLOT information and data, whether or not they register as MERLOT Members.  

The policies include: MERLOT practices describe procedures and activities carried out by MERLOT staff in order to ensure that the highest quality and most useful information can be found on MERLOT websites.  These Practices include: MERLOT reserves the right to modify, without notice and with exception, these Policies and Practices at any time.  Questions or comments regarding these policies should be sent to webmaster@merlot.org.
 

Acceptable Use Policy (Membership Agreement included)

1.0 Introduction

This Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) applies to all MERLOT branded websites and is intended to aid any and all MERLOT users (registered or not) in understanding how the contents found in MERLOT may be used. All users of MERLOT must comply with this AUP, the purpose of which is to encourage the reuse of MERLOT materials while also helping to protect MERLOT participants and members of the MERLOT community from illegal or irresponsible activities.
Violation of this AUP may result in: This AUP should be read in conjunction with the MERLOT Research Policy.

2.0 Acceptable Use

MERLOT is a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. MERLOT is built on the collaboration of its partners, community members, registered members, and users. In that spirit, MERLOT allows access to its site and the materials therein for personal and non-commercial uses as set forth in this policy. Links to online learning materials are catalogued in MERLOT, along with other items such as peer reviews and assignments. MERLOT is committed to improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning by expanding access to high quality teaching and learning materials that can be easily incorporated into faculty-designed courses.
 
By using MERLOT, you agree to the terms of MERLOT’S AUP and promise to use any content found on the MERLOT website, whether in whole or in part, for personal, non-commercial, and educational purposes only as described in this policy. You also agree to comply with prevailing United States laws regarding copyright and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.
All issues, disputes actions, or any other matters related the interpretation of the content of this Policy are at the sole discretion of MERLOT.

3.0 Violations of Acceptable Use

The following constitute violations of this AUP:


3.5 Violations Related to Postings to MERLOT Websites Including Public Forums

The following constitute additional violations of this AUP: Abusive language, name-calling, insults, harassment, and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Further, members are prohibited from making posts or comments that encourage this type of behavior. MERLOT reserves the rights to single-handedly take appropriate measures, including deleting content, blocking any member from posting to our site, and/or revoking membership for any behavior we determine to be damaging to our community. The posting of discussion topics or replies that do not relate to educational technology or the use of Web 2.0 in education are considered forms of spamming and will be removed. Whether or not they are important topics in their own right, they potentially detract from the value of MERLOT to its members. It is a little harder to draw hard and fast lines here because MERLOT is a community, but if you are in doubt as to the appropriateness of posting a topic, please contact the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org.

4.0 Creative Commons and MERLOT Intellectual Property

MERLOT recognizes the effort and commitment of the many different kinds of MERLOT community members who participate in building and sustaining the repository and services that comprise MERLOT. To protect the membership and its contributions to the community, MERLOT has adopted the intellectual property (IP) protection policies of the consortium, Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) to: 1) encourage creators of online materials to share their work with others who might wish to reuse the materials in creative ways; and 2) ensure that contributions of online materials by MERLOT members to the MERLOT community are protected from misuse and abuse.

To better understand Creative Commons and MERLOT's position on the topic, listen to a presentation on the topic at
http://www.screencast.com/t/8Mv2QWuded.  For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Creative Commons, visit http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ.

4.1 MERLOT Creative Commons License Policy

The following definitions are important within this policy with regard to outlining the expectations of individuals and institutions associated with MERLOT. Intellectual property on the MERLOT website has been divided into two categories: i) Partners Only – some (but not all) available only to MERLOT partners, and ii) MERLOT Members - available to the general MERLOT community. These are shown in Tables 1 and 2 below. Partner-only materials require written permission from MERLOT for reuse. After receiving such permission, the materials fall under the Creative Commons conditions described in Table 1.
Materials shown in Table 2 are freely available to all MERLOT members under the Creative Commons licenses shown, and as such, require no prior permission for use as long as the terms of the Creative Commons license are adhered to.
 
In general, this policy requires users to: 1) always attribute the creator of the intellectual property (Attribution) and; 2) not permit the IP to be used for commercial purposes (Non Commercial); and 3) either restrict users from modifying the IP (No Derivative) or allow them to modify it for their own environments and circumstances (Derivative). All three conditions must be met.
 
Table 2 indicates that all data submitted to by MERLOT Members, hosted on MERLOT servers, is the property of MERLOT. MERLOT makes no claim to that IP. However, because MERLOT is a nonprofit organization that encourages the reuse of learning materials for creative online teaching and learning, MERLOT endeavors to promote best practice use of its members’ IP in non-commercial environments by other creative users of the IP, while always requiring attribution of the work to the IP creator. For this reason, MERLOT requires submissions of the TYPES of content shown in Table 2, to fall under the Creative Commons license, by-nc-sa – Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike. This requirement does not imply that the materials themselves, wherever they are hosted, must fall under a Creative Commons license.   However, there is IP on the MERLOT website that MERLOT wishes others to be able cite, not use in commercial endeavors, and not modify (No Derivative) when cited, but to be attributed verbatim when reused. The two IP types of that nature are Peer Reviews and Member Comments about learning materials or any other matter found in MERLOT. These fall under the Creative license by-nc-nd.

