Terms of Service

Helpareporter.com

HELPAREPORTER.COM TERMS OF SERVICE

These terms and conditions (the “Terms of Service”) govern your use, in any manner, including viewing content, of Vocus, Inc.’s (“HARO” or “us”, also referred to herein as HelpAReporter.com, HelpAReporter Out®, HARO®, or HelpAReporter) HelpAReporter.com web site.

1. General

HelpAReporter.com is the web site for the use of the members of HARO, a network designed to facilitate the flow of information sought by journalists from sources (the “Service”). The Service is owned and operated by Vocus, Inc., a Delaware corporation located at 12051 Beltsville, MD 20705.

There are three types of memberships in HARO: (1) Journalist Members, (2) Source Members and (3) Sponsors. The scope of your access to the site is dependent upon the type of membership you have. Pre-approval, as determined by HARO in its sole discretion, is required for all levels of membership. Eligibility for membership, in general, is determined by HARO in its sole discretion.

The three (3) types of memberships are further defined as follows:

Journalist Member: You must be a journalist. To become a member you simply post a query at the website (“Query”).  In posting Queries you must follow HARO’s guidelines for queries.  Please note that HARO reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject or deny any submitted queries.

Source Member: You are a person or entity, or represent a person or entity, which may be able to provide information in response to a Query.  To become a Source Member, you must complete and return the membership application which is located at http://HelpAReporter.com.

Sponsor Member: To become a member you must purchase advertisement spots that will appear in a HARO email.

2. Trademark and Copyright Protection; Patent Pending

We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Service. Any data you upload whose copyright is your own, remains yours. You may not duplicate copy or reuse any portion of the HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, or visual design elements or concepts without express written permission of HARO.   

3. Activation and Use

3.1 Access to HelpAReporter.com. In order to access the HelpAReporter.com web site or post a Query, you must be a member of HARO. Journalist Members log onto the Journalist Home Page and post a Query. Queries are given an anonymous email address. 

Source Members access the service by registering. Upon registering, Source Members will receive, from time to time, email listings of Queries submitted by Journalist Members. If a Source Member has relevant information which he or she believes, in good faith, can assist the Journalist Member with regard to the specific Query, then the Source Member may provide that information in response. The Source Member may not respond if the information is not in specific response to the Query and the Source Member may not utilize any information contained within the Query for any other purpose.

3.2. The FIVE RULES OF HARO. The FIVE RULES OF HARO are:

  1. Sources will receive three emails a day, Monday through Friday at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST, with queries from reporters and media outlets worldwide. Scan the emails, and if you're knowledgeable about any of the topics, answer the reporter directly through the anonymous @helpareporter.net email address provided at the beginning of the query.
  2. Do not spam reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.
  3. You may forward queries to others via email, but do not copy and paste them publicly on the Web.
  4. You're not allowed to harvest any reporter email addresses provided in the HARO emails for any reason.
  5. Be excellent to each other.

3.3. Impermissible Uses. You understand that you may not:

  • modify, adapt or hack the Service or modify another website so as to falsely claim or imply that it is associated with the Service, HelpAReporter.com, HARO, Vocus, Inc. or any other HARO service;
  • reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any portion (including, without limitation, the contents of the HARO email or similar notification, the look and feel of the HARO website, and the contents of the web pages of the Service, use the Service or access the Service without the express written permission of Vocus, Inc.;
  • verbally, physically, or otherwise abuse (including threats of abuse or retribution) any HARO member or HARO employee, agent or officer;
  • upload, post, host, or transmit unsolicited email, SMSs, or spam messages;
  • transmit worms or viruses or any code of a destructive nature;
  • as a Source Member, utilize the information provided in a Query other than to provide a relevant response to a Specific Query posted by a Journalist Member;
  • violate the FIVE RULES OF HARO set forth in section 3.2, above;
  • violate any applicable federal, state or local laws or regulations; or,
  • plagiarize, violate or otherwise infringe upon the trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, or any other rights of any person, firm or entity, expressly including but not limited to libel, slander or invasion of rights of privacy, publicity or "moral rights".

