Policy Atlas:Terms Of Use

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The below section is a summary of the Terms of Use. To read the full terms, scroll down.

Summary of the Terms of Use

This is a human-readable summary of the Terms of Use.

Disclaimer: This summary is not a part of the Terms of Use and is not a legal document. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the full terms. Think of it as the user-friendly interface to the legal language of our Terms of Use.

The goal of PolicyAtlas is to build the most useful and widely available reference for public policy in the world. With your help, we hope to improve public policy—and the lives of those governed—by hosting a platform that achieves:

  1. Increased awareness of a greater number of public policies;
  2. Better decision-making when choosing among public policies; and
  3. Improved design of chosen policies in order to increase their effectiveness and/or political viability of implementation.

More background on the Project is available on the Atlas About page at: http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Policy_Atlas:About.

Our Terms of Use allow you to:

  • Read publicly available content on the website free of charge.
  • Contribute to and Edit various articles in the Atlas.

Under the following conditions:

  • Responsibility – You take responsibility for your edits (since we only host your content).
  • Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users.
  • Lawful Behavior – You do not violate copyright or other laws.
  • No Harm – You do not harm our technology infrastructure.
  • Terms of Use and Policies – You adhere to the below Terms of Use and to any other applicable Atlas policies when you visit our site.

With the understanding that:

You License Freely Your Contributions – you generally must license your contributions and edits to us under a broad license (unless your contribution is in the public domain) as further described in the Terms of Use.

No Professional Advice – the content of articles and other projects is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Our Terms of Use

Welcome to PolicyAtlas! As used here, PolicyAtlas (“we,” “our” or “us) means the current owner or any successive owner(s) or owner entity (or entities) of the Atlas, as currently defined as the website, www.policyatlas.org.

We welcome you (“you” or the “user”) as a reader, editor, author, or contributor of the PolicyAtlas website (“the Atlas”), and we encourage you to join the PolicyAtlas community. Before you participate, it is important for you to know that by using or accessing the Atlas and its content, you agree to these Terms of Use (“Terms of Use”), as updated from time to time in accordance with Section 17 below. In accepting these Terms of Use, you will be joining a growing community of people who are interested in improving public policymaking and the lives of all who are governed.

To support this overarching goal, we provide the essential infrastructure and framework for the development of the Atlas and other endeavors that serve this mission. We strive to make and keep educational and informational content from the Atlas available to those in the policymaking community and the general public.


These Terms of Use tell you about the services of PolicyAtlas, our relationship to you as a user, and the rights and responsibilities that guide us both.

A mission of this Atlas is to build the most useful and widely available reference for public policy in the world. In doing so, we expect that the community - the network of users who will build and use the site or Atlas – will be the principal means through which the goals of the mission are achieved. The PolicyAtlas community undertakes the critical function of populating the site by sharing their own policy ideas and knowledge. Our goal is to host a platform in which that information can be shared among the community as efficiently and usefully as possible.

You are welcome to join as a contributor, editor, or author. We are dedicated to making content widely accessible to the policymaking community, and, as discussed further in Section 8, we require that all content you contribute is available to us under a specific license or in the public domain.

Please be aware that you are legally responsible for all of your contributions, edits, and re-use of Atlas content under the laws of the United States of America and other applicable laws (which may include the laws where you live or where you view or edit content). This means it is important that you use caution when posting content. In light of this responsibility, we have some rules about what you cannot post, most of which is either for your own protection or for the protection of other users like yourself. Please keep in mind that the content we host is for general informational purposes only, so if you need expert advice for a particular question (such as medical, legal, or financial issues), you should seek the help of a licensed or qualified professional. We also include other important notices and disclaimers, so please read these Terms of Use in their entirety.

Our Services

PolicyAtlas is encouraging the growth, development and distribution of public policy knowledge, and is accordingly hosting information on this wiki-based Atlas. Ultimately, our goal is to host the most useful and widely available reference for public policy in the world. We hope to improve public policy—and the lives of all governed—by hosting a platform that achieves:

  1. Increased awareness of a greater number of public policies;
  2. Better decision-making with respect to choosing among public policies; and
  3. Improved design of chosen public policies that will increase their effectiveness and political viability of implementation.

