We host sites on the vocal.media platform where you explore, contribute to and share topics you love, from beat.media to wheel.media and more coming in the future. You can also earn money from content you post.
A Quick Look
First, here’s a quick look at some of the relevant terms (although the full agreement below it is the actual binding legal agreement).
- We expect you to be fair and civil. The Agreement sets out the rules and restrictions in order for you to use the sites of the vocal.media platform.
Most of rules are based on fair treatment of others, including us: don’t threaten, harass, or steal the work from anyone on one of the Sites and don’t misuse our intellectual property.
- You own what you create. You own the rights to what you create (what we define as “Your Content”) but you give us a limited license to it.
- You are responsible for what you do. If you violate laws or cause injury to others or to us, or it looks like that will happen, then you will responsible for the consequences.
- You can earn money. There are two ways to earn money with your content. First, we can pay you and, second, those who read your posts can leave you a “tip.”
- Contact us with any questions. We’re available to try to answer your questions about the Agreement. Email us at [email protected].
- This is not a full summary. There’s a lot more in the full Agreement below (and each of the specific pages linked to this Agreement).
Quick take: from Section 1 below to the end of the document is the full agreement that is legally binding on you and on us once you consent to it (the “Agreement”). The terms below govern how you use our Services.
Following each section is a “Quick take” (but the legal language governs).
1. Welcome to Our Agreement with You
Quick take: We have some initial things to take care of in this binding Agreement with you.
- Some definitions: For the sake of simplicity, we use defined terms, which are capitalized terms that have been defined: We are Jerrick Media Holdings, Inc. (“Jerrick” or “we” or “our” or “us”). We manage websites (each a “Site”) and provide additional features and functionality that, together with the Sites are called the “Services.” “You” and “your” refer to you, and if you are registering on behalf of an organization, then it means that organization, too. “User” refers to each visitor to our Sites (including you). “EEA” means the European Economic Area, which includes the member states of the European Union and three additional countries in Europe. User Content means the information such as articles, messages (defined below) and so forth posted by all Users. Vocal Content means all of our Content and it is distinct from User Content (and therefore from Your Content). Your Content is a subset of User Content. It means the User Content that you post.
- You need to say yes: You consent to these terms—and they become binding—when you visit any of our sites. You need to stop doing so if you do not agree to the terms. Your employee (and/or client) is also consenting.
- You can’t say yes if: You have to be legally able to enter into a binding contract. This means, for example, that you cannot be under 18 years of age, or the minimum age specified in your jurisdiction.
- A Word about Rights in Dispute Resolution: Please note that this Agreement requires disputes to be resolved only through arbitration (with a few exceptions). We are required by law to use this ugly (but conspicuous) bold font to alert you as follows:
- This agreement includes an arbitration provision that means that you are waiving your right to a jury trial (in most cases).
- Safety and Security: From time to time we’ll post safety, community, and security guidelines and you agree to follow them.
- If you’re not in the US you can still use our platform but you can only do so if it’s acceptable under the laws where you live. We cannot assure you that access from such countries would not put you at risk. You are responsible for compliance with applicable local laws.
- Changing this Agreement. We can change the terms of this Agreement at any time but you will have to consent to the new version—in the same way as you consent to this Agreement version. We’ll let you know, probably through an email or a notice on your dashboard. The new version will take effect once you have consented to it and only for actions after the date of your consent. It won’t be retroactive. Previous versions will be archived and available for you to review. This version (the one you are reading now) will continue to remain in effect governing all of your actions and our actions prior to the date of your consent to the new version. Previous versions will be archived and available for you to review.
2. About Creating an Account
If you are just browsing our Sites then you do not need an account. To sign up for an account, please visit https://vocal.media/signup
- Create a username and password. Don’t create one that’s obscene or insulting and don’t pretend to be someone else.
- One account at a time. You can only have one account and one username and password.
- Your name, etc. We’ll need other information such as your name and email address (because we have to keep in touch) and the information we request must be accurate.