3.4. Representations and warranties. You represent and warrant that you will not use the Service for any illegal or unauthorized purpose.  If you submit materials as a Journalist Member or register to receive emails as a Source Member, you represent and warrant that you:

  • are a current Source Member or Journalist Member of the Service and meet the qualifications of same as defined in Section 1 hereof;
  • are at least 18 years of age;
  • are human (accounts accessed by "bots," spiders, or other automated methods are not permitted);
  • understand that the technical processing and transmission of the Service, including your content may be unencrypted and involve (a) transmission over various networks and (b) changes to conform and adapt to the technical requirements of connecting networks and devices;
  • understand that HARO cannot guarantee the identity of any other users with whom you may interact in the course of using the Service. Additionally, we cannot guarantee the authenticity of any data which users may provide about themselves or relationships they may describe;
  • you will use the Service in a manner consistent with any and all applicable laws and regulations. You will not engage in advertising to, or solicitation of, other members to buy or sell any products or services through the Service unless you are a Sponsor. You will not transmit any chain letters or junk email to other members. You are solely responsible for your interactions with other members. As a Source Member you will only contact the Journalist Members with relevant responses to specific Queries. We reserve the right, but have no obligation, to monitor and/or mediate disputes between You and other members;
  • You are solely responsible for the content or information you transmit to other members. You will not post on the Service, or transmit to other members or to Us or our employees, officers, directors and agents, any defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, obscene, profane, offensive, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, racially offensive, or illegal material, or any material that infringes or violates another party's rights (including but not limited to, intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and rights of privacy and publicity) or is subject to an enforceable privilege (including, without limitation, attorney-client or trade secret privileged material); and,
  • In connection with any content provided by you to HARO or its affiliates via the web site or via electronic mail ("User Content"), you warrant and represent to HARO that you have all rights, title and interests necessary to provide such User Content to HARO, and that your provision of the User Content to HARO shall not infringe any third party's proprietary or personal rights, including but not limited to any trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secret.
  • You agree that HARO has no responsibility or liability for the deletion, corruption or failure to post, store and/or forward any messages or other content (and/or to do so in a timely manner), including without limitation Query materials maintained or transmitted by the Service.

3.5. Monitoring and Enforcement. While HARO has the right to monitor activity and content associated with the Service, we are not obligated to do so. And since we do not, and may not have the ability to control or actively monitor content, we do not guarantee its accuracy, integrity or quality. Because community standards vary and individuals sometimes choose not to comply with our policies and practices, in the process of using the Service, you may be exposed to content that you find offensive or objectionable. You can contact us to let us know of content that you find objectionable. We may investigate the complaints and violations of our policies that come to our attention and may take any action that we believe is appropriate, including, but not limited to issuing warnings, removing the content or terminating accounts. However, because situations and interpretations vary, we also reserve the right not to take any action. Under no circumstances will we 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, access to, or denial of access to any content on the website.

3.6. Member Responsibilities.  You agree that you:

  • are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your login and membership account and your use of the Service, and are fully responsible for all activities that occur, and content posted, under your account with or without your knowledge;
  • will not share your login with anyone else;
  • will not share any confidential or privileged information received from the Service with any third parties;
  • will not use information received from the Service, such as member contact information, to help vendors pitch clients or, if a Source member, to contact Journalist Members based upon the information obtained from the Service for any reason other than to specifically respond with relevant information to Queries;
  • will not falsely state, impersonate, or otherwise misrepresent your identity, including but not limited to the use of a pseudonym, or misrepresenting your current or previous positions and qualifications, or your affiliations with a person or entity, past or present; and,
  • will not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content or initiate communications which include information that you do not have the right to disclose or make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships.

4. Backups

While HelpAReporter.com maintains backups of its servers, it cannot warrant or represent that such backups will provide full or partial coverage of the User Content. Accordingly, you must maintain backups of any User Content.

5. Grant of Access; Additional Terms of Service

5.1. You are granted a nonexclusive, non-concurrent, nontransferable, limited right to access the Service. Your responsibility extends to all activity and use under any member account information (e.g., email) that you use.  You may use the Service functionality only via HelpAReporter.com and you may not download, copy, reuse or distribute that functionality.

