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Changes to Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hi everyone

SparkPeople has revised its Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy in order to make these policies consistent with our member-focused practices. We are working hard to build a grassroots movement that will help millions for people improve their health and reach amazing goals. Member success stories and testimonials are extremely motivational and help spread the spark. SparkPeople has tremendous respect for our members and therefore we want to be clear about how member information might be re-published.

The main changes are as follows:
1) SparkPeople removed the terms allowing us to share personally identifiable information that you enter in program setup or tracking with 3rd parties. SparkPeople has not ever shared/sold member personal identifiable information, but we wanted to make this an official policy.
2) SparkPeople will not republish user-generated content from private SparkTeams. We have never published content from private Teams, but we wanted to include this in our policy as a reply to member questions.
3) SparkPeople does not distribute user-generated content to third parties that contains member personal identifiable information without permission. Again we have never published user content containing personal information without permission, but wanted to make this an official policy.
4) SparkPeople does aggregate member information such as pounds lost and exercise minutes, so we need to have the ability to collect this data. This is helpful for us to do things like form partnerships with other companies.

Please post a comment with any questions, thanks!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
THREEE 10/2/2009 9:06PM

    thanks for crossing the t's you were already practicing...

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LEELORAINE08 9/22/2009 10:39AM

    This is the best place. THANK YOU SP!!!!!!!!!!

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BECKOUS 9/22/2009 8:38AM

  I am glad to find something that is free that really works emoticon

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    I re-read all the terms and stuff. I should have just looked here for the updates. I was reading some comments from other sparkers and I think they raised some valid concerns. I do appreciate the answer about how you dont actually own rights to any of our creations. I am an artist as well as a musician and I always take into consideration whether or not I want to share something. Not so much because of your site but because ANYONE can just rip something off or make a "derivative work". What I put on spark is mainly focused on weightloss and getting healthy, I feel like I am contributing to the community rather than trying to further my own cause while on this site. You are furthering my weight loss and healthy lifestyle cause and Im happy with that. Thanks for the update. I will note that private teams and communications are an alternative. Thanks for giving us a choice in the matter. I think many people would be surprised if they read the terms and conditions of sites these days. Its outrageous (I read every site I go on, its a major drag but many times you are only authorized to use the site if you have read them, sound familiar?). Your site is actually pretty laid back and offers the user lots of room -I have read a ton of terms so I know form experience. Other sites actually DO CLAIM OWNERSHIP TO WHAT YOU CREATE!!!! You dont thanks! people: ALWAYS READ THE TERMS!!!!
Blessings 2 ya!
Mrs. K

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BJEWELD 9/1/2009 8:24PM

  I just needed to be reassured that this program is totally, absolutely, undoubtedly, FREE!

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GRANDMANAY 8/31/2009 10:24PM

    In reference to kuzinkeith's message. First of all, I love the creativity of your photo. That cracked me up.

In response to your remark about greed, how can this be considered greedy when they are providing their service for free? I paid for a similar site before I found Sparkpeople and the total got up to a few hundred a year. I appreciate the heart of this site! As far as partnering with other companies and utilizing our success information, I am all for that. The companies who agree to be a part of this site through advertising on here are helpful to know about, and if anything I share on here can help another person who struggles with eating and health issues, then I have paid it forward so to speak.

I understand protecting our identification, such as credit card, social, etc, but this site is FREE so there is none of that type of privacy as an issue. We don't have to live in a state of paranoia just yet. emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/31/2009 10:42:41 PM

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ANDREA383 8/31/2009 6:57PM

  Good to know.

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COACHPENNY 8/30/2009 1:10PM

    Thank you for answering my question but, to take it further, the issue with "member identifiable information" seems refer to the member written content that has no words that identify the author. I take that to mean that even if the author refuses to give you permission to reprint and/or publish this content, you reserve the right to do so long as the member is not identified. That is a bit different couldn't locate the author.

Would you clarify that as well?

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CHAR0324 8/30/2009 1:02AM

    Thank you for the reassurance. Privacy is definitely a major concern for me when posting information on any website.