You, and not we, are responsible for everything that happens through your account.
3. Things You Shouldn’t Do
Quick take: Our “rules” all come down to you being civil and sensible. There are two categories: Dealing with others and using the vocal.media platform.
We try to balance your freedom to use the vocal.media platform with our belief in respecting others and their intellectual property. Here are a few of our rules:
- Don’t pretend: Don’t post Content you know (or should know) is false, misleading, or inaccurate. Don’t do anything deceptive or fraudulent. Don’t misuse the personal information of someone else.
- Don’t mess with other people:
- Don’t do anything that could be construed as threats, abuse, harassment, defamation or libel, obscene or profane.
- Don’t invade the privacy of others.
- Don’t take any action that infringes or violates (or looks like it could infringe or violate) someone’s rights or that violates the law or breaches any contract (e.g., a publishing contract) or duty you have to someone (e.g. an NDA).
- Don’t SPAM people or send anything that could mess with the networks or digital devices used by others.
- Don’t Break or Damage Our Stuff:
- Don’t pound on our systems by imposing a load on our infrastructure that cannot take it or that interferes with how the system is supposed to work;
- Don’t copy our stuff, which means doing those things that computer scientists use big words to describe such as decompiling, deciphering or reverse engineering (or attempting to do any of the above or something similar) any of the software we use for our Services, or modifying, translating, or creating derivative works of any part of the Services (including our logos or the logos of others), or coping, renting, leasing, distributing, or otherwise transferring any rights you have been granted;
- Don’t mess with our stuff, which means accessing or tampering with non-public areas of the Services, our computer systems, or the systems of our technical providers and/or accessing or searching the Services by any means (like scraping or crawling) other than what we provide;
Don’t try to be clever by trying to get around or bend these rules, like having someone else do it for you. When in doubt don’t do it and, if you need to, just ask us. You’ll find some more guidance in Community Guidelines and Trust & Safety. They do not cover everything but should give you a sense.
4. How Vocal Works
Quick take: Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, artists, and brands to get discovered and fund their creativity. What does that mean?
- Who is Vocal for?
- Vocal is for creators and readers of all shapes and sizes over the age of 13. Anyone is able to read unlimited stories on Vocal; anyone is able to create an account and submit unlimited stories to Vocal. Creators do not need to pay for an account, have a writing background, or meet any qualifications. Accounts identified belonging to someone under 13 years of age will be terminated.
- What can I do on Vocal?
- Anyone on Vocal can create and consume stories. As a creator, Vocal’s communities connect you with engaged audiences. Vocal also provides creators with a human-led moderation team who reviews every single story to ensure it meets our submission guidelines, and either approves the story for publication or sends the story back to you for edits within a 24 hour window. This ensures that content meets Vocal’s standards of quality, and that Vocal remains a safe place for creators and readers alike. In return, all we ask is that whether you’re a reader or a creator, you’re responsible, mindful of others, and respectful of our Community Guidelines.
- Who owns Vocal?
- Vocal is owned by Jerrick Media Holdings Inc, which owns and operates the site.
5. How Earnings Work
Quick take: Here are the specifics of how our creators make money—how we pay you, how you receive tips, and how you can access your earnings.
- Who is eligible to earn money?
- Vocal uses Stripe to transfer funds and process payments. For a creator to be eligible to receive payment, they must reside in a country supported by Stripe. A list of countries supported by Stripe can be found here: https://stripe.com/global. You can find more information at https://stripe.com.
- What is Stripe?
- How do creators earn on Vocal?
- Creators can earn money on Vocal via:
- Direct Payments from Engagement: Published stories are immediately eligible to be monetized via our engagement algorithm that tracks how many reads your stories receive. These earnings are calculated on a CPM basis, and we may change or modify this algorithm and/or rate at any time.
- Tips: Tips are payments sent by readers to show their appreciation for your stories.
- How do I receive my earnings?
