UMASS Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution


*Note: This is a suggested policy template or draft upon which NativeWeb may choose to model its own Terms of Service Agreement. It has been prepared by Justin Lavallee at the Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The purpose of this policy is to outline a mechanism through which NativeWeb might more successfully maintain use of message boards while minimizing risk of legal liability. It is merely a suggestion to be adopted by NativeWeb at its own risk, and is not meant to represent a failsafe from legal liability for NativeWeb though they should execute all actions pursuant to this agreement. Usage Policies:


NativeWeb is an international, nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to using telecommunications including computer technology and the Internet to disseminate information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world; to foster communication between native and non-native peoples; to conduct research involving indigenous peoples' usage of technology and the Internet; and to provide resources, mentoring, and services to facilitate indigenous peoples' use of this technology. Membership within this organization, as well as use of the various services provided by this organization will be contingent on agreement to and subsequent behavior in accordance with the following rules and regulations. NativeWeb reserves the right to remove membership from and block services to any individual or group that NativeWeb finds in violations of its usage policies.



NativeWeb wishes to offer this discussion space to all users of all different races and nationalities across the world in order to promote meaningful and interesting dialogue. NativeWeb does not wish to need to act as a constant policing body that needs to monitor appropriateness of discussions full time. The following rules outline what will be considered acceptable behavior within the discussion forums, and what procedures shall be engaged in if user behavior does not agree to this policy. As a general rule, be nice to other users. Do not engage in personal attacks, do not type in all capital letters, and do not say anything in these forums that you would not say to someone’s face. If everyone is able and willing to follow these general guidelines and pursues discussion in this manner this space will be a much more positive place. NativeWeb does not wish act as a babysitter, and has had to shut these forums down in the past. Please abide with these general rules of politeness do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be aware of the diverse collection of views and backgrounds of those reading your posts.

Collection of member names and information:

Nicknames and other usernames may be used when posting in the forums; however, we request that members use their real first and last name when signing up for the service. Names are the only information that will appear publicly when posting, email addresses and any other personal information collected will be for the exclusive use of NativeWeb only, and will not be sold or otherwise transmitted to any other third parties. Failure to provide NativeWeb with full and accurate information during registration can constitute grounds for banning from use of NativeWeb services.

Topics of Discussion:

NativeWeb hosts a threaded discussion community in which each thread has a topic. Please limit conversations within NativeWeb message boards to the topic listed at the top of the thread for discussion. Posts which are directed at another user outside of the realm of the discussion, clearly off topic, or commercial in nature may be removed at NativeWeb’s discretion at any time without warning.


Inappropriate Language:

NativeWeb bans the use of any inappropriate or offensive language in its forums. For these purposes, inappropriate or offensive language shall be defined as including, but not being limited to, any language or content that is sexually oriented, sexually suggestive or abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, or that contains otherwise objectionable material of any kind. NativeWeb realizes that some of the dialogue generated on this site will involve discussion of racial and ethnic issues that have the opportunity to be very sensitive personal issues to those participants. We wish to foster beneficial discussions in our forums of race and ethnicity issues both past and present; however, any discussion of racial issues that use elements of the discussion to attack or belittle another member will be herein considered inappropriate and forbidden. Determination of the appropriateness of all remarks shall be under the sole discretion of NativeWeb and its agents. Please take other NativeWeb members into consideration when writing our posts.

Harassment and Flaming:

Members of NativeWeb shall not act in a manner defined as harassing or "flaming” other members. This includes posting or transmission of any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable material of any kind, including, but not limited to, any material which encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, violate the rights of others, or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law. This shall include any comment made with the intention of disparaging any members or topics of discussion, even if it does not fall within the strict definition of the above language. NativeWeb and its agents understand that racial and ethnic issues will be discussed in these forums, and again we acknowledge that these issues will be very sensitive and may strike deep personal chords. If and when we feel that the discussion has gone beyond a legitimate debate or dialogue such as what we wish to foster and has crossed the line into a realm of harassment of flaming, disciplinary actions will be taken. This action is outlined in the sections titled: Suspension and Deletion of member Accounts, Uncomfortable Behavior, Suspension Process, and Deletion and Removal.