In addition, we also hope to foster a superior understanding of public policy among contributors to the site, and particularly among students who may choose to participate under our Student Learning Module.

However, we act primarily as a hosting service, maintaining the infrastructure and organizational framework that allows our users to build the Atlas by contributing and editing content themselves. Because of our unique role, there are a couple of things you should be aware of when considering our relationship to you, the Atlas, and the other users:

  • We do not assume editorial responsibility or liability for any user-submitted content: Because the Atlas is collaboratively edited, the content that we host is chiefly provided by users like yourself. PolicyAtlas itself does not take any responsibility for this content. Similarly, we do not endorse any opinions expressed via our services, and we do not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any submitted community content. Instead, we provide access to the content that your fellow users have contributed and edited.
  • You are responsible and liable for your own actions: You retain ownership of and are legally responsible for your edits and contributions on the Atlas, so for your own protection you should exercise caution and avoid contributing any content that may result in criminal or civil liability under any applicable laws. For clarity, applicable law includes at least the laws of the United States of America. Although we may not agree with such actions, we warn editors and contributors that authorities may seek to apply other country laws to you, including local laws where you live or where you view or edit content. PolicyAtlas generally cannot offer any protection, guarantee, immunity or indemnification.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to us. We encourage you to you review the terms of our Privacy Policy, so that you are aware of how we collect and use your information. Because the Atlas is a website accessible to numerous people all over the world, personal information that we collect may be stored and processed in the United States of America or any other country in which we or our agents maintain facilities. By using our services, you consent to any such transfer of information outside your country.

Content We Host

You may find some material objectionable or erroneous: Because we provide a wide array of content that is produced or gathered by fellow users, you may encounter material that you find offensive, erroneous, misleading, mislabeled, or otherwise objectionable. We therefore ask that you use common sense and proper judgment when using our services.

Our content is for general informational purposes only: Although we expect to host a great deal of information that pertains to professional topics, including but not limited to medical, legal, or financial issues, this content is presented for general informational purposes only. It should not be taken as professional advice. Please seek independent professional counseling from someone who is licensed or qualified in the applicable area in lieu of acting on any information, opinion, or advice contained in the Atlas website.

Refraining from Certain Activities

The Atlas hosted by PolicyAtlas only exists because of the community of users like you who collaborate to write, edit, and curate the content. We happily welcome your participation in this community. We encourage you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community, to act in good faith, and to make edits and contributions aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Atlas.

Certain activities, whether legal or illegal, may be harmful to other users and violate our rules, and some activities may also subject you to liability. Therefore, for your own protection and for that of other users, you may not engage in such activities on our sites. These activities include:

  • Harassing and Abusing Others - Engaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism; and Transmitting chain mail, junk mail, or spam to other users.
  • Violating the Privacy of Others - Infringing the privacy rights of others under the laws of the United States of America or other applicable laws (which may include the laws where you live or where you view or edit content); Soliciting personally identifiable information for purposes of harassment, exploitation, violation of privacy, or any promotional or commercial purpose not explicitly approved by the Wikimedia Foundation; and Soliciting personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18 for an illegal purpose or violating any applicable law regarding the health or well-being of minors.
  • Engaging in False Statements, Impersonation, or Fraud - Intentionally or knowingly posting content that constitutes libel or defamation; With the intent to deceive, posting content that is false or inaccurate; Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, or using the username of another user with the intent to deceive; and Engaging in fraud.
  • Committing Infringement - Infringing copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other proprietary rights under applicable law.
  • Misusing Our Services for Other Illegal Purposes - Posting child pornography or any other content that violates applicable law concerning child pornography; Posting or trafficking in obscene material that is unlawful under applicable law; and Using the services in a manner that is inconsistent with applicable law.
  • Engaging in Disruptive and Illegal Misuse of Facilities - Posting or distributing content that contains any viruses, malware, worms, Trojan horses, malicious code, or other device that could harm our technical infrastructure or system or that of our users; Engaging in automated uses of the site that are abusive or disruptive of the services and have not been approved by PolicyAtlas; Disrupting the services by placing an undue burden on the Atlas website or the networks or servers connected with the Atlas website; Disrupting the services by inundating the Atlas website with communications or other traffic that suggests no serious intent to use the Atlas website for its stated purpose; Knowingly accessing, tampering with, or using any of our non-public areas in our computer systems without authorization; and Probing, scanning, or testing the vulnerability of any of our technical systems or networks unless all the following conditions are met: such actions do not unduly abuse or disrupt our technical systems or networks; such actions are not for personal gain (except for credit for your work); you report any vulnerabilities to PolicyAtlas or the underlying software developers (or fix it yourself); and you do not undertake such actions with malicious or destructive intent.
  • Paid contributions without disclosure - These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation. You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways (or more if requested by PolicyAtlas or required by future Terms of Use):
    • a statement on your user page,
    • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
    • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