- Direct Payments from Engagement: Once you’ve accumulated $35.00 (USD) in your Wallet, you’re able to withdraw your earnings. There is no expiration date on the earnings in your Wallet, so you can continue earning on your published stories for as long as you have a Vocal account. It may take between 3–5 days for these fund to appear in your bank account. The earnings that appear in your Wallet are tracked in USD, but Stripe will automatically calculate the conversion once you withdraw if you’re located outside the United States.
- Tips: Tips are transferred automatically to your Stripe account, and earnings from tips are tracked separately from your earnings from reads in your Vocal Wallet. Since tips are sent directly to your Stripe account, they do not count towards the $35 minimum required for you to withdraw your earnings, and cannot be refunded once sent. Vocal collects a 7% platform processing fee on all tips.
6. What We Don’t Do and Are Not Responsible For
We’re not liable for any damages or losses related to your use of the Services whether yours or that of others. When you use the Services you release us from claims, damages and demands of every kind — known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, disclosed or undisclosed — arising out of or in any way related to the Services. All Content you access through the Services is at your own risk.
7. Other Websites and Embedded Content
Quick take: We have links to third party websites and if you go to those sites it’s at your own risk.
8. Your Intellectual Property
Quick take: You own your Content and give us rights to use it.
- The License Grants
- You own Your Content. You own what you create—i.e., Your Content.
- Your license to us of Your Content. By transmitting Your Content through the Services you grant to us the worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable right, with the right of sublicense, to use and exploit the copyright, publicity, trademark, database and other rights in your Content. You also waive any and all moral rights and publicity rights in Your Content. (If you are from the EEA, the waiver does not apply.)
- Your license to others to Your Content. You grant to other Users the right to re-post Your Content but without changing (other than editing for size).
- You have the rights you think you have
Quick take: You are telling us that you really do own it or that you can use it, meaning that no one else can go after you (and us) if it’s posted.
- You have the rights to give us such a license. You are assuring us that our exercise of these rights will not infringe on or otherwise violate the rights of any third party.
You are assuring us that you own Your Content and if you don’t own it, that you have a license to use it or some other legal basis for that use and in any case, that it doesn’t break any laws of breach any contract you already have. If it turns out that you have to pay royalties to someone else when Your Content shows up on one of our Sites, then it’s entirely up to you to do so.
- Using Content
Quick take: You can use what you see on the Sites only for your personal uses and not for commercial uses. It’s not your stuff. You can share the User Content of others but only in its form on the vocal.media platform and making sure that the original creator gets the credit. Respect others (including us). Please.
- Re-posting the Content of other Users. We grant you a non-exclusive, limited, revocable and non-transferable license to view and share (i.e., re-post elsewhere) the Content of other Users as long as it is solely for your personal, informational, and non-commercial purposes in compliance with this Agreement. In particular, you cannot alter attribution—i.e., indications of creation or authorship. You can’t make it look like it comes from someone other than the original creator.
- You post elsewhere at your own risk. With some of our Services you are permitted to share User Content on other social media networks, but it will be subject to the policies and user agreements of such networks. We will have no responsibility for your choice to do so.
- We like Feedback but we have to own it
Quick take: Amazingly, some people have sued companies when the feedback from a User shows up as something new in the services of those companies.
- We welcome and encourage any suggestions, ideas, comments or other feedback you provide (“Feedback”) but once you provide it you assign to us all of your right, title and interest in the Feedback. We do not have, and will not have, any obligation whatsoever for compensation to you.
- Liability as to Content
Quick take: We cannot possibly vet everything everyone posts. We can take a look and decide what to do such as take it down. We can enforce other rights, too. You’re on your own using it.
- Your access to and use of Content is at your own risk and you will be solely responsible for any damage or loss to you or any other party that results. You understand that we will not always pre-screen User Content and that we are not, and will not be, responsible for policing, monitoring, or editing User Content or for any inaccuracy of User Content. We do not guarantee that any Content you access on or through the Services is or will continue to be accurate.