5.2. HARO reserves the right to monitor use of the Service to ensure compliance with these Terms of Service. If we determine that you are not in compliance with this Agreement, HARO reserves the right to take appropriate action including, but not limited to, suspension or cancellation of your account.

5.3. You may not copy, modify, reproduce, retransmit or otherwise utilize the HARO content in any other fashion or for any other purpose without the express written permission of the content's owner. You may only link to the web site for the purpose of directing other users to the site, and must remove any link to the site immediately upon request from HARO.

5.4. You hereby grant HARO a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully-paid license to use, copy, perform, or revise any User Content, including but not limited to any press query to be distributed via the Service.

5.5. You agree to immediately notify HARO of any unauthorized use of the Service or any other breach of security. HARO cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with this section. See also Section 9.

6. Warranties; Limitation of Liability

6.1. Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The service is provide on an "as is" and "as available" basis. You understand that HARO may use third party vendors and hosting partners to provide the necessary hardware, software, networking, storage and related technology to run the Service.

6.2. HARO does not warrant that (i) the Service will meet your specific 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) the quality of any products, services, information, or other material obtained by you through this Service will meet your expectations; (v) that all queries submitted by Journalist Members will be posted and/or be posted in a timely manner; (vi) that all responses to Queries posted anonymously will be timely and fully forwarded to the Journalist Member; and, (vii) any errors in the Service will be corrected.

6.3. Due to the number of sources from which information on the Service is obtained, and the inherent hazards of electronic distribution and the Internet, there may be delays, omissions, or inaccuracies in obtaining or accessing such information and the Service. HARO disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, reliability, operability or availability of information accessed through the Service. HARO disclaims any responsibility for the deletion, failure to store, mis-delivery, or untimely delivery of any information or material.

6.4. IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ANY PORTION OF THE SERVICE, OR WITH THESE TERMS OF SERVICE, YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY IS TO DISCONTINUE USING THE SERVICE.

6.5. THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS-IS", "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS. HARO, ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS, AND LICENSORS, CANNOT AND DO NOT WARRANT THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, CURRENTNESS, NONINFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SERVICE, OR THE SERVICE ITSELF. HARO, ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS AND LICENSORS MAKE NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND TITLE, AND ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES ARISING FROM STATUTE, COURSE OF DEALING, COURSE OF PERFORMANCE OR USAGE OF TRADE), REGARDING THE SERVICE OR THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SERVICE.  HARO Does not warrant or represent that the service will be free from errors, including omissions, interruptions, delays, losses or defects, whether human or mechanical. 

 6.6. HARO’s entire liability for damages for any claims arising under or in connection with your use of the Service, regardless of the cause of action, whether in contract or in tort (including without limitation, breach of warranty and negligence claims) shall be limited to $100.  In no event shall HARO have any liability to YOU for any claims or demands of third parties OR ANY lost profits, loss of business, loss of use, lost savings or other consequential, special, incidental, indirect, exemplary or punitive damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.  NEITHER HARO, NOR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS, OR LICENSORS, SHALL BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY LOSS OR INJURY CAUSED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY ITS NEGLIGENCE OR CONTINGENCIES BEYOND ITS CONTROL IN DELIVERING THE SERVICE AND ANY INFORMATION THROUGH THE SERVICE. IN NO EVENT WILL HARO, ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS, OR LICENSORS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY DECISION MADE OR ACTION TAKEN BY THE YOU IN RELIANCE ON SUCH INFORMATION.

6.7. HARO shall also have no responsibility or liability for any content created or posted by you or other third parties, as either a Journalist Member or a Source Member.

7. Termination

HARO may suspend or terminate your account at any time at its discretion.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, if your account becomes delinquent or you breach any term or condition herein, then, in addition to any of its other rights or remedies, HARO reserves the right to suspend your access to the Service, without liability to you.  Further, HARO reserves the right to publicize the identity of any misuser of HARO to all users of the Service.