4.2 Author-Owned Creative Commons License Designation

MERLOT believes that Owners of materials referenced on the MEROT website but hosted on non-MERLOT servers are entitled to declare how their property may be used by others. Author–Owners of MERLOT reference materials are urged to select from Table 2 the license most appropriate for their preferred use of online materials. The Creative Commons site http://creativecommons.org/license contains an interactive tool that enables authors to select the license they desire. Because MERLOT encourages the reusability of learning materials, MERLOT recommends that authors select the least restrictive Creative Commons license for their work, in order to ensure the most widespread adoption possible. Whether or not an author wishes to specify commercial considerations can depend on factors independent of MERLOT.

 

TYPE

CREATOR

OWNER

LICENSE DESCRIPTION

LICENSE

MERLOT computer code

Staff

MERLOT

CC licenses do not apply to computer software. MERLOT source code is the property of the California State University

Not CC

MERLOT  Leadership Library documents

Staff

MERLOT

After permission, Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike usage policy within partner’s institution

Not CC

MERLOT Leadership Library, portal, & JOLT templates

Staff

MERLOT

After permission, Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative usage policy within partner’s institution

 Not CC

Table 1:  MERLOT Partners-Only Intellectual Property

 

TYPE

CREATOR

OWNER

CC LICENSE DESCRIPTION

LICENSE

MERLOT Info Help documents

Staff

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike

by-nc-sa

MERLOT public website content & images

Staff

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative

by-nc-nd

MERLOT Logos

Staff

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative

by-nc-nd

MERLOT portal content

Partner

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike

by-nc-sa

Peer  reviews

Partner

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, No-Derivative

by-nc-nd

Learning material metadata

Member

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike

by-nc-sa

Assignments

Member

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, Derivative, Share-Alike

by-nc-sa

Member Comments

Member

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, No-Derivative

by-nc-nd

Bookmark Collections

Member

MERLOT

Attribution, Derivative

by

Course ePortfolios

Member

MERLOT

Attribution, Derivative

by

Discussion Board
Creation/submission

Anyone

MERLOT

Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative

by-nc-nd

Table 2:  Creative Commons Licenses for MERLOT Website-resident Content

5.0 Use of Learning Materials by All Users

Users of learning materials (see tables above) found by MERLOT Community Members and Users at the MERLOT site, whether in print or not, beyond that specified in the Fair Use guidelines issued by the US Copyright Office, must have the explicit permission and/or licensing from the author of those materials.  There are many sources of information regarding Fair Use guidelines, and the TEACH Act outlines how materials may be used for educational purposes.

 

MERLOT has the right, but not the obligation, to monitor and edit or remove any activity or contribution that violates fair use or the TEACH Act. MERLOT takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any contribution made by the user or a third party.

5.1 Giving Credit and Copyright Notice

A statement such as the following must appear with all material attributed from MERLOT publications or from the MERLOT website: "Reproduced with permission from MERLOT - the Multimedia Resource for Learning Online and Teaching (www.merlot.org). Some rights reserved."

5.2 Exclusions

Permission does not extend to items within the site that are reprinted by permission of other publishers and copyright holders. You must obtain separate permissions for these items. It is the responsibility of the user to obtain these permissions; however, MERLOT can provide contact information for these items upon request.

5.3 Links and Framing

All links to MERLOT pages must make clear that the content belongs to MERLOT. Similarly, MERLOT content may not be framed unless it is clear that the content is hosted by MERLOT, and the URLs of the framed MERLOT pages are displayed.

5.4 Online Teaching and Learning

Materials reproduced for teaching and learning purposes are subject to the same restrictions as other permission requests - see information about Fair Use and the TEACH Act above.

5.5 Commercial Use

MERLOT materials and services may be used for commercial purposes by obtaining a license for use from MERLOT. Contact the MERLOT webmaster (webmaster@merlot.org) for more information.

5.6 Scholarly and Academic Works

Authors of scholarly works and those conducting research associated with MERLOT must follow MERLOT’s Creative Commons licensing policies and the fair use principles for excerpts from the MERLOT website and publications. Appropriate citations are required.

5.7 Personal Use

MERLOT website materials may not be posted, published, transmitted, reproduced, distributed, or in any way used to exploit MERLOT for commercial purposes or use them in any manner inconsistent with this policy.

6.0 Information Use

6.1. Scope

MERLOT is built on the collaboration of its partners, registered members, users, and MERLOT-sponsored event participants and supporters. MERLOT provides access to its website, materials, and services only for personal, professional, and non-commercial purposes as set forth herein. MERLOT respects the privacy of our website visitors, registered members, and sponsored event attendees. This policy defines how such information may or may not be used by MERLOT partners, members, nonmembers, sponsors, and exhibitors at MERLOT-sponsored or -endorsed events including conferences.   MERLOT Information is defined as “any and all personal information (e.g., first and last names, email address, other addresses, telephone numbers, institutions or affiliations, etc.) collected via MERLOT websites for membership registration, for attendance/participation in MERLOT conferences, or for any other MERLOT-sponsored or endorsed event.”