- Other people’s opinions are not ours. You’ll find references to and opinions about a vast range of topics. What you find does not necessarily reflect our views.
9. Our Intellectual Property
Quick take: We’ve given you permission to use what you see on the Sites but only in certain ways. You can’t use it for commercial purposes.
We grant you limited access to our Services. Here’s your virtual key to get in. We grant you a non-exclusive, limited, revocable and non-transferable license to access and use our Services only in compliance with this Agreement.
- Our rights in the Sites and Other Services. Jerrick and its licensors own all intellectual property rights in the Sites and Services (except for certain third party content on some of the Sites and of course User Content, Your Content and as otherwise specified in this Agreement). You cannot copy it or make what’s known as a “derivative work” from it—such as our graphics and so forth.
- You can’t use trademarks and logos. Remember that the trademarks, service marks and logos on each Site or elsewhere in the Services are the property of their respective owners. You cannot use them without prior written permission.
10. If You Think There Is a Copyright Issue
Quick take: This is the procedure specified by federal law to remove Content based on claims that it violates the copyright of someone else.
We respect the intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that Content infringes your copyright, then contact us about it below. You’ll need to read our Copyright Policy (which is part of this Agreement) for the details of the procedure. Our designated copyright agent for notice of alleged copyright infringement appearing on the Services is:
- ATTN: Vocal Copyright Agent
2050 Center Ave
Fort Lee, NJ 07605
11. If You Want to Delete Your Account
Quick take: You can delete your account at any time.
12. Some of Our Rights
Quick take: We have to manage the Vocal platform for all of the Users and keep the community working well. We will use a light touch in managing the place, though.
- We may terminate or suspend your access to all or part of the Services immediately and without notice, at any time, with or without cause.
- We can make changes to our Services at any time without liability and without providing notice (except where it’s required by law).
- We can remove Content or prevent access to it for any or no reason.
- We reserve the right to seek all remedies available when you violate this Agreement or do something that is, or we believe is or will become, threatening or damaging (including injury), which could mean threats of or actual injury to our reputation, the Vocal community or others.
We’re not liable for any damages arising from exercising these rights.
13. We Don’t Give Any Warranties
Quick take: We’re telling you here that we’re not giving you assurances—or any other kind of statement—about what you see in or through the Services. For example, “as is” can be explained in the context of Your Content: we don’t edit it once you post it so it goes up as it is, i.e., as you posted it.
The Services and all information there (the “Materials”) are provided to you on an “as is,” “as available” basis without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, data accuracy, and any warranties implied by any course of performance or usage of trade, all of which are expressly disclaimed. We (which includes our directors, employees, agents, suppliers, partners and content providers) make no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any Materials or that use of the Services will be uninterrupted, error-free, completely secure, or free from viruses, or that the results of using the Services will meet your requirements. No oral or written information or advice we give shall create a warranty of any kind.
14. You Accept Responsibility for What You Do
Quick take: If we are sued by (or otherwise get in trouble with) third parties because of something you have done (or might have done) then you have to pay our costs and the costs of some related companies and individuals.
If someone (other than you) sues us or threatens to sue us and the claim is based on (or it is believed to be based on) something you did with the Services (including Content), or if it is because you broke one of your assurances or other obligations in this Agreement or did something that caused us damage such as violating the Community Guidelines or Trust & Safety, then you shall defend, indemnify and hold us (and some additional entities described below) harmless from any and all claims, actions, demands, losses, liabilities or damages (including reasonable attorneys' fees and other related costs) arising out of or related to; (i) your use of the Services and/or Content; (ii) otherwise from Your Content; (iii) your violation of this Agreement or of the Community Guidelines or Trust & Safety; or (iii) your violation of any law or rights of a third party.
We have the right to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you, in which event you will cooperate fully with us in asserting any available defenses.
The “other people” referred to in that paragraph include our affiliates and each of our and their respective officers, agents, contractors, directors, suppliers, representatives, partners, members and employees.