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NANAPATTYB 8/29/2009 7:21PM

    Thank you

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SHADOZA 8/29/2009 5:27PM

    I agree with what Barbarasdiet and Fox2566 stated. Privacy is a serious issue with me and I appreciate that is working to keep my personal life private. I stand on the simple logic: If I don't want it stolen, I don't post it ANYWHERE on the internet. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRANNIEJAC 8/29/2009 9:29AM

  Keep up the good work and thanks for being concerned and doing your part to help the world to be a better place for us all.

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FOX2566 8/28/2009 9:40PM

  Interesting...I am not concerned about my not so genius contibutions making me money! So far, I have found value in the sharing...

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GEORGIAGRANNY 8/28/2009 9:23PM


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BARBARASDIET 8/28/2009 6:00PM

    Geez, if you have such an issue with the policies as stated, for heaven's sake find another site. And good luck with that!

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KUZINKEITH 8/28/2009 5:37PM

    WOW --- So it is all about SPARK. I find your answer to COACHPENNY sums up your capitalistic leanings. Heaven forbid you should have to extend some effort and actually try to find a member before profiting from their words. Oh well ... I'll take the good stuff y'all do, and be grateful for that.

Like so many of my artistic brothers & sisters we'll avoid putting anything original on here.
It's too bad fellow sparkers are being discouraged from sharing with each other due to your greed.

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CARLI_MAE 8/28/2009 3:48PM

    Thank you for finally confirming what many of us thought we were reading all along below in your response to COACHPENNY.

Regretably, many of us see the policy for exactly what it is ... a way for SP to profit from our work without having to compensate us in any way as contributors, as defined in the U.S. Code. As far as I know, under other circumstances, the lack of contact information or a copyright symbol on a work, does not exempt those who would duplicate it for profit from liability under the law. Hence the reason you feel it necessary to retain the clause in your TOS/TOU.

I can live with that. Those of us who feel as I do can still comply with your terms simply by not posting anything of significance or importance to us on the site, which is exactly what has been happening since this issue first came up & will continue to be the case. Thank goodness the terms do not require us to "spread the spark" or purchase items from the Spark Store, as I would just as soon give my money to GM ... (oh, yeah, we've already done that ... LOL ... but at least it's having a beneficial effect on the economy).


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TINY67 8/28/2009 11:48AM

    Thanks, the blogs are interesting and helpful at the same time.

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DJHEILMANN 8/28/2009 11:42AM

    COACHPENNY, you are correct that we retain the right to republish without permission. The reason is so that if there is something great that we want to use but cannot contact the person (typically because we don't have a current email address) that we can still publish. However, for our upcoming book we only republished motivational user content segments where we received permission for the member.


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SPEAKCANADA 8/28/2009 10:25AM

  Every time I read something on this site it seems the concern is for us as participants. Thank you and all those here for thinking of me today, because I was forgetting to for so many years.

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COACHPENNY 8/28/2009 10:24AM

    I am happy that you have addressed some of the concerns about user generated content and personal information but, I have a question about this excerpt from the changes to your terms and conditions:

"#3 SparkPeople does not distribute user generated content to 3rd parties that contains member identifiable information without permission. Again, we have never published user content without permission but wanted to make this an official policy."

While you are saying that you have never published user content without permission....the "rule" says that Sparkpeople does not distribute user content that contains member identifiable info without permission.

My concern the qualifier "that contains member identifiable information"

SO, are you saying that if there is no member identifiable info in the content, you reserve the right to publish user content without permission??

It might be splitting hairs to you but, I'd like you to clarify the intent of the inclusion of that qualifier.

Rights to my own writing is an important matter to me and Spark acts as a creative outlet for many of us. I would not want your policies inhibiting the use of this the site in this manner nor inhibit my recommendation that others use this site.


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DJHEILMANN 8/28/2009 9:42AM

    Thanks for the note KUZINKEITH. As a quick note, our terms indicate that we can republish some things on a non-exclusive basis. This means that you retain ownership of anything you post, and can re-post or sell to anyone else in any medium.

Dave H.

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KUZINKEITH 8/28/2009 9:27AM

    I thank you for making it clear that you won't publish any "personally identifiable information". That is important.
But it seems you will still OWN everything we put in a blog and any recipes folks might create.
You do a lot of good for people with this site. However, your refusal to give up your "ownership" of material we write disturbs me deeply.
You are keeping some creative folks from sharing because of this policy. But, I guess it is YOUR site, not ours --- you've made that clear now.