6.2 Permissible and Impermissible Use of MERLOT Information

6.3. Permissible and Impermissible Use of Event Participant Information

MERLOT recognizes and appreciates the contribution of commercial supporters in MERLOT-sponsored events such as MERLOT conferences and acknowledges the business motivation for their participation. However, this policy proscribes any commercial entity, including commercial supporters of MERLOT-sponsored events, from harvesting online MERLOT member or event participant data for any reason, except with special permission and/or under negotiated circumstances described on the MERLOT Technologies page.   In order to support the commercial sponsors of MERLOT events, MERLOT agrees to the following:

7.0 User Obligations

7.1 Abide by Applicable Laws

In connection with the use of MERLOT, you are required to abide by all applicable federal, state, or local laws, including those pertaining to such areas as libel, slander, defamation, trade libel, product disparagement, harassment, invasion of privacy, tort, obscenity, indecency, and copyright or trademark infringement.

7.2 Online Communications

You are cautioned that any online communications may not be fully confidential. You should also be aware that federal postal regulations do not protect electronic mail. Also be aware that as a part of their regular duties, MERLOT personnel may access your personal profile, and/or communications for technical or operational purposes. MERLOT may also disclose any information discovered through such access to the extent permitted or required by law.

7.3 Content of Information

You are responsible for any information or materials you place on the MERLOT site. MERLOT has no obligation to, and does not in the normal course of business, monitor or control any material that is or becomes available in MERLOT. MERLOT reserves the right to review any material that is or becomes available on the site. MERLOT reserves the right to refuse to post or to remove any materials that are, in our judgment, unacceptable, undesirable, or in violation of this policy.

However, MERLOT has no obligation to exercise such reservation of rights. MERLOT will, in appropriate circumstances, terminate the accounts of users who infringe the intellectual property rights of others. MERLOT may terminate access for content providers or service participants who are found to repeatedly provide material without necessary rights or permissions.

If you believe that your work has been used or copied in a way that violates this AUP, or constitutes copyright infringement, please notify MERLOT in writing as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For MERLOT to act on your notice, you must be authorized to enforce the copyrights that you allege have been infringed. When informing MERLOT of an alleged infringement:

Without the information listed above, MERLOT may not be able to act on your complaint promptly, or at all.

8.0 Requesting Copyright or Other Material Usage Permission

Send a written request to Copyright Permission via email to webmaster@merlot.org with "MERLOT Materials Reuse Permission" in the subject line.

Your request should include:

In order to be processed, requests must contain complete information including the name of the person/organization wishing to use the material, title, phone number, email address, and mailing address.

9.0 Policy Enforcement

If you know or have reason to believe that there has been a violation of this AUP, please contact the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org. Please provide as much information as possible such as:

The absence of such information may render MERLOT unable to act upon your report of violation.

10.0 Modifications

This policy may be modified, at any time without notice, by MERLOT and such modifications will be binding to all registered members of MERLOT when published on the MERLOT website.

11.0 Supplement to AUP - Terms of Service for MERLOT Voices

11.1 Acceptance of Terms

MERLOT Voices, provided by MERLOT, provides its service to you subject to the following Terms of Service (TOS), which may be updated by us from time to time without notice to you. The TOS described here are supplemental to this Acceptable Use Policy (AUP); the terms of the MERLOT AUP supersede terms that may conflict with this supplement.

11.2 Description of Service

MERLOT offers the collaboration environment and services website, MERLOT Voices consisting of a collection of computing resources such as various communications tools, forums, personalized content, etc. (the “Service”). You agree that the Service may include certain communications from MERLOT, such as service announcements, administrative messages, and MERLOT newsletters. As a dynamic and open communications service with content provided by members of the MERLOT Voices community, you agree that the Service may include advertisements within member contributions.

11.3 Registration

a. In consideration of your use of the Service, you represent that you are of legal age to form a binding contract and are not a person barred from receiving Services under the laws of the United States or any other applicable jurisdiction.

b. You may browse the Service without registration, but you understand that some features of the Service may not be accessible to you unless you register. In registering for the Service, you agree to: (i) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by the Service's registration form, including a certification that you are over the age of 13 (the "Registration Data"); and (ii) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data to keep it true, accurate, current, and complete. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, not current, or incomplete, or MERLOT has reasonable grounds to suspect that such information is untrue, inaccurate, not current, or incomplete, MERLOT has the right to suspend or terminate your account and refuse any and all current or future use of the Service (or any portion thereof).

