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Encyclopaedia Metallum

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Terms and policies

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Last update: 17 May 2023

1. Security Policy

1.1 Account requirements

You are not required to create an account in order to read or browse the content of the site and its forums. As a visitor, if you choose to contribute to the site by reporting an error on a page (see the Help Page on how to make a report) you may do so anonymously.

If you register an account with the site, the only information you are required to provide is a username, a password for the account, and a valid email address. At the time of registration, and at any time after registering, you can choose to keep your email address private from other users if you prefer; by default it is publicly visible through your user profile. You have the option to provide further information about yourself for your public profile - which can be changed or removed at any time.

When you register, you will receive an automatic email asking you to activate your account. You will be unable to use your member privileges until your account is activated. This confirmation email is one of the only emails that you are forced to receive as a member. The only other exception is emails related to your submissions that we deem essential (at current time, this is limited to rejection emails for your band submissions). We are absolutely against spamming and we will not send you any further automated emails, though you may opt in to receive more notifications in your profile if you so choose.

Once created, user accounts cannot be easily removed. This is because your public contributions must be associated with their author (you!). So make sure you pick a username that you will be comfortable with for years to come and that the information publicly visible on your profile is acceptable to you. However, (partial) account removals are now possible using the Account Termination procedure. (See the link, or 2.2 below, for more information about account termination)

As the holder of your account, you are ultimately responsible for any actions committed by your account. While we do take steps to safeguard information on our end, we do expect our registered users to take any necessary precautions to ensure that their accounts are not compromised. We highly recommend that users periodically change their passwords, avoid giving out their account information to others, and contact us if they believe their accounts have been accessed without their authorization.

1.2 Links to other sites

Our services may contain links to other sites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Note that these external sites are not operated by us. Therefore, we strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of these websites. We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party sites or services.

1.3 Security

We value your trust in providing us your personal data, thus we are striving to use commercially acceptable means of protecting it. But remember that no method of transmission over the internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure and reliable, and we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

In the unlikely event that your data has been or may have been breached, you will be immediately alerted through a site-wide announcement, as well as promptly notified by email.

2. Privacy Policy

We respect the personal information of our users and our subject matter. We believe that information-gathering and use should go hand-in-hand with transparency. This section will explain what our policy is towards the inclusion of personal information on the site. For the sake of being as clear as possible, "personal information" is information that could be used to personally identify individuals or groups. This might include a real name, email address, password, IP address, etc. When associated with the above identifiers, sensitive information (ex. exact date of birth, location, etc.) may also be considered "personal information."

2.1 Your personal information

2.1.1 Public contributions

In addition to the information that you must provide when you register your account (i.e. your username, password and email address), the only other information that we receive from you is information that you provide through any public contributions as well as technical information sent to us by your device(s) (as is typical for most websites).

Whatever you publicly contribute to either the site or the forum can be seen and used by everyone. When you publicly contribute information to the site or its forum, you are creating "public contributions." These "public contributions" serve as a permanent, public record of every piece of content added, removed, or altered by you. We keep track of modifications made to the site and this modification history (including its content) is visible to all logged-in, registered users.

Be aware that whatever information you make available publicly is public and can be used by anyone for analysis and to infer information about you and/or the subject matter of your contributions. Like most things on the Internet, anything you share may be copied and redistributed by other people. Please do not contribute any information that you are uncomfortable making permanently public, like revealing your real name, attaching your photo, or posting your location in your contributions.

2.1.2 Information sharing

We will not share your information with third parties, unless explicitly for the following rare exceptions: if you give us your explicit consent, if we are legally obligated to do so, if it's reasonably necessary to prevent imminent or serious bodily harm or death to a person and/or to protect ourselves, our members, or members of the public. (Note that there is no existing precedent for those cases, as they are currently hypothetical.) We will take reasonable steps to limit the information provided. We recognize that you have placed your trust in us to protect your information, and we will do what we can to maintain that trust.

2.1.3 Information retrieval

The data we collect is typically easily accessible just through normal site use (through your profile). But if you need to retrieve specific data pertaining to your profile that is otherwise not available through the use of the website itself, you may email us at .