15. We Have Limits to Our Liability
Quick take: Over many decades there have been many judges rendering opinions about damages. To the extent the law permits it, we disclaim them, meaning we will not be responsible for paying those damages, except in limited circumstances.
Your use of the Services and anything resulting from such use is at your sole risk. We specifically disclaim all liability, whether based in contract, tort, negligence, strict liability, or otherwise for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive or special damages arising out of or relating to your access to or use of the Services and anything resulting from such use, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages, including without limitation for (i) any lost profits, data loss, cost of procurement of substitute goods or services, or (ii) any bugs, viruses, trojan horses, or the like (regardless of the source of origination). In no event shall our aggregate liability to you for all damages, losses and causes of action (whether in contract or tort, including, but not limited to, negligence or otherwise), to the extent such damages exceed $100.00.
Some of the limits listed above may not apply to you because they are not permitted by the law that applies to you. In such cases, our liability will be limited to the fullest extent permitted by that law. For example, if you are a consumer in the EEA then many of these limits might not apply to claims you have. The limits in your local law are likely to apply.
“Fullest extent of the law” means that in most cases our liability is limited to “foreseeable” damages that arise from our breach of material contractual obligations that one usually finds in these kinds of agreements.
16. Dispute Resolution and Governing Law
Quick take: We’d like to work out any differences by talking with you. If that does not work, then the option is binding arbitration, with some limited exceptions that enable the parties to go to court instead. If we have to go to court, then it will be in New Jersey, where we are based.
Please make sure that you read and understand this section as it affects your legal rights regarding a jury trial and a waiver of a right to class action lawsuits.
- You and we agree that if you or we disagree about using and/or providing the Services (and the Content you see), then only the processes specified in this section about informal talks and, if necessary, either binding arbitration or, in limited circumstances, the provisions in this section on Governing Law (going to court) shall be used. Please note that you are also giving up your right to participate in what is typically called a “class action lawsuit” below.
- We start with informal discussions. First, you and we to try to resolve disputes through informal discussions, which will be undertaken “with dispatch.” Please contact us with the details and we’ll get back to you by the email attached to your account.
- We then have to go to arbitration (in most situations). If that does not work, then both you and we will use arbitration as explained below.
- We both waive of right to a jury trial. By agreeing to this provision (when you consent to this Agreement), you and we each waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action lawsuit. (The waiver does not apply where arbitration does not apply, as we describe below.)
- This statement above means that you (and we) cannot go to court and we cannot have a jury trial to resolve disputes (in both cases there are limited conditions when the parties can go to court).
- You knowingly, voluntarily and intentionally waive any right you may have to a trial by jury because of agreeing to this provision.
- We can go to court (and skip arbitration) when we have a claim against you about intellectual property. If we believe that you have violated or you could violate intellectual property rights, we may seek injunctive or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in New Jersey (see below).
- We both waive the right to participate in class action suits. You and we agree that neither you nor we will participate in a class action or class-wide arbitration for any claims covered by this agreement to arbitrate. You are giving up your right to participate as a class representative or class member on any class claim you may have against us including any right to class arbitration or any consolidation of individual arbitrations.
- You understand that you are giving up that right of participating in a class action suit.
- Some basics of your agreement as to arbitration
Quick take: These are some of the basics of the agreement on arbitration. You can find the complete rules we’ll follow at adr.org
- Some procedural matters. The U.S. Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this provision. The arbitrator has exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, or enforceability of this Agreement (but taking into consideration the exceptions specified below).
As to procedure, the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") will administer the arbitration using the Consumer Arbitration Rules then in effect for the AAA (unless we say otherwise in this Agreement). Those rules specify how a neutral arbitrator (rather than a judge when there is a lawsuit) is chosen by both parties and the scope of discovery (which is also more limited than in a lawsuit). Arbitration will be conducted in Bergen County, New Jersey (unless you and we decide in writing on another location). Each party will be responsible for paying any AAA filing, administrative and arbitrator fees in accordance with AAA Rules. You and we can agree to adjust the application of those rules as to the type of meeting (e.g., in-person, telephonic, etc.) for claims less than $10,000.