11.4 Member Account, Password and Security

You will define your account with a user name and password as part of the Service's registration process. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and are fully responsible for all activities that occur under your account. You agree to: (i) notify MERLOT immediately of any unauthorized use of your account or any other breach of security; and (ii) ensure that you exit from your account at the end of each session.

11.5 Member Conduct

a.  You understand that all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, tags, and/or other materials ("Content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated. This means that you, and not MERLOT, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available via the Service. MERLOT does not control the Content posted via the Service and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

b. You agree not to use the Service to:

i.  Upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable;

ii. Harm minors in any way;

iii. Impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a MERLOT official or Voices participant Community Manager (as defined in Section 6 below), or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity;

iv. Forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any Content transmitted through the Service;

v.  Upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any Content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);

vi.  Upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary rights of any party;

vii.  Upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation;

viii.  Upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy, or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment;

ix.  Disrupt the normal flow of dialogue, cause a screen to scroll faster than other users of the Service are able to type, or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users' ability to engage in real time exchanges;

X. Interfere with or disrupt the Service or servers or networks connected to the Service, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies, or regulations of networks connected to the Service;

xi. Intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national, or international law or regulation;

xii.  Provide material support or resources (or conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources) to any organization designated by the United States government as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act;

xiii. Stalk or otherwise harass another person or entity; or

xiv. Reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, trade, resell, or exploit for any commercial purpose any portion of the Service (including your Service account), use of the Service, or access to the Service.

c. You acknowledge that MERLOT may or may not pre screen Content, but that MERLOT and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in their sole discretion to pre screen, refuse, or remove any Content that is available via the Service. Without limiting the foregoing, MERLOT and its designees shall have the right to remove any Content that violates the TOS or is otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with the use of any Content, including, but not limited to, any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content.

d.  You acknowledge, consent, and agree that MERLOT may access, preserve, and disclose your account information and Content if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such access, preservation, or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (i) comply with legal process; (ii) enforce the TOS; (ii) respond to claims that any Content violates the rights of third parties; (iv) respond to your requests for customer service; or (v) protect the rights, property, or personal safety of MERLOT and MERLOT Voices, its users, and the public.

e. You understand that the technical processing and transmission of the Service, including your Content, may involve: (i) transmissions over various networks; and (ii) changes to conform and adapt to technical requirements of connecting networks or devices.

11.6. Community Managers

a. MERLOT staff or individual users may create forums (“Community”) within the Service that focus on particular subjects and designate an individual user as the Community’s manager (“Community Manager”). Community Managers will have the ability to establish rules, policies, and guidelines that apply to a particular Community, including, but not limited to: (i) eligibility requirements for membership in a Community; (ii) access rights for users within the Community; and (iii) rules concerning the posting of Content to the Community. You agree to abide by the rules, guidelines, and policies established by Community Managers for their Communities, provided that such rules, guidelines, and policies do not conflict with the TOS or applicable law.

b. You acknowledge that MERLOT may or may not review the decisions of Community Managers, but that MERLOT and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in their sole discretion to review and overrule any decision of a Community Manager.

11.7 Right to Content

MERLOT does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service, you grant MERLOT the following perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform, and publicly display such Content in connection with the Service.

11.8 Privacy

a. MERLOT collects some personal information when you register for the Service and when you use the Service. MERLOT may automatically receive and record information from your computer and browser, such as your IP address, cookie information, software and hardware attributes, and the pages you request.

b. MERLOT may use the information it collects for the following general purposes: to customize any advertising and content you may see, fulfill your requests for products or services, improve our services, contact you, conduct research, and provide anonymous reporting for internal and external purposes.

c. MERLOT does not rent, sell, or share personal information about you with other people or non-affiliated organizations except to provide products or services you have requested, when we have your permission, or under the following circumstances:

i. We respond to subpoenas, court orders, or legal process, and we exercise our legal rights or defend against legal claims.

ii.  We believe it is necessary to share information in order to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, violations of the TOS, or as otherwise required by law.

iii. We transfer information about you if MERLOT is acquired by or merged with another entity.

d. MERLOT may use web beacons to access MERLOT cookies inside and outside our network of websites and in connection with the Service.

e. The Service is intended for use by adults only. In connection with the Service, MERLOT does not promote online to children and does not intentionally collect any personally identifiable information from children under the age of 13.

11.9 Indemnification

You agree to indemnify and hold MERLOT and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, employees, partners, MERLOT members, Service members and participants, and licensors harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of: (a) Content you submit, post, transmit, or otherwise make available through the Service; (b) your use of the Service; (c) your connection to the Service; (d) your violation of the TOS; (e) or your violation of any rights of another party.

11.10 General Practices Regarding Use and Storage

You acknowledge that MERLOT may establish general practices and limits concerning use of the Service, including, without limitation, the maximum number of days that email messages, message board postings, or other Content will be retained by the Service, the maximum number of email messages that may be sent from or received by an account on the Service, the maximum size of any email message that may be sent from or received by an account on the Service, the maximum disk space that will be allotted on MERLOT's servers on your behalf, and the maximum number of times (and the maximum duration for which) you may access the Service in a given period of time. You agree that MERLOT has no responsibility or liability for the deletion or failure to store any messages and other communications or other Content maintained or transmitted by the Service. You acknowledge that MERLOT reserves the right to log off accounts that are inactive for an extended period of time. You further acknowledge that MERLOT reserves the right to modify these general practices and limits from time to time.