2.1.4 Advertisement and affiliate programs

This site is an ad-free website. While we do have an unobtrusive, affiliate program with third-party merchandisers, it is a passive referral service. We do not provide them with your information. The only information they receive from you, on our behalf, is a notice that you have visited their service through our site. This affiliate program is completely optional and is only activated if you click on a link below the "Buy Their Stuff" section on band pages.

When you do click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

2.2 Account termination

To be compliant with GDPR, we now offer on-site account terminations, accessible from the last tab on the profile edition page. Account terminations are not a "hard delete" per se, and your previous "public contributions", if any, will remain; but we still take strong measures to completely wipe personal information you may have provided, by anonymizing you fully. Here is the breakdown of what will happen on an account termination:

  • Profile information will be soft-deleted * (still in the database, but invisible to the public):
    • You will no longer be able to log in with that account.
    • For non-staff users and visitors, your profile page will only show an anonymous user ID (numeric) and your modifications (including band submissions), for archival purposes.
    • Your username and profile information will remain in the database, visible to staff only, for monitoring purposes, and to prevent future registrations with this username.
    • Staff (moderators and admins) will be able to see reports you made and staff notifications you have received in the past, if any.
  • Forum accounts will be soft-deleted * :
    • Usernames will be replaced by numeric IDs.
    • Signature and location will be wiped (hard-deleted).
    • Other profile information will remain in the database, visible to admins only.
    • Posts will remain. If you have posts that need deletion, you may contact us for manual deletions.
  • Your username will no longer be searchable or appear on any public-facing page.
  • Your collection will be wiped (hard-deleted).
  • Your reviews will be wiped (hard-deleted).
  • Your recommendations will be wiped (hard-deleted).
  • Your bookmarks will be wiped (hard-deleted).
* Soft deletions are necessary for technical/security reasons, but are still not reversible. Should you change your mind later, please create a new account.

2.3 Cookies

Cookies are files with small amounts of data that are commonly used as anonymous unique identifiers. These are sent to your browser from the website that you visit and are stored on your device's storage drive. We employ cookies and similar technologies to keep track of information such as authentication sessions and traffic analytics. You have the option to either accept or refuse these cookies. If you choose to refuse our cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our services.

2.4 Traffic information

Every time you visit the website or forum, even without being logged in, some data is collected automatically by our web server; we call this Log Data, which collects your IP address, user agent, timestamps and various statistics. This is standard for every website out there. Such data may be sent to traffics-analyzing third-party tools, such as Google Analytics. You may opt out of this by disabling Google Analytics cookies or using this tool:

2.5 Legal basis for collecting data

The laws in some jurisdictions require that we tell you about the legal grounds we rely upon to use, process or disclose your personal data. To the extent those laws apply, our legal grounds are as follows:

  • Your consent: we may collect, at times, information that you provide yourself freely and with your consent.
  • To serve your interests: in order to credit you for your contributions to the site, we need to collect the information to create and maintain your account.
  • To serve our interests: in order to provide you with the service of the website itself, we need to collect the information to create and maintain your account.
  • Legal compliance: We may collect, process, store, transfer or disclose your personal data to comply with our legal obligations.
  • Protecting users: We may collect, process, store, transfer or disclose your personal data to help resolve an urgent medical situation.

2.6 Where information is processed

We are based in Canada, and the website is hosted on a dedicated server in a data center hosted in the US. No matter where you are located, you consent to the processing, transfer and storage of your information in and to Canada, the U.S. and other countries. The laws of Canada, the U.S. and other countries governing data collection and use may not be as comprehensive or protective as the laws of the country where you live.

2.7 Children

We do not knowingly collect, process, store, transfer or disclose any personal data of children or users under the age of consent established by the data protection law of their applicable country. If we learn that we are engaged in said activities with the personal data of such users, we will halt those activities and take reasonable measures to promptly remove the applicable personal data from our records.

If you are aware that a user under the age of consent in their applicable country is accessing our service, please let us know at . In the case that we discover that a child under the age of consent in their applicable country has provided us with personal data, we shall delete this from our servers as soon as practicable. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your child has provided us with personal data, please contact us at so that we will be able to take the necessary actions to remove your child's personal data.