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HISOWN1 8/28/2009 9:10AM

    thanks ofr thinking us us during our joournies.

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JACKIE1027 8/28/2009 8:24AM

    Thanks for the info!


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TAZ675 8/28/2009 7:45AM

    Thanks for the update

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REDSOXFAN4803 8/28/2009 7:37AM

    thank you for the changes

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AFIFE0878 8/28/2009 7:27AM

    Thanks for the update.

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MY-2-GIRLZ 8/28/2009 7:15AM

    Thanks for the changes

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AGUEHIAN 8/28/2009 6:55AM

  Thank you for sending me this email and for these changes.

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DENRNAJ 8/28/2009 6:20AM

    Thanks for making this come to my email so I'm aware of any changes. I am also grateful for this site remaining free. I have recommended it to so many others not just as weight loss but for education about healthy living. Everyone asks the same thing when I talk about SP- how much does it cost and what's the catch?? No catch- but you're really gonna want the shirt when you start losing and getting healthier!!!!! emoticon

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GARPER 8/28/2009 1:43AM

    I want to add my thanks to those already posted. SparkPeople has made the difference for me. And I appreciate the fact that it's free more than you know. If it were not I wouldn't be able to be here. So much work has gone into this site. It's extremely intricate. May God continue to bless you as you continue to bless others..

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 8/28/2009 1:04AM

    Thank you for these changes

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YATMAMA 8/28/2009 12:30AM

    It's not easy to strike a balance here. This is a message our world sorely needs to hear. I personally want to shout it from the rooftops (and I do, wherever I go). Doing that and not violating the privacy of members is not an easy thing. Thank you for caring enough about us to make these changes. I appreciate that.


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PRAIRIEDAWNPAM 8/28/2009 12:26AM

    I agree with all that Carley6531 posted:

"1. I'd like to see a change that would allow me to choose whether or not I want my profile to be found on outside search engines. FaceBook has that choice.
2. I would like to make all my SP profile & blogs available to SP members only. I don't want outsiders seeing my stuff!
3. Also, I'd like to be able to see a list of who has subscribed to my blog (SP members & outsiders if this is possible). It would be good to have the choice to block certain people or members from reading my blog."

Thanks for the changes you've made, so far.


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WILLOW49 8/28/2009 12:17AM

    Thanks for this update.

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DIVALICIOUS7 8/28/2009 12:14AM


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DMLADY1229 8/27/2009 11:52PM


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JUDYBUGS 8/27/2009 11:32PM


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AJANNIE 8/27/2009 11:23PM

    thanks for the update

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LACEEJO11 8/27/2009 11:22PM

    Thank you so much for protecting all of us SPARKERS, and watching out for our rights. It is so nice to have a safe place to share and make friends without fear of being exploited. Plus that nothing is free this site is such a wonderful thing to have.

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CLAVINOVA 8/27/2009 11:09PM

    Thanks for posting this policy and glad you are so concerned about your sparkfriends! I am so glad I found sparkpeople and I love it - thanks so much for setting up this fantastic site and everything about it. I am a new person because of everything you offer on here and am really grateful!!

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100MILLBUTRFLYS 8/27/2009 11:08PM

    Thanks for the update!

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BRN2BSKINNY 8/27/2009 10:59PM

    Thanks for the update.

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DIGBOI 8/27/2009 10:57PM

    Thanks for the update.

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NO_SNOW_BODY 8/27/2009 10:28PM

    thank you for the update, I think it is clear to me

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ID_VANDAL 8/27/2009 9:48PM

    I also agree with Carley6531. Also nice to deal without someone who keeps the customer first.

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MILDEXSPI 8/27/2009 9:48PM

    I agree with Carley6531, I would also prefer the option of deciding whether or not I want my profile and other activity here on SP searchable on outside search engines.

I do appreciate the summary of the changes to the T&C's. Thank you.

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GRANDMARANDI 8/27/2009 9:31PM

  Thank you very much for keeping us updated.

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A2PRIL 8/27/2009 9:17PM

    Thank you for this information. Much appreciated :)

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.