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Changelog

5/27/10. Added plagiarism bullet.

12/15/08. Added "Disclaimers/Attributions" section.

3/25/08. Added "Review integrity" section.

10/31/08. Fixed a spelling error.

3/2/08. Fixed a spelling error.

2/29/08. Added italics, capital letters.

2/28/08. Clarified posting rules, which have been on and off this document and elsewhere on the site. Edited don't-dos to include impersonating someone else.

8/11/07. Reordered a bit; clarified that authors promoting their books is commercial.

7/12/07. Added prohibiton against duplicative or nonsense groups.

7/1/07. Added prohibition against reposting flagged content.

1/2/07. Added "Participating in Translation" link. Reordered items a bit.

12/17/06. Added "sock puppets" to "shell accounts." Edited some of the "don't be a jerk," for brevity not content.

12/11/06. Added "Participating in Talk and Groups." Removed "Intellectual Property and Reverse Engineering" clause.

9/11/06. Added part about use by booksellers to "Individual accounts".

8/21/06. Updated "Individual accounts" section to link to information about organizations.

4/3/06. Added section on "Automated Input and Retrieval," and second paragraph of "Individual accounts."

11/8/05. Added IP and reverse engineering clause.

11/8/05. Made it clearer that your username can't be an insult, general or specific, or use a term that suggests you run the website.

10/3/05. Added rule about empty libraries.
Added rule about couples and other family groupings not being considered organizations.

Version as of June 24, 2010

Privacy Policy

It felt odd to keep saying "I." Don't be fooled—this is just the official plural.

No sale of personal information

LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party. This would be evil, and we are not evil. We reserve the right to sell or give away anonymous or aggregate information. We are particularly interested in what the Library Science people discover when comparing the formal cataloging and the user-tagging data. If you are an enterprising grad student, give us a ring!

No email from LibraryThing

LibraryThing will not send you mass emails without your consent.

Privacy

LibraryThing allows "private" libraries—libraries that others can't see. We promise to try hard to maintain this privacy. As a beta application and a wiggly one, we cannot give an absolute 100% guarantee of privacy. After all, even Amazon had a day when all their "anonymous" reviewers were exposed. (Many turned out to be the authors themselves, of course.) Amazon has dozens of highly-paid database specialists; LibraryThing does not. If the public disclosure of your library would really damage you, by all means don't post it online.

LibraryThing will not cooperate with US law enforcement unless compelled to do so. If you are using LibraryThing from a foreign country with an oppressive government, LibraryThing urges you not to put yourself at risk. We certainly promise never to open up an office in China and actively filter sensitive political information and rat out dissidents, such as Yahoo does. Shame on them.

Terms of Use

Individual accounts

LibraryThing individual accounts are designed for personal collections (couples and families are okay too). Organizations, like churches, companies, schools and museums, can join. (See organizational accounts for the rules.)

LibraryThing is for YOUR books—books you own, have read or want. Under normal circumstances, this rule doesn't matter, but it would not be appropriate to fill your LibraryThing catalog with all the books in your local library or, for example, Project Gutenberg.

Lifetime memberships

People who have paid for lifetime memberships get what they paid for, and probably a lot more. If, however, LibraryThing adds major new features, including but not limited to tracking your borrowed books by satellite and smiting the malefactors with a death-ray, using these new features may require an additional payment.

The current "beta" deal is $25 (life) or $10 (year) for over 200 books. This deal only applies to people who have taken advantage of it. It does not apply to people who have yet to pay when (if, actually) we raise the price.

Children prohibited

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) severely restricts what information can be collected from children under 13. For this reason, children under 13 are prohibited from using LibraryThing. Children 13 and over may participate with the permission and guidance of their parent or guardian. Users of all ages are warned not to provide profile information without weighing the risks and benefits, and never to provide their phone number, address or other critical personal data on-line.

Content posted to LibraryThing

By posting content to LibraryThing, you grant (and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant!) LibraryThing a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, omnipotent, royalty-free, fully-transferable and sublicenseable right to display, use, analyze, aggregate, modify, adapt, publish, translate, transform, create derivative works from and perform in any venue or media, online or offline, as well as

"In Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy, / And arts, though unimagined, yet to be." (Shelley, Prometheus Unbound)

This grant is restricted by the above promise that "LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party" as well as any additional promises attached to specific features (eg., reviews).

Reviews posted on LibraryThing.com may be used in LibraryThing for Library's reviews enhancement, an add-on feature libraries can purchase to show reviews within their online catalog. As a LibraryThing reviewer, you have the power to control whether their reviews are publicly available. If you have not chosen, the default is to make the reviews available. Click here to edit your profile and change your preference. It's under Account Settings > Your Book Reviews.