11.11 Modification to Service

MERLOT reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Service (or any part thereof) with or without notice. You agree that MERLOT shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension, or discontinuance of the Service.

11.12 Termination

a. You agree that MERLOT may, under certain circumstances and without prior notice, immediately terminate your Service account and access to the Service. Cause for such termination shall include, but not be limited to: (i) breaches or violations of the TOS, the MERLOT Acceptable Use Agreement, or other incorporated agreements or guidelines; (ii) requests by law enforcement or other government agencies; (iii) a request by you (e.g., self-initiated account deletions); (iv) discontinuance or material modification to the Service (or any part thereof); (v) unexpected technical or security issues or problems; (vi) extended periods of inactivity; or (vii) engagement by you in fraudulent or illegal activities.

b. Termination of your Service account may include: (i) removal of access to all offerings within the Service; (ii) deletion of your password and all related information, files and content associated with or inside your account (or any part thereof); or (iii) barring of further use of the Service.

c. You agree that all terminations for cause shall be made at MERLOT's sole discretion and that MERLOT shall not be liable to you or any third party for any termination of your account or access to the Service.

11.13 Dealings with Advertisers

You agree not to use this Service for any commercial or monetary purposes without authorization of MERLOT. Your correspondence or business dealings with, or participation in promotions of, advertisers found on or through the Service, including payment and delivery of related goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties, or representations associated with such dealings, are solely your responsibility. You agree that MERLOT shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings or as the result of the presence of such advertisers, whether direct or indirect, on the Service.

11.14 Links

The Service or third parties may provide links to other World Wide Web sites or resources. Because MERLOT has no control over such sites and resources, you acknowledge and agree that MERLOT is not responsible for the availability of such external sites or resources, and does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any Content, advertising, products, or other materials on or available from such sites or resources. You further acknowledge and agree that MERLOT shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such Content, goods, or services available on or through any such site or resource.

11.15 MERLOT’s Proprietary Rights

a. You acknowledge and agree that the Service and any necessary software used in connection with the Service ("Software") contain proprietary and confidential information that is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws. You further acknowledge and agree that Content contained in, for example, MERLOT Partner/sponsor advertisements or information presented to you through the Service or by advertisers is protected by copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents, or other proprietary rights and laws. Except as expressly permitted by applicable law or authorized by MERLOT Partner/sponsors, you agree not to modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute, or create derivative works based on the Service or the Software, in whole or in part, unless such modifications etc. are authorized by MERLOT or indicated by copyright licenses posted on the Service.

b. MERLOT grants you a personal, non-transferable, and non-exclusive right and license to use the object code of its Software on a single computer; provided that you do not (and do not allow any third party to) copy, modify, create a derivative work from, reverse engineer, reverse assemble or otherwise attempt to discover any source code, sell, assign, sublicense, grant a security interest in, or otherwise transfer any right in the Software. You agree neither to modify the Software in any manner or form, nor to use modified versions of the Software, including (without limitation) for the purpose of obtaining unauthorized access to the Service. You agree not to access the Service by any means other than through the interface that is provided by MERLOT for use in accessing the Service.

c. The MERLOT name and logo are trademarks and services marks of MERLOT (the “MERLOT Marks”). You agree not to display or use in any manner any MERLOT Mark without MERLOT’s prior written consent. See MERLOT's Branding Policy.  

11.16 Disclaimer of Warranties

a. YOUR USE OF THE SERVICE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS. MERLOT AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS, AND LICENSORS EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.

b. MERLOT AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS AND LICENSORS MAKE NO WARRANTY THAT: (i) THE SERVICE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS; (ii) THE SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE; (iii) THE RESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF THE SERVICE WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE; (iv) ANY ERRORS IN THE SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED.

c. ANY MATERIAL DOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF THE SERVICE IS ACCESSED AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK, AND YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OF ANY SUCH MATERIAL.

d. NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM MERLOT OR THROUGH OR FROM THE SERVICE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THE TOS.

11.17 Limitation of Liability

a. YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT MERLOT AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS, AND LICENSORS SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, DATA, OR OTHER INTANGIBLE LOSSES (EVEN IF MERLOT HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES), RESULTING FROM: (i) THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICE; (ii) THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS, DATA, INFORMATION, OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED, OR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO THROUGH OR FROM THE SERVICE; (iii) UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS OR DATA; (iv) STATEMENTS OR CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTY ON THE SERVICE; OR (v) ANY OTHER MATTER RELATING TO THE SERVICE.
b. YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT BY USING THE SERVICE, YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO CONTENT THAT IS OFFENSIVE, INDECENT, OR OBJECTIONABLE. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL MERLOT AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS, AND LICENSORS BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY CONTENT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN ANY CONTENT, OR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY CONTENT POSTED, EMAILED, TRANSMITTED, OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE VIA THE SERVICE.
c. YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED "AS-IS" AND THAT MERLOT AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS, AND LICENSORS ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE TIMELINESS, DELETION, MIS-DELIVERY, OR FAILURE TO STORE ANY USER COMMUNICATIONS OR PERSONALIZATION SETTINGS.