Copyrighted or Trademarked Materials:

No user may post copyrighted or trademarked materials unless that user is either the copyright or trademark holder, or the user has the express written permission of said holder to reproduce that material on NativeWeb forums. Links to copyrighted material, and or paraphrasing and excerpting copyrighted material in accordance with U.S. copyright law is acceptable. Any material which is disputed as being copyrighted or trademarked will be immediately removed from NativeWeb servers, and the burden of proof to show that the material was being properly used will fall on the user. 

Piracy or Unlawful Activities:

It is against NativeWeb policy to discuss any unlawful activities of any sort in these forums. This includes but is not limited to discussion of pirating software, any distribution of pirating software, or software pirating techniques. Additionally, discussion of any bomb making techniques or materials, discussions of the sale of firearms or explosives, or discussion of any other illegal activity, either in the cyber world or the physical world will be considered a violation of this agreement. It is the responsibility of NativeWeb members to be familiar with what topics may violate local laws.

Spamming and advertising:

Spamming shall be defined as posting the same message in ten or more locations at the same time. This is not permitted. NativeWeb hosts a community in which individuals may gather to exchange ideas. At the current time, we do not offer any services for commercial entities. Anything which is interpreted as being a blatant advertisement will be removed, and posting advertisements will constitute grounds for account removal. Those affiliated with a specific product or service are welcome to post messages so long as they are relevant to the topic being discussed, the member’s affiliation with the product or service is made known, and the post is strictly informational in nature, without any elements of advertisement.

Images and offensive material:

NativeWeb does not allow the posting of any images of a sexually graphic nature, or images that would be considered obscene or otherwise offensive. Members may post links in lieu of directly posting these images; however, should links to any offensive material be posted, they should be accompanied with a warning as to the nature of the material in question. Any material that is posted that NativeWeb feels is pornographic or otherwise offensive will be removed immediately.

Posting Links:

NativeWeb is open to the suggestion of any links that members may wish to have posted in the links section of the website. Once links are scanned for the appropriateness of material, they will be added to the links section. It is fully at the discretion of NativeWeb as to whether or not a link is appropriate, and links may be removed at any time without explanation or advance warning. Links posted by members in the forums must conform to all rules agreed upon within this usage policy, or they may be removed and possible disciplinary actions taken.

General Conduct:

No member is to submit any content which is: (a) is libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, harassing or threatening, (b) contains viruses or other contaminating or destructive features, (c) violates the rights of others, such as Content which infringes any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or violates any right of privacy or publicity, or (d) otherwise violates any applicable law. No member shall post a link to an external site which is obscene or pornographic, or which violates any international, federal, state, or local laws. No member shall use this space for any commercial purposes, be it through advertising or otherwise soliciting information from other members.

Suspension and Deletion of member Accounts:

Any NativeWeb member who violates any part of the user agreement understood as the NativeWeb policy may have his or her account temporarily suspended or permanently removed at the sole discretion of NativeWeb and its agents. Members will be notified of any violations or impending disciplinary actions through the email address supplied to NativeWeb during registration. Problems will be reported through a user initiated complaint process, complaints should be made to the following email address. <address here> NativeWeb moderators reserve the right but are under no obligation to actively monitor any posts for problems.

Uncomfortable Behavior:

Members may, at times, engage in behavior which makes other users or the moderator uncomfortable, though in and of itself this behavior does not violate the letter of the law outlined in this policy. In the event that this happens, a NativeWeb moderator shall attempt to engage the offensive party or parties in a voluntary mediation with the offended party. Participation in this process shall be completely voluntary, and no punitive action may be taken as a result of the initiation of this process. It shall be used in an attempt to diffuse and defray larger and more serious policy violation which could result in punishment of users. In the event that this method is unsuccessful, and a dispute expands until it does violate the law, the normal procession of review and suspension or deletion shall proceed as outlined below.


Suspension Process:

Any member who violates the letter or intention of the policy will be warned through email that the policy has been violated. Along with the warning will be a brief explanation of what section of the policy was violated. This warning is considered official, and it is the responsibility of the NativeWeb member to ensure that a valid and active email address is on file so that these emails are received and read. In the event that the problem persists, offending parties will be notified that if behavior continues they shall be suspended immediately for the amount of time NativeWeb sees fit. If the NativeWeb official receives no response or acknowledgment, and the problem still persists, the account will be suspended after no more than five days. The suspension shall last a minimum of fifteen days, and may vary depending on the severity of the offense. NativeWeb reserves the right to suspend at their discretion any member, who repeatedly violates policy briefly, but then stops after receiving a warning email. Any member guilty of policy violation, as determined by a NativeWeb Moderator, who did or should have known better will face discretionary suspension. A notice of suspension shall be sent to the provided email address, along with instructions for appeal.