Please note that we do NOT assert copyright over the things you post to LibraryThing, and that the "non-exclusive" above means you can post your content elsewhere. By posting to LibraryThing you let us use, but you do not restrict what you can do with it. We love it when people post their reviews on their blog, on Amazon and other sites!

Participating in Talk and Groups

Use common sense. Be polite. Think before you post.

What's not allowed

  • Do not make personal attacks. As Wikipedia's policy states, "Comment on content, not on the contributor."
  • Do not use LibraryThing as an advertising medium. Egregious commercial solicitation is forbidden. No matter how great your novel, this does apply to authors.
  • Do not spam user comments or group invitations. Inviting people in your town to a new group is okay; inviting hundreds of members is not.
  • Do not repost flagged content in Talk. If you believed you were flagged unfairly, go ahead and discuss the issue (without getting personal). You can discuss it, with short selections. But you may NOT repost it. If people want to read it, they can; Talk allows you to click something to see the flagged content.
  • Do not create "pointless," "meaningless" or "random" groups. We give all groups the benefit of the doubt, but the creation of multiple, duplicative and contentless groups is against these terms.

How to deal with abuse

  • If you come across an abusive post, click the "flag abuse" link. The flag will be visible only after it has been flagged twice. After four different users have flagged a post, it will be deleted.
  • Please do not flag posts as "abuse" simply because you disagree with what is said, or if someone criticizes your favorite book, author, or idea—that's not abuse, it's a difference of opinion. We welcome differences of opinion!
  • Discussions can become heated and passionate—never forget that the person on the other side is human. If you're upset by something or someone, try to calm down before responding. Remember that LibraryThing Talk is public space; don't say anything to others that you wouldn't want a room full of people to overhear.

In extreme cases - if you feel that you're being harrassed, or if a flame war begins, please email email Tim at timAT SIGNlibrarything.com or Sonya at sonyaAT SIGNlibrarything.com.

Participating in Translation

See the Translation Guidelines and Legal Verbiage page for rules, norms and gentle reminders.

Automated Input and Retrieval

Except by permission or through an authorized API, you may not add to or query your library automatically.

Empty libraries

We retain the right to delete accounts with no books after three months.

Review integrity

LibraryThing allows members to participate in "book give-away" programs designed to give readers books and foster reviews. But we forbid reviews by or in the service of "pay-for-review" schemes.

The difference is a tricky one, so we have a number of requirements:

  • Reviewers must be free to write what they think. They may not be required or rewarded to write positive reviews, or punished for writing bad ones.
  • Reviewers must own and control their reviews, granting other parties only a non-exclusive license.
  • Reviewers must act on their own volition, cross-posting their review when and where they want. Companies that sell services based on how many sites get reviews are explicitly forbidden from using LibraryThing.
  • Reviewers must not be paid for their reviews, except in free books and similar non-monetary perks.

Miscellaneous things you can't do

Many of these fall under the category "don't be a jerk" and ought to be obvious:

  • LibraryThing may not be used for any illegal activity.
  • You may not plagiarize another member's content.
  • Users may not use LibraryThing to injure, threaten, stalk or harrass someone.
  • Users may not set up "shell" or "sock puppet" accounts in order to catalog more than 200 books or stack discussions.
  • Users who abuse the comment feature will have it turned off or be ejected without recourse.
  • Users may not use LibraryThing for unfair promotion. For example, authors may not add 500 copies of their book to LibraryThing in order to become the top book, even if they actually have 500 remaindered copies in their basement.
  • Do not upload X-rated pictures.
  • LibraryThing users may not subvert the system. For example, right now there is a bug that lets you add more than 200 books without paying if you do it in a special way. If you do this by accident, fine. If you do it on purpose, you have legally promised to pay us $10. Fork it over.
  • Your username may not be an insult, either general or specific. I'm amazed someone tried.
  • Your user name and other details may not be calculated to impersonate someone or some organization, including LibraryThing.

Legal weazle-words

These terms and conditions are subject to the usual change-at-any-time rule that websites put on their terms and conditions and which seem so unfair and arbitrary. ("What, tomorrow the privacy policy will require DNA samples?") We promise not to change any of the core principles above, particularly the sale of information rule, and to make substantive changes openly and with the opportunity for users to withdraw their accounts.

BY USING LIBRARYTHING.COM DIRECTLY OR THROUGH A MEDIUM LIKE A COMPUTER WITH A KEYBOARD AND MAYBE A MOUSE ATTACHED YOU AGREE TO TAKE THESE IMPORTANT AND CONSEQUENTIAL TERMS OF USE SERIOUSLY EVEN THOUGH, OR EVEN BECAUSE, WE HAVE ONLY ONE SENTENCE AT THE END IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

Disclaimers/Attributions

We proudly use some icons from these great icon sets:

Silk Icons and Fugue Icons

   
pile of books

(yes, these are my books)

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