8. Privacy

Registration data and other information about you are subject to HARO's Privacy Policy, available at http:// www.HelpAReporter.com/privacy. If you are located outside the United States, by subscribing to any HARO service you consent to your data being sent to the United States and transmitted, stored and utilized pursuant to the provisions of United States law.

9. Indemnification

You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless HARO, its employees, officers, directors, affiliates, contractors, attorneys, third party vendors and agents ("Indemnitees") against all claims, demands, expenses, liabilities, losses, costs, and damages, including reasonable attorney's fees, that the Indemnitees may incur in connection with (i) your use of the Service or any hyperlinked web site; (ii) a violation of any of your representations, warranties or obligations under this Agreement; (iii) content you submit, post, transmit, or make available through the Service, (iv) your use of the Service, (v) your connection to the Service; or (vi) your violation of any rights of another including but not limited to another's copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrets, or other intellectual property right.

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

10. Disclosure

We may disclose content and information about you, including contents of communications, if we deem it reasonably necessary to: (1) conform to legal requirements or respond to legal process; or (2) protect the rights, property, personal safety or interests of any of the Council members, HARO and/or its employees, officers, directors, contractors, attorneys and agents, its customers, or the public.

11. Content

As a Journalist or Source Member, you are solely responsible for all materials, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, that you upload, post, e-mail, transmit, or otherwise make available on or through the Service and/or as a result of a posting on HelpAReporter.com. By posting you content on the Service, or responding to a posting on the Service, you grant us a license to copy, distribute, modify and publicly display content that you post on the Service. The purpose of this license is to serve the mechanical and electronic requirements of maintaining the website and its associated syndication technologies. This license does not extend to any use outside of this scope. This license is granted and in force as long as the content exists on the site. Your use of the Service is in consideration for this license, we will not otherwise pay you for User Content. You represent and warrant that you have not granted and will not grant any rights inconsistent with this license.

12. Proprietary Rights

HARO owns and retains, to the fullest extent of the law, all rights in the Service including but not limited to its copyrighted material, trademarks, trade secrets, and other proprietary information. You will not distribute, transmit, transfer, offer, copy, publish, display, modify, or sell, assign, or sublicense any portion of the Service, its code, or any proprietary information on the Service, or any intellectual property or other proprietary right in any of the foregoing. You will not reverse engineer, reverse assemble, or otherwise attempt to discover any source code or proprietary information, or obtain unauthorized access to the Service. The foregoing does not apply to User Content.

13. International Use

You agree to comply with all local rules and laws regarding user conduct on the Internet and acceptable content. Specifically, you agree to comply with all applicable laws regarding obscene and indecent content and communications and those regarding the transmission of technical and personal data exported from the United States or the country in which you reside.

14. Fees and Payments

14.1.  You shall pay any fees or charges to your account in accordance with the fees, charges and billing terms in effect at the time a fee or charge is due and payable.  All payment obligations are non-cancelable and all amounts paid are nonrefundable.

14.2.  Charges, if applicable, for access to the Service are billed in advance on a monthly basis and you authorize HARO to charge the credit card on file for each monthly payment. There will be no refunds or credits for partial months of use of the Service or for upgrades/downgrades. You must provide HARO with valid credit card information to use certain functionality of the Service and you represent that you are the card holder of the credit card used for payment and are authorized to provide this authorization.  HARO reserves the right to modify its fees and charges and to introduce new charges at any time.  For any upgrade or downgrade in service level, your credit card will automatically be charged the new rate on your next billing cycle. If you miss a payment, HARO may notify you by phone or mail, but has no obligation to do so.  An invalid credit card or failure to remit payment in no way relieves you of payment for the Service. 

14.3.  If you cancel the Service before the end of your current paid month, your cancellation will take effect at the end of your current monthly billing period at which time your access will be terminated.

14.4.  All fees are exclusive of all taxes, levies, or duties imposed by taxing authorities, and you shall be responsible for payment of all such taxes, levies, or duties, excluding only United States (federal or state) taxes based solely on HARO’s income.  You agree that we may add such charges to your credit card for payment as part of your monthly account fees.  If you believe your bill is incorrect, you must contact us in writing within 60 days at the following address:  Vocus, Inc., Attn:  Legal Dept., 12051 Indian Creek Court, Beltsville, MD  20705.