If the AAA does not set a hearing date within one hundred and sixty (160) days of filing the case, then either we or you can elect to have the arbitration administered instead by the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services in New Jersey.
The arbitration decision is final and it can be enforced. The arbitrator will issue a written decision that explains the findings and the reasoning leading to them. The arbitrator can award damages (and other remedies or awards) but won’t have authority to award damages, remedies or awards that conflict with this Agreement. Either party can ask a New Jersey state or federal court to enforce the decision.
We each have one year to make a claim. Regardless of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action must be filed within one (1) year after such claim or action arose.
- When arbitration and the waiver do not need to apply
Quick take: We can go to court when we believe that our intellectual property is threatened or there is a threat of damages. You can choose to go to court (or arbitration), and your waiver of a jury trial does not apply in certain circumstances.
- We can go to court rather than arbitration when we think our intellectual property is or could be threatened or your actions need to be stopped as soon as possible. Then we have the right to seek equitable remedies (such as getting a court to force you to stop immediately).
These waivers do not always apply, such as you are in a jurisdiction that limits the rights that you can waive (as you have here as to a jury trial and the right to participate in a class action lawsuit). Some of the terms do not apply to those Users in or from the EEA. For example, if you are a consumer (i.e., not a business) in the EEA then the arbitration process and limits on class action lawsuits do not apply to you. When the waivers do not apply then you and we agree that disputes will be handled exclusively through lawsuits handled under the section on “Governing Law.”
Only New Jersey law applies. The laws of New Jersey (without reference to what are called “conflict of law rules”) govern this Agreement and all disputes arising from your use of the vocal.media platform (and anything there). The Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act and the United Nations Convention of Controls for International Sale of Goods do not apply.
Consumers from the EEA can sue at home. If you are a consumer in the EEA, things get a little more complicated but, basically, you can sue us in the courts of the country in the EEA you claim as home. Businesses, however, still have to do so in New Jersey.
Only New Jersey courts can be involved. Except for those of you who are consumers from the EEA who can sue in your home jurisdiction, you and we consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts of New Jersey, subject to the arbitration provisions above. These courts will have authority over enforcing any remedies resulting from arbitration. You agree that the vocal.media platform, Services and Content, and we, are deemed a passive website that does not give rise to jurisdiction in any other jurisdiction over us or our subsidiaries, affiliates, assigns, employees, agents, directors, officers, or shareholders, either specific or general.
17. A Few More Legal Details
Quick take: This Section collects provisions regarding a bunch of legal rights that are usually included in these kinds of agreements. There really is no “quick take.” If you have questions then contact us and we’ll do our best to explain them to you.
This Agreement (plus written modifications we approve and that are integrated from time to time) sets forth the entire understanding and agreement between you and us on the subject matter. That means that this Agreement supersedes anything you and we communicated to the other party before or after, we give you special written advance permission). We may assign this Agreement or our rights under it in whole or in part at any time without your consent. If a court decides that some part of this Agreement does not work under applicable law, the you and we nevertheless agree that (a) the court should try to give effect to what you and we intended as reflected in the part in question and (b) the other parts of this Agreement will be unaffected. We won’t be liable if we don’t do what we said we’d do when it arises from something beyond our reasonable control, including, without limitation, all sorts of things such as mechanical, electronic or communications failure or degradation or force majeure. You and we have not created any relationship such as a partnership or employment and neither of us has any authority to represent or bind the other. If we don’t exercise a particular right under this Agreement, that does not waive it.
This Agreement is provided in English and all communications will be in English.
All provisions of Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall do so. This includes, without limitation at least those sections dealing with: licenses of Content, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity, and limitations of liability; and the sections that are needed to support those sections.
Effective Date: December 4, 2018