11.18 No Third-party Beneficiaries

You agree that, except as otherwise expressly provided in this TOS, there shall be no third-party beneficiaries to this agreement.

11.19 Copyright or Intellectual Property Infringements

a. MERLOT respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask our users to do the same. MERLOT may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, disable or terminate the accounts of users who may be repeat infringers.
b. If you believe that your work has been made available on the Service in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, or your intellectual property rights have been otherwise violated in connection with the Service, please provide MERLOT with the information below, via email to webmaster@merlot.org:
i. an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright or other intellectual property interest;
ii. a description of the copyrighted work or other intellectual property that you claim has been infringed;
iii. a description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located within the Service;
iv. your address, telephone number, and email address;
v.  a statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright or intellectual property owner, its agent, or the law;
vi. a statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright or intellectual property owner or are authorized to act on the copyright or intellectual property owner's behalf.

11.20 General Provisions

a. Entire Agreement. The TOS constitutes the entire agreement between you and MERLOT and governs your use of the Service, superseding any prior agreements between you and MERLOT with respect to the Service.
b. Choice of Law and Forum. The TOS and the relationship between you and MERLOT shall be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflict of law principles. You agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the State of California with respect to any claims arising from the TOS or your use of the Service.
c. Waiver and Severability. The failure of MERLOT to exercise or enforce any right or provision of the TOS shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of the TOS is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the TOS shall remain in full force and effect.
 

11.21 Violations

Please report any violations of the TOS via email to webmaster@merlot.org.

 

MERLOT Privacy Policy

1.0 Privacy Policy

MERLOT respects the privacy of those who visit our websites and those who choose to be registered members of MERLOT and its services, events, and other programs. This privacy policy demonstrates our commitment to respect your privacy. Please review the MERLOT Privacy Policy to understand your options in using the MERLOT website and our services.
 

2.0 Scope of Policy

The MERLOT Privacy Policy covers our treatment of personally identifiable information (e.g., first and last names, email address, other addresses, telephone number, institution or affiliation, etc.) that MERLOT may hold. You may visit the MERLOT website without identifying who you are or revealing personally identifiable information.  Users of MERLOT websites, services, events, activities, and other programs provide MERLOT personally identifiable information. This information is gathered through use of a part of a website, by signing up for a service, event, activity, or program, or in requesting information from MERLOT. MERLOT collects no other personal information on users except that provided by the user.  MERLOT is not responsible for the privacy practices of non MERLOT websites, services, or organizations to which MERLOT may link, refer, or recommend.
 

3.0 Information Collected about You

We handle in strict confidence the information that we learn about you when you visit our website. The information we receive depends upon what you do when visiting our websites or participating in other MERLOT services, activities, etc. We will not obtain personal identifying information about you when you visit our site unless you choose to provide such information.
 
When you use the MERLOT site, our servers may collect information indirectly and automatically (through, for example, the use of your "IP address") about your activities while visiting the site, including the webpages you view, the times you view them, and information about the browser you are using. We do not link browsing information to the personal information you submit to us; we use this browsing information for internal purposes such as to help understand how the site is being used so as to improve it, and for systems administration purposes.  If you are a registered member of MERLOT, or have participated in one of our services, such as contributing materials, adding Comments, creating a Personal Collection, or have participated in various trainings or workshops: Member information (such as name, address, and affiliation) is provided as a service for MERLOT members, offering a convenient way to network with colleagues. The data provided may not be harvested or collected in any other way, either manually or through automated methods, sold to others, incorporated into any type of database, used to generate mailing lists, or employed for any commercial purpose, except with special permission and/or under negotiated circumstances described on the MERLOT Technologies page.
 

4.0 Cookies

MERLOT may choose to use 'cookies' to store your preferences. These files do not contain any personally identifiable information unless you have already chosen to volunteer that information to us. If you choose to register with us, your personal information may be linked to the information stored in the cookie. We use cookies to improve your experience on the site and to understand how visitors use different features and services.
 

5.0 Sharing of Information

MERLOT uses the personal information that you provide to record and support your activities within the MERLOT sites, services, to inform you about MERLOT and its activities and events, and to support your participation in activities and programs. MERLOT does not sell, rent or share any personal information that it collects on its websites or web-based services, or in organizing any activity or event. MERLOT reserves the right to change this policy and will give you sufficient notice prior to doing so.
 
