Last Modified: September 10, 2017 (formatting only)
Let us start with a few words. Service. Cookies. Privacy. Law. Though these words can be confusing what with all the muggle governments we're forced to answer to just to use the internet these days, one of our highest priorities here at HPFanficTalk ('HPFT') is transparency. So before you jump in and join the fun, please read this page carefully.
This page is our community's terms of service ('TOS'). Basically, fancy words that mean that by using HPFT - even as a guest - you are agreeing to be bound by everything you see here, plus our Site Guidelines. We'll say it again (nicely) - please read this page carefully.
Also, keep in mind that this page is a 'living' document that may be updated from time-to-time as those aforementioned governments modify their laws or as community needs demand, so be sure to check back at least a few times a year. You'll always know whether anything's different because even the slightest tweak also means a change to that 'last modified' date you see at the top of your screen.
The HPFT Archive (the 'Archive') is powered by free, open-source database software developed and shared by the eFiction Project. We run a modified version of eFiction version 3.5.5 that we tinker with here and there to make sure things keep running smooth and that we're creating the best user experience and interface we can for you. Currently our services are provided via a server in the United States.
As mentioned above, following the Site Guidelines is a must, but it's not the end-all-be-all.
We also must insist that you don't misuse our services. What is 'misuse'? Generally, this means not attempting unauthorized access to the Archive or specific areas of the community that you haven't been granted access to by administrators, staffers, or other members designated by site policy. Don't try to modify the site, alter, delete, hide, or otherwise modify notices - especially legal notices like this one. Don't break any laws while using our service and don't try to appropriate the intellectual property of the site or any of your fellow users. Also, please don't Archive and drive, while crossing a busy street, or engaging in any other dangerous activity. We do permit mobile access, but we'd like you to be with us for a long time.
While guests can do certain things on the Archive, it's also important to understand that certain activities and areas are reserved for registered users only. If you decide to take the plunge (and we sincerely hope you do), keep your password safe because you and only you are responsible for the activity that takes place on your account. Though we hope we're never forced down this road, TOS violators and other rule-breakers can have their account temporarily suspended or permanently disabled. If you're concerned that your account has been compromised, contact an administrator or staff immediately. They have tools at their disposal to help.
Finally, in order to ensure absolute compliance with United States law (the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act or 'COPPA') and regulations implementing it (16 C.F.R. 312 or the 'COPPA Rule') we do not permit individuals younger than thirteen (13) from utilizing the Archive, directly or indirectly. Users and/or accounts that attempt to skirt this prohibition will be banned.
Though we never like to be downers, there are reasons that even the largest online archives on the Internet cannot accept fanfiction attached to particular authors, brands, fandoms, films, or stories. That's because being hosts of your work can put an even bigger target on our backs for those who fail to see the creative and transformative value in your work - or who just don't like it.
Accordingly, despite the fact that the law isn't quite settled on where fanfiction falls within the vast realm of copyright, the best practice for you and for the site is to avoid writing fanfiction based on the works of companies or people who have either sued authors and sites for hosting such works, threatened such suits, or expressly stated that they do not support the publication of fanfiction in association with their work. For us, making that best practice a guaranteed reality means that we ban fanfiction based on the following sources:
This list of prohibited sources includes, in the case of individuals, any works they have created or published under aliases, pen names, or pseudonyms and in the case of 'open' or unfinished serial works, any characters, places, universes, or worlds they have created and in the case of entities, any intellectual property which they hold valid legal right to, including after-acquired rights (such as The Walt Disney Company's rights in Star Wars).
Members are also not authorized to use living people as characters in their stories. Mere references are acceptable. Members are authorized to use historical figures as characters in their stories. Though we permit the inclusion of properly attributed quotes, lyrics, etc. in work hosted on the Archive, such inclusions cannot exceed ten percent (10%) of the total content of any single chapter or story posted. Failure to abide by these particular rules will result in the immediate removal of offending content or serve as grounds for rejection of such content. Repeated violations or attempts to violate such rules will be grounds for not just removal or rejection of the work(s), but temporary suspension or permanent disabling of a member's account.
Like others of its kind, our site also expressly disclaims ownership of any hosted material which is readily identifiable as the copyrighted or otherwise protected intellectual property of non-members. Such material, when it appears, is the sole property of its original owner or their assigns, devisees, heirs, or successors in interest.
Finally, because one of the few things that keeps fanfiction out of the crosshairs is its non-commercial, non-profit nature, any discovered attempt to sell or offer for sale any work that is posted on the Archive will result in immediate removal of said work and an immediate, permanent ban on such individual(s) account(s).
When it comes to your privacy, you can trust the Archive with two things: (1) we only collect the information necessary to allow the community to function and (2) we only use said information for internal, site-related purposes.
What does that mean? Let's start with the word 'collect' so everyone is on the same page. This doesn't mean Archive administrators and validators maintain some massive spreadsheet of everything our users have ever done or said as part of the community. It does mean that certain information is maintained on our servers or even on your local computer or mobile device. Most of the time any data collection that happens is either passive (like logging an IP address), or user-initiated (like modifications you make to your account profile).
What do we collect? Using the definition above, we collect two types of information: (1) the information you give us (you should always know what that is) and (2) the information that's generated by you using our site. Since the second category is a little less clear on its own, the list below should give you a good idea of what we're talking about:
That list is not one 100% exhaustive, but it's pretty darn close.
Do I have any control? Of course you do. When you're first getting acquainted with the Archive, you'll find a lot of different settings that will help control how private your experience will be. If you've got any questions, just ask an administrator or validator and they'll do everything they can to help make sure the choice you've made matches the choice you thought you were making and can tell you how what you see and do will change based on those choices. You can also use your browser settings to block certain data collection like cookies.
What about third-parties? Aside from information discussed above that may need to be passed to a third-party server to make the Archive work, we will only share collected information with the following third-parties: site administrators, validators, and government agencies, individuals, or organizations to whom disclosure is made reasonably necessary in order to meet valid legal or regulatory demands or obligations, to ensure user or site security, and to enforce the TOS and site policies.
Remember that any information you post publicly may be locatable via search engines. Stay safe, friends!