Applicable law, or community and PolicyAtlas policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. We reserve the right to exercise our enforcement discretion with respect to the above terms.

Independent of these terms of use, for more background on these considerations, please read Wikipedia’s policy on Contribution-Disclosure.

Password Security

You are responsible for safeguarding your own password and should never disclose it to any third party.


We do our best to keep the Atlas safe, but we cannot guarantee it. We need your help to keep the Atlas safe, which includes the following commitments by you:

  • You will not post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on the Atlas.
  • You will not collect users' content or information, or otherwise access the Atlas, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our prior permission.
  • You will not engage in unlawful multi-level marketing, such as a pyramid scheme, on the Atlas.
  • You will not upload viruses or other malicious code.
  • You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.
  • You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.
  • You will not do anything that could disable, overburden, or impair the proper working or appearance of the Atlas, such as a denial of service attack or interference with page rendering or other Facebook functionality.
  • You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of the Terms of Use or our policies.


In order to preserve the integrity of the Atlas, it is important that, at PolicyAtlas, we protect our users from fraudulent impersonators. By using the site, you agree that any use of our trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, or domain names must be in compliance with these Terms of Use and our approval.

Licensing of Content

All users contributing to the Atlas are required to grant broad permissions to PolicyAtlas to re-distribute and re-use their contributions freely.

You agree to grant PolicyAtlas a non-exclusive, perpetual, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content that you post on or in connection with the Atlas for both non-commercial and commercial uses and with or without attribution.

Importing text - You may import text that you have found elsewhere or that you have co-authored with others, but in such case you warrant that the text is available to PolicyAtlas under terms that are compatible with the license requirements as explained in this section and more generally in the Terms of Use. If appropriate, you may credit the author in the edit summary, which is recorded in the page history, when importing the text. The attribution requirements are sometimes too intrusive for particular circumstances (regardless of the license), and there may be instances where PolicyAtlas or the community decides that imported text cannot be used for that or any other reason.

Non-text media - You may import non-text media that you have developed or co-authored with others, but in such case you warrant that the content is available to PolicyAtlas under terms that are compatible with the license requirements as explained above

No revocation of license - You agree that you will not revoke or seek invalidation of any license that you have granted under these Terms of Use for text content or non-text media contributed to the Atlas or its features, even if you terminate use of our services.

Public domain content - Content that is in the public domain is welcome! It is important however that you confirm the public domain status of the content under the law of the United States of America as well as the laws of any other countries as required by the Atlas. When you contribute content that is in the public domain, you warrant that the material is actually in the public domain, and you agree to label it appropriately.

Re-licensing - At some future point, PolicyAtlas may wish to broadly relicense some or all of the content on the Atlas. This relicensing, if offered, may or may not be in a form under or similar to a Creative Commons license. By using the Atlas, you consent to this right of PolicyAtlas.

DMCA Compliance

PolicyAtlas wants to ensure that the content that we feature can be shared without fear of liability and that it is not infringing on the proprietary rights of others. In fairness to our users, as well as to other creators and copyright holders, our policy is to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the formalities of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Pursuant to the DMCA, we will terminate, in appropriate circumstances, users and account holders of our system and network who are repeat infringers.

However, we also recognize that not every takedown notice is valid or in good faith. In such cases, we strongly encourage users to file counter-notifications when they appropriately believe a DMCA takedown demand is invalid or improper. For more information on what to do if you think a DMCA notice has been improperly filed, you may wish to consult the [Effects] website.

If you are the owner of content that is being improperly used on the Atlas without your permission, you may request that the content be removed under the DMCA. To make such a request, please visit our Copyright Infringement page.