Personal information about MERLOT members and users may occasionally be shared with outside contractors, auditors, consultants, collaborators, partners, and others contracted by MERLOT to assist in carrying out financial, evaluation, or operational activities. MERLOT informs recipients of information about safeguarding personal information and requires them to use it only for authorized purposes consistent with this privacy policy. In these kinds of cases, information is returned to MERLOT or destroyed upon completion of the project or activity.
 
We cannot ensure that your personal information will not be disclosed to third parties. For example, we may be legally obligated to disclose information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, or third parties may circumvent our security measures to unlawfully intercept or access transmissions or private communications.
 

6.0 Security

MERLOT has implemented and follows industry standard measures to protect against unauthorized access to and unlawful interception or processing of personal information. However, no Internet site can fully eliminate all security risks.
 

7.0 Removing or Correcting your Personal Information

As a registered user of MERLOT, you can login with your username and password to view and change your personal information. MERLOT will make every effort to preserve your privacy and security by verifying your identify when you use our system.
 
You may contact MERLOT at any time, by emailing the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org to request that your personal information be removed from our database, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding the site. 
 

8.0 Children's Guidelines

If you are under 13 years of age, please have your parent(s) or guardian(s) read this policy and approve your use of our services. At any time, your parent(s) or guardian(s) have the right to request that we remove your personal information by following the procedures listed in paragraph 7.0, "Removing or Correcting your Personal Information" above.

MERLOT Branding Policy

MERLOT is committed to enabling and supporting its Partners and other interested parties to enhance the strategic direction of the MERLOT community. This MERLOT Branding Policy has been created to ensure that the use of the MERLOT Brand is consistent with this commitment. In this policy, “Brand” includes all typefaces, colors, and other physical and visible characteristics used in renditions of the MERLOT logo, labels, mastheads, images, etc.

An important element of our support concerns the ways in which the MERLOT Brand is represented in MERLOT-endorsed programs and activities presented both on the World Wide Web and in other media. Accordingly, MERLOT places conditions on the use of its Brand so that viewers of websites or other media containing MERLOT-labeled information or services can immediately identify the information as being endorsed by MERLOT.

This Policy describes:


1. MERLOT Brand usage
2. Processes for handling inappropriate or unauthorized use of the MERLOT Brand
3. Location of Branding material

 
1. MERLOT Brand Usage: The MERLOT Brand may only be used by MERLOT, its Partners, affiliates, or other MERLOT-approved organizations and/or entities. MERLOT Partners in good standing are authorized to use the MERLOT Brand as described in MERLOT’s partner application/renewal forms. Others wishing to use the MERLOT Brand should email a request to webmaster@merlot.org.
 
Requestors must be authorized agents of the entity that will be responsible for use of the MERLOT Brand. Requests must contain the requestor’s name, title, phone number, email address, institutional affiliation, institution address, purpose of the request, the proposed location (URL) where the MERLOT Brand will be displayed, and the duration of Brand use. MERLOT will notify the requestor within 10 days of MERLOT’s decision to approve or reject the request.  Requests will be approved or denied by the MERLOT Executive or Managing Director. If the request is denied, MERLOT will explain the reason; requestors may challenge the denial in writing within 30 days of receipt of the decision.

2. Inappropriate Use: The MERLOT Brand can never be re-colored, modified, or otherwise altered. Inappropriate or unauthorized use of the MERLOT Brand will be regarded as a breach of this Policy. Anyone wishing to report such a breach should email the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org describing the nature of the inappropriate/unauthorized use, including the URL or other media sources where the MERLOT Brand is displayed. The MERLOT Executive or Managing Director will review reported breaches and undertake a course of action to correct any inappropriate use.

3. The official MERLOT Branding materials can be found here. This page is complete with instructions, information, and standards for use of our logos and colors, including how to resize an image properly so the MERLOT appearance is not distorted. The page includes everything needed to create Word (and PowerPoint) documents correctly.   MERLOT will strictly enforce all terms of this Policy so that MERLOT-labeled information or services will always be identifiable as being endorsed by MERLOT.  Details of available Brand renditions or any communications with regard to this MERLOT Brand policy should be sent to the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org.

 

MERLOT Research Policy

The MERLOT Research policy was terminated in October, 2016.  MERLOT no longer considers requests or proposals from researchers or others who wish to utilize MERLOT resources for research or studies related to the use of MERLOT.

Audio/Video Recording Policy

1.  Requests to create an audio/video recording at MERLOT event must be made in writing to webmaster@merlot.org using the MERLOT Audio/Video Request Form.

2. Approval for all audio or video (audio/video) recording of conference events is made at the discretion of the MERLOT Management Team. Final sign-off to create audio/video recordings is issued by the MERLOT Executive or Managing Director.

3. Creation of an audio/video recording requires that the release form  be signed by every participant prior to recording (see Condition #1, above).

4. Private recording is not allowed without permission. Session chairs are authorized to halt the creation of unauthorized recordings.