2.8 Artist/Label personal information

2.8.1 Inclusion of information

As an encyclopedia that documents and preserves information on heavy metal bands, we do collect information on the artists, labels, and organizations associated with those bands. The inclusion of this information is necessary to make sure the database of band and album line-ups is as accurate and complete as possible.

Depending upon what fields are available to fill-in, we permit the inclusion of personal information (ex. real name, gender, date of birth, photo, mailing address, email address) if - and only if - that information is publicly available and is associated with the individual or group's work with the band or label.

This information must be from a reliable, official source linked to the subject such that it may reasonably be inferred that the subject does not object (ie. from the individual or group in question, or a credit given through their work). We do not accept personal information attributed to unaffiliated third parties (ex. hearsay through a friend) and encourage our contributors to not go beyond what is reasonable for discerning information on individuals or groups.

The inclusion of personal information requires a high degree of sensitivity, especially for minors, and must adhere strictly to all applicable laws. We expect our contributors to take particular care when adding personal and/or biographical information to an artist or label's page. Such information must be presented neutrally and respectfully, with a presumption in favor of privacy. We expect our contributors to consider the possibility of harm to subjects when exercising editorial judgment, and to avoid spreading titillating claims about people's lives. Users who persistently or egregiously violate this policy will be banned from the site.

2.8.2 Removal of personal information

If you are a subject of the site (ex. an artist, label or organization affiliated with a band), and you feel that all or some of your personal information has been disclosed without your authorization, please contact us by email at . We do take into account attempts made by individuals and groups to limit the unauthorized leak of their non-public personal information, and will respect reasonable requests to facilitate the removal of that information and notify our users not to re-add it. Additionally, if you are the subject of an artist or band photo on the site, or you own the copyright to that photo, we will immediately remove that photo on request. Alternatively, we would be happy to properly credit you for the photo, and/or modify it as requested, if you continue to allow us to use it for archival purposes.

Please note that we will not remove band, artist or label pages, and that following a reasonable request for removal, some information may be pseudonymized in order to maintain the functionality and purpose of the website and its database.

Note also that this is opt out. Unless we are contacted by the individual or group in question, the information that users contribute to our site is assumed to have followed our guidelines. Failure to abide by these guidelines rests with the user.

2.9 Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. Thus, we advise you to review this page periodically for any changes. We will notify you of any changes by publishing the new Privacy Policy on this page. These changes are effective immediately upon publishing.

2.10 Contact us

If you have any questions or suggestions about our Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact us at .

3. Content Disclaimer

In its encyclopedic function, the website and its forums contain thousands of pages about heavy metal artists, albums, labels, fans and their opinions (referred to as "pages" below). A relatively small fraction of these topics are sometimes censored by educational, governmental, corporate, parental, and other filtering schemes.

  • Some pages may contain content that is not safe for work or school browsing.
  • Some pages include words or language (such as band names, song titles, lyrics, etc.) that are considered profane, vulgar, or offensive by some readers.
  • Some pages contain many different images, such as album cover artworks or band logos, which may be considered objectionable or offensive by some readers. For example, some pages contain graphical depictions of violence, human anatomy, hate symbols, or sexual acts.
  • Some pages may contain content, imagery, or symbols that are illegal in some countries, such as Nazi symbols or blasphemous depictions.
  • Some pages or forum posts contain frank discussion of controversial topics.
  • Some pages may contain triggers for people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Some pages may contain images which can trigger epileptic seizures and other medical conditions, though we consider it unlikely.
  • Since we are open to contributions from the public, there may at any time be vandalism or plagiarism present on any page.
  • Album reviews hosted on the website are solely attributed to their authors, and may contain controversial opinions.
Our current policy is to include such content, provided it breaches neither any of our existing policies nor the laws of Canada and the United States, where we are hosted. None of our pages contain warnings; we assume readers are aware of the often-controversial nature of heavy metal music, culture, and imagery, and use the site at their own risk.

In any case, we are a constant work in progress, and many pages contain errors, outdated information, or duplication, or may simply need your caring help. We encourage users to help us fix these problems.

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