14.5.  You agree to provide HARO with complete and accurate billing and contact information.  You agree to update this information within 30 days of any change to it.  If the contact information you have provided is false or fraudulent, HARO reserves the right to terminate your access to the Service in addition to any other legal remedies.

14.6.  Unless otherwise agreed to by HARO, amounts will be billed in U.S. dollars.

15. E-mail and Public Communications

"Communications" means letters, e-mails, postings, responses to postings, or other types of communications to the editors, Webmaster(s) or employees of HARO, and messages posted in connection with discussions on the web site including the response to Queries. You shall not upload to, distribute through, or otherwise publish through a forum on the web site any content which is libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, threatening, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, illegal, privileged, trade secret, or otherwise objectionable that would constitute or encourage a criminal offense, violate the rights of any party, or that would otherwise give rise to liability or violate any law.

You shall not, without our express approval, distribute or otherwise publish any material containing any solicitation of funds, promotion, advertising, or solicitation for goods or services, except with regards to the provision of relevant information in response to a specific Query.

Subject to the terms of the HARO privacy policy, in general, we will not monitor or edit the contents of Queries or site emails unless required in the course of normal maintenance of the web site and its systems or unless required to do so by law or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to: (1) comply with the law or comply with legal process served on HARO; (2) protect and defend the legitimate business interests, rights or property of HARO, its users, customers, members, or affiliates; or (3) act in an emergency to protect the personal safety of our members or the public. Users shall remain solely responsible for the content of their communications. HARO has the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit or remove any forum communications or content.

By uploading materials in response to any Query through the Service, or submitting any materials to us, you automatically grant (or warrant that the owner of such rights has expressly granted) us a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from and distribute such materials or incorporate such materials into any form, medium, or technology now known or later developed.

16. Miscellaneous

16.1. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of Maryland exclusive of its conflict of laws provisions.  Any suit hereunder will be brought in the federal or state courts located in the State of Maryland, and you submit to the personal jurisdiction thereof.  The parties agree that the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods shall not apply to this Agreement.

16.2. The failure of HARO to exercise or enforce any right or provision of the Terms of Service shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. Any waiver of any provision of the Terms of Service will be effective only if in writing and signed by HARO.  All rights not expressly granted to you herein are reserved by Vocus, Inc.

16.3. You acknowledge and agree that you and HARO are independent contractors, and nothing herein shall be construed to create a partnership, joint venture, agency, or employment relationship.  Neither party has the authority to enter into agreements of any kind on behalf of the other, nor shall either party be considered the agent of the other party.

16.4. You consent to receive communications from HARO concerning the Service electronically by email to the email address you provided in connection with your account.  You also consent to receive communications by telephone or by postal mail sent to any postal address you provided in connection with your account.  You may change the email or postal address to which HARO sends communications by notifying HARO in writing (which may be by e-mail).  Notices provided to you via email will be deemed given and received on the transmission date.  Official correspondence to HARO must be sent via postal mail to:

Vocus, Inc.
12051 Indian Creek Court
Beltsville, MD 20705

16.5. You are responsible for all activity occurring under your account and shall abide by all applicable local, state, national and foreign laws, treaties and regulations in connection with your use of the Service.  Your obligations shall be binding on your heirs, successors and assigns.

16.6. These Terms of Service, as presently in effect, and as modified from time to time, constitute the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and govern your use of the Service. These Terms of Service supersede and replace all prior or contemporaneous understandings or agreements, written or oral, regarding such subject matter including, but not limited to, prior versions of the Terms of Service.  HARO reserves the right to modify these Terms of Service or its policies relating to the Service at any time, effective upon posting of an updated version on the Service.  You are responsible for regularly reviewing the Terms of Service.  Continued use of the Service after any such changes shall constitute your consent to such changes.  We may change or discontinue any part of this Service, without notice, at any time, at our sole discretion.

News agencies that use HARO:

  • fox
  • gannett
  • dowjones
  • meredith
  • abc
  • AP