Third-Party Content, Websites and Resources

You are solely responsible for your use of any third-party content, websites or resources. Although the Atlas contains links to third-party websites and resources, we do not endorse and are not responsible or liable for their availability, accuracy, or the related content, products, or services (including, without limitation, any viruses or other disabling features), nor do we have any obligation to monitor such third-party content.

We are not responsible for the content, data, or actions of third parties, and you release us and our agents from any claims and damages, known and unknown, arising out of or in any way connected with any claim you have against any such third parties. No advice or information, whether oral or written, obtained by you from us or through or from our services creates any warranty not expressly stated in these Terms of Use.

Management of Website

At PolicyAtlas, we primarily rely on the community for editorial decisions and enforcement of policies. However, we reserve the right but do not have the obligation to:

  • Investigate your use of the service (a) to determine whether a violation of these Terms of Use, PolicyAtlas policy, or other applicable law or policy has occurred, or (b) to comply with any applicable law, legal process, or appropriate governmental request;
  • Detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, or technical issues or respond to user support requests;
  • Refuse, disable, or restrict access to the contribution of any user for any reason;
  • Ban a user from editing or contributing or block a user's account or access for any reason, including violating these Terms of Use and repeat copyright infringement;
  • Take legal action against users who violate these Terms of Use (including reports to law enforcement authorities); and
  • Manage otherwise the Atlas website in a manner designed to facilitate its proper functioning and protect the rights, property, and safety of ourselves and our users, licensors, partners, and the public.
  • In the interests of our users and the Atlas, in the circumstance that any individual has had his or her account or access blocked under this provision, they are prohibited from creating or using another account on or seeking access to the same Atlas, unless we provide explicit permission. Without limiting the authority of itself or the community, PolicyAtlas will generally not ban a user from editing or contributing or block a user's account or access solely because of good faith criticism that does not result in actions otherwise violating these Terms of Use or community policies.

Resolutions and Atlas Policies

PolicyAtlas may release official policies from time to time. Some of these policies may be mandatory, and, when they are, you agree to abide by them as applicable.


Although we hope you will stay and continue to contribute to the Atlas, you can stop using our services any time. In certain (hopefully unlikely) circumstances it may be necessary for either ourselves or the PolicyAtlas community or its members to terminate part or all of our services, terminate these Terms of Use, block your account or access, or ban you as a user. If your account or access is blocked or otherwise terminated for any reason, your public contributions will remain publicly available (subject to applicable policies), and, unless we notify you otherwise, you may still access our public pages for the sole purpose of reading publicly available content on the Atlas. In such circumstances, however, you may not be able to access your account or settings. We reserve the right to suspend or end the services at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. Even after your use and participation are banned, blocked or otherwise suspended, these Terms of Use will remain in effect with respect to relevant provisions.

Disputes and Jurisdiction

We hope that no serious disagreements arise involving you, but, in the event there is a dispute, we encourage you to seek resolution through mechanisms provided by the Atlas and PolicyAtlas (such as using the “Talk” pages or by emailing us at policyatlas_exec@googlegroups.com). If you seek to file a legal claim against us, you agree to file and resolve it exclusively in a state or federal court located in Kings County, New York. You also agree that the laws of the State of New York and, to the extent applicable, the laws of the United States of America will govern these Terms of Use, as well as any legal claim that might arise between you and us (without reference to conflict of laws principles). You agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of, and agree that venue is proper in, the courts located in Kings County, New York, in any legal action or proceeding relating to us or these Terms of Use.

To ensure that disputes are dealt with soon after they arise, you agree that regardless of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action you might have arising out of or related to use of our services or these Terms of Use must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations or, if earlier, one (1) year after the pertinent facts underlying such claim or cause of action could have been discovered with reasonable diligence (or be forever barred).


At PolicyAtlas, we do our best to provide educational and informational content to a very wide audience, but your use of our services is at your sole risk. We provide these services on an "as is" and "as available" basis, and we expressly disclaim all express or implied warranties of all kinds, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. We make no warranty that our services will meet your requirements, be safe, secure, uninterrupted, timely, accurate, or error-free, or that your information will be secure.

We try to keep the Atlas up, bug-free and safe, but you use it at your own risk. PolicyAtlas is not responsible for the actions, content, information or data of third parties, and you release PolicyAtlas from any claims and damages, known and unknown, arising out of or in any way connected with any claim you have against any such third parties. If you are a California resident, you waive California Civil Code §1542, which says: a general release does not extend to claims in which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor. We will not be liable to you for any lost profits or other consequential, special, indirect, or incidental damages arising out of or in connection with these Terms of Use, the Atlas or PolicyAtlas, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Any material downloaded or otherwise obtained through your use of our services is done at your own discretion and risk, and you will be solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that results from the download of any such material. You agree that we have no responsibility or liability for the deletion of, or the failure to store or to transmit, any content or communication maintained by the service. We retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time with or without notice.

Some states or jurisdictions do not allow the types of disclaimers in this section or others in the Terms of Use, so they may not apply to you either in part or in full depending on the law.

Limitation on Liability

PolicyAtlas will not be liable to you or to any other party for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or exemplary damages, including but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, goodwill, use, data, or other intangible losses, regardless of whether we were advised of the possibility of such damage. In no event shall our liability exceed one hundred U.S. dollars (USD 100.00) in aggregate. In the case that applicable law may not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability or incidental or consequential damages, the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you, although our liability will be limited to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law.

If anyone brings a claim against us related to your actions, content or information on PolicyAtlas, you will indemnify and hold us harmless from and against all damages, losses, and expenses of any kind (including reasonable legal fees and costs) related to such claim. Although we provide rules for user conduct, we do not control or direct users' actions on the Atlas and are not responsible for the content or information users transmit or share on the Atlas. We are not responsible for any offensive, inappropriate, obscene, unlawful or otherwise objectionable content or information you may encounter on the Atlas. We are not responsible for the conduct, whether online or offline, of any user of the Atlas.

Modifications to these Terms of Use

Because it may be necessary to modify these Terms of Use from time to time, we ask that you please periodically review the most up-to-date version of these Terms of Use. Prior to a significant modification of the Terms of Use, PolicyAtlas, will seek to provide a draft copy of the revised Terms of Use on or in a link from this page for at least 30 days prior to their formal modification.

Minor corrections, clarifications, improvements and updates to the Terms of Use will take effect immediately.

Your continued use of our services after the new Terms of Use become official following the notice and review period constitutes an acceptance of these Terms of Use on your part. For the protection of PolicyAtlas and other users like yourself, if you do not agree with our Terms of Use, you cannot use our services.

Other Terms

These Terms of Use do not create an employment, agency, partnership, or joint venture relationship between you and PolicyAtlas. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about the Atlas, but you understand that we may use your feedback or suggestions without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them). If you have not signed a separate agreement with us, these Terms of Use are the entire agreement between you and us. If there is any conflict between these Terms of Use and a signed written agreement between you and us, the signed agreement will control.

You agree that we may provide you with notices, including those regarding changes to the Terms of Use, by email, regular mail, or postings on Atlas website, including edits made to the Terms of Use page.

If in any circumstance, we do not apply or enforce any provision of these Terms of Use, it is not a waiver of that provision.

You understand that, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by us, you have no expectation of compensation for any activity, contribution, or idea that you provide to us, the community, or the Atlas.

These Terms of Use were written in English (U.S.). While we hope that translations of these Terms of Use are accurate, in the event of any differences in meaning between the original English version and a translation, the original English version takes precedence.

If any provision or part of a provision of these Terms of Use is found unlawful, void, or unenforceable, that provision or part of the provision is deemed severable from these Terms of Use and will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible, and all other provisions of these Terms of Use will remain in full force and effect.

Thank You!

We appreciate your taking the time to read these Terms of Use, and we are very happy to have you contributing to the Atlas and using our services. In signing up for PolicyAtlas, you agree to have carefully read and accepted the Terms of Use. Please contact PolicyAtlas if you need any clarification.

Through your contributions, you are helping to build something really big – not only an important collection of collaboratively edited reference materials that provide education and information to those who might otherwise lack access, but also a vibrant community of like-minded and engaged peers, focused on a very noble goal.

These Terms of Use went into effect on September 19, 2015. Minor wording updates were made on May 22, 2016.