5. Session chairs, facilitators, etc. must be pre-informed by the event planner/coordinator that the session has been authorized for audio/video recording. The session chair is authorized to terminate an unauthorized recording.

6. An announcement must be made prior to a session that the session will be recorded. Audience members give their implicit permission by remaining in the session and for them, no release is required. Audience members who are absent for such announcements but who are present for the remainder of the session, give their implicit permission to be recorded.

7. The following statement should appear in every event program: “Sessions in the program may be recorded. Audience members are advised that their attendance at recorded sessions, whether or not an announcement is made at the time of the session, grants all rights of permission of the audience member to MERLOT, as outlined in the MERLOT Conference Audio/Video Recording Policy."

8. Any costs associated with the creation of an audio/video record must be incurred by those wishing to create the audio/video recording unless funding is specifically authorized by the MERLOT Management Team.

9. Audio/video material created at a MERLOT event shall not be used by the recorders for financial gain without MERLOT’s permission. Please contact the MERLOT Managing Director for permission.

10. MERLOT will be provided with a copy of each instance of audio/video recording created at a MERLOT event, within 30 days of the creation of the recording.

11. MERLOT is authorized to reuse the copy in a non-profit manner that is consistent with MERLOT’s goals and objectives.

MERLOT Web Services Policy  

MERLOT’s goal is to meet the needs of MERLOT community members who wish to access MERLOT websites, and to search and use MERLOT metadata from within their own application while protecting the needs of the MERLOT project. We require that an authorized representative of your organization agree to the terms of the Web Services and/or Related Software (WSRS) Agreement before MERLOT provides a license key or authorizes you to deploy or use its Web Services and/or Related Software (WSRS). In general, this agreement concerns the use of MERLOT Web Services and/or Related Software (WSRS). Organizations other than non-profits seeking information regarding special terms and conditions for the use of MERLOT's Web Services and/or Related Software (WSRS) will be subject to license fees.
 
This Agreement applies to both:
  1. Developers wishing to deploy WSRS within an application or a Learning Management System (LMSs)
  2. Those wishing to use their own applications.
This Agreement:

MERLOT Web Services and Related Software Agreement

As a user of the MERLOT web services, the user agrees to the terms of this WSRS Use Agreement, and to MERLOT’s Acceptable Use Agreement.  MERLOT grants a non-exclusive, limited, and nontransferable license to use the MERLOT WSRS. The terms of this Agreement apply to both developers who deploy the WSRS and users who use the deployed WSRS.

  
Deployment – Developers agree: 

Ownership: The MERLOT WSRS has been developed by the MERLOT project and California State University. Copyright of the MERLOT WSRS is held by The California State University. Copyright for the MERLOT Metadata is held by the California State University and MERLOT Metadata submitter as described in the MERLOT Acceptable Use Agreement. 
  
Warranty: MERLOT WSRS is provided "as is" without warranty against software errors, and without guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. Neither the California State University System nor any vendor within whose product MERLOT’s WSRS has been deployed shall be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages that may result from use of MERLOT WSRS or metadata. 
  
Support: MERLOT is not obligated to provide any support of the WSRS. Bug reports 
and feature requests should be sent to webmaster@merlot.org 


Termination of Agreement: MERLOT reserves the right to terminate this agreement without cause or explanation at any time.  
  
If the WSRS is deployed from within a vendor LMS or other application and the LMS or application license agreement is terminated, the use of the MERLOT WSRS must also end or alternative agreements must be developed and approved by MERLOT. 
  
Privacy: MERLOT and the California State University System are authorized to use any personal information described in or related to this Agreement to provide the services described herein and to determine our compliance with this Agreement. 

For a copy of the WSRS Agreement, download it here. 

Material Link Checking and Removal Practice

MERLOT checks all material links in the catalog monthly using a web link validation system. The system produces a list of materials with invalid URLs. Each of these is tested by following the URL provided on the material’s Detail View page.  When a valid URL is found, the detail view page in MERLOT is updated.  If no valid link can be found, the procedures for locating a new URL are as follows:

1.  URL is Backtracked.

2.  Google Search

3.  Email

All emails and communications stress the need for a prompt response in order to update the material in MERLOT and to avoid having it deleted from the collection.

Actions for Material Removal 
The following procedures are carried out to correct or remove material links (urls) in the collection:

Accessibility Practices

MERLOT is not responsible for the ADA compliance of sites whose links are listed in MERLOT.  MERLOT strives to be compliant with ADA priority one standards as mandated by TITLE IV, SECTION 508, of REHABILITATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1998.  CSU Chancellors Office's Accessibility Technology Initiative site is available at http://teachingcommons.cdl.edu/access/.  
 
In addition to the accessibility standards MERLOT has designed its website in accordance with, the site also provides an opportunity to Add Accessibility information to a material in the collection.  Go the Adding Accessibility Information page to learn more on how to it to a material.   
 
MERLOT has also completed an Accessibility Commitment Statement and VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) to outline our progress and status on making MERLOT accessible.