Deletion and Removal:

Any member who has his or her account suspended three or more times shall be permanently banned from use of NativeWeb services. Also, any user who is repeatedly belligerent, and persistently violates policy in the NativeWeb forums shall be permanently banned, even if that user complied with policy after each warning email but then proceeded to cause trouble in a different forum soon thereafter. A notice of removal shall be sent to the provided email address, along with instructions for appeal. A total of five policy violations shall be considered sufficient for pursuit of this avenue.


Any member who violates NativeWeb policy and who receives disciplinary action has the right to appeal the decision on which the action was based. An appeal shall be granted if the appellee is able to show that the NativeWeb agent responsible for making the decision was misinterpreting the policy described herein, or that the policy was not actually violated. Disciplinary actions taken pursuant to violation of the intent of the policy, even if the letter of the law as outlined by the policy was not violated shall be considered permissible. Members who are notified via email that they have violated policy and that some action is being taken shall have a maximum of thirty days within which to write an appeal. Appeals should be submitted via email and sent to the following NativeWeb email address. <insert address here> Instructions on how to make an appeal should be included in the email notifying the user of the violation; however, failure to do so shall not be grounds for reversing the decision or holding NativeWeb otherwise accountable. It is the responsibility of NativeWeb’s members to be familiar with this policy, and the rights outlined for individual users herein.

Hardware and Equipment:

Each NativeWeb member is responsible for obtaining and maintaining all telephone, computer hardware and other related equipment needed for access to and use of the Site and all charges related thereto.

Message Boards:

For most message boards, you will need to obtain a login id and password in order to log into our system and post messages. You can read messages without being logged in. NativeWeb and its administrators take no responsibility for any materials posted to Anonymous boards. We will remove spam or offensive materials from any board. Business advertisements are not allowed. However, postings of relevant information about businesses or their products are allowed within the context of the board's purpose or conversation.

Process Initiation:

A dispute resolution process may be triggered in three ways. Firstly, a NativeWeb moderator, who has the right but not the obligation to monitor any posts, may notice a problem and take appropriate action to solve that problem. Secondly, a user who is directly involved in a dispute may initiate a complaint by emailing NativeWeb at the following address: <address here.> Thirdly, a third party user neither involved in a dispute nor affiliated with NativeWeb may register a complaint about the behavior of other members in the forums. Emails to NativeWeb should include a link to the page containing the offending text, a brief excerpt of the offensive text itself, and an explanation of the involvement of the person reporting the violation, and a brief explanation of why the user considered the text offensive.

Opinions and Interpretations:

The views and opinions expressed in materials appearing in NativeWeb are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily state or reflect those of NativeWeb, Inc., and shall not be used for advertising or endorsement purposes. NativeWeb does not endorse any political position or activity identified in this web site nor through its agreements with hosted organizations.

Recognizing that the World Wide Web is a dynamic, interactive, and exploratory environment, the content of the linked sites and hosted resources may change and expand over time. NativeWeb reserves the right to terminate any link or resource at any time.


Upon a request by NativeWeb, you agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless NativeWeb, and its employees, contractors, officers, and directors from all liabilities, claims, and expenses, including attorney's fees that arise from your use or misuse of this site. NativeWeb reserves the right, at it own expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you, in which event you will cooperate with NativeWeb in asserting any available defenses.



Neither NativeWeb, Inc., nor any of its staff, employees, contractors, or subcontractors,: (1) make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any text, image, or materials in any website linked with the "NativeWeb" website; or (2) represent that their use would not defame or violate or infringe upon the rights, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademarks, or any other intellectual property rights, moral rights, publicity rights, or privacy rights of any other person or entity.


NativeWeb welcomes your comments or questions about the "NativeWeb" website and appreciates reports of problems and suggestions for improvements of this site. If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to make, please contact us. Because of the volume of usage on the site, however, NativeWeb may not be able to respond directly to your inquiry.

Acceptance of Terms:

By using this site, you signify your assent to these policies. If you do not agree to these conditions, please do not use this site.

© 2003 Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution