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Terms of Use for Hiders


Team GeoBlast
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I was just reviewing the Terms of Use document on GC.com and was reminded that this fairly comprehensive document is written specifically to cover Groundspeak and it's affiliates. It also seems to me that some effort is put forth in separating Groundspeak from any warranties put forth on any of the listings (cache pages) found on the website

 

A quick web search turned up several similar documents covering individual Geocaching Organizations. But I could find nothing, except some very simple verbiage on a few cache pages, designed to protect the individual cache hider. I hope I've missed something someplace but it seems to me that the cache hider, especially those who are not a member of a Geocaching organization, appear to be not directly included or covered by any of these disclaimers.

 

I am very aware that the exposure of an individual cache hider cannot be an original thought or concern. I am also aware that the existence of a disclaimer is not absolute protection against legal exposure.

 

I was wondering the following:

 

1. Is anyone aware of a disclaimer for use by a individual cache hider?

2. Recognizing that Groundspeak requires that you check a box each time you post or change information on a cache page. Would linking to a disclaimer that mentions the individual cache hider on the cache page be enough?

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Other than the usual disclaimers and those posted by the individual CO's, I'm not aware of anything that would "protect" a CO from this litigious society that we live in. Thank goodness but I haven't heard of anyone suing anyone else over a caching injury. When I go out cache hunting, I go at my own discretion and I am fully aware that some mis-step that I take could put me in the hospital. In fact, I've already had some very minor injuries and I am thankful that they were only minor. This is definitely something to think about when hiding a cache but I am hoping that our fellow cache hunters realize that sometimes there is danger involved and they are doing this at THEIR OWN RISK! All we need is a bunch of lawyers going after cachers who were hurt and then we'll all be in trouble!

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I hope that you are not just now discovering that Guidelines, Rules, Terms of Use or Terms of Service are de facto contracts.

 

Writing contracts is a multi-million dollar (or bigger) industry for attorneys and are written strictly with the client's interests in mind.

 

Almost every company or entity that you interact with has a contract with you. You agree to it or you don't get to play in their sandbox.

 

Your bank, your cell phone provider, websites, whoever... all have such verbiage that you must agree to, with a document you must sign or an online check box you must click on to proceed, and NONE of them have your interests in mind! They are about protecting them from you. Always.

 

You can create such a hold-harmless or rule observance contract but you must have some way to get the person who is agreeing to your terms (contract) to actively acknowledge it. When you click the checkboxes on a cache listing page you deliberately and knowingly enter into a contract to observe the Guidelines and Terms of Use. If you don't click them your listing is not published.

 

It's a safe bet that the two checked boxes are part of every listing's detailed stored data, or they can prove that the listing could not have been published without your having checked them. If you want to sue they can trot out the submission page showing that you voluntarily and consciously agreed to the Guidelines and Terms of Use.

 

If you want to have such a contract with the people who hunt your cache you must not only include the terms (contract verbiage) on the listing page but you must include something like a check box for the cacher to actively acknowledge (click on) stating that they were presented with your terms, understand your terms and agree to them, and that they can't be allowed to hunt that cache unless they agree to your terms and so state by checking that box!

 

Groundspeak has no motivation at all to program this 'You must agree to these cacher's terms and check this box to see the cache listing' feature, so don't hold your breath!

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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At least one well known around here has a disclaimer on many of his caches.....

 

4b05b789-b512-4743-a914-eb3c25c96176.jpg

 

I am no attorney and don't know the law, but I would question whether this disclaimer would hold up since it provides no method of having the cacher acknowledge that they read it or intend to abide by it.

 

Mayhaps someone with more legal knowledge (that would be just about everyone!) can weigh in on the validity of a published but un-acknowledged liability-protection statement.

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At least one well known around here has a disclaimer on many of his caches.....

 

4b05b789-b512-4743-a914-eb3c25c96176.jpg

 

I am no attorney and don't know the law, but I would question whether this disclaimer would hold up since it provides no method of having the cacher acknowledge that they read it or intend to abide by it.

 

Mayhaps someone with more legal knowledge (that would be just about everyone!) can weigh in on the validity of a published but un-acknowledged liability-protection statement.

 

I'm no attorney either but I wonder how this compares to trail guides that give details of various hikes?

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From the terms of use linked to in the original post: "You assume all risks arising in connection with seeking a cache or any other related activity."

By seeking this geocache you agree to the terms and conditions that you will stumble and/or loose your balance, scrape your knee, poke your finger(s) pulling sand spurs off your socks/pants/hiking gear and other related clothing, get two splinters (minimum per person), acquire poison ivy and/or poison oak (or poison sumac is areas outside of the normal legal caching radius), stub your toe on a log (aka - may be rock or other obstruction hereby not specifically described in the afore mentioned document), mosquito bit on all exposed or uncovered body parts and sweat profusely. Any failure to meet these conditions will result in an expansion of your fun and may be considered "banked" until you seek the next cache where they may be redeemed with interest until the terms and conditions are satisfied.

 

;)

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From the terms of use linked to in the original post:

 

"You assume all risks arising in connection with seeking a cache or any other related activity."

 

Perhaps this should be enough to set everyone who elects to hide a cache at ease? It was already noted that the linked document is a de facto contract. I have never seen anything in print (other than some very brief language on a cache page) that specifically names and protects the cache hider.

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I might add this disclaimer to my caches:

 

If you hunt this cache you will feel pain and eventually die.

 

Unless Vinny decides to start sharing his immortality and super-duper pain relief formula, that statement is 100% true. It's also true if you do NOT hunt my caches.

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From the terms of use linked to in the original post:

 

"You assume all risks arising in connection with seeking a cache or any other related activity."

 

Perhaps this should be enough to set everyone who elects to hide a cache at ease? It was already noted that the linked document is a de facto contract. I have never seen anything in print (other than some very brief language on a cache page) that specifically names and protects the cache hider.

 

Also, on each cache page is the following:

 

Please note: To use the services of geocaching.com, you must agree to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

 

The very first line of that disclaimer states:

'Cache seekers assume all risks involved in seeking a cache.'

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