Terms & Conditions
The www.merkts.com Site / www.wispride.com Site / www.kaukaunacheese.com Site is operated by Bel Brands USA and includes without limitation, the home page, splash page(s), and all other pages under the same top level domain name, and all content thereon (the "Site").
When using the Site, you agree to these terms and conditions (the "Terms and Conditions"). In addition, when participating in specific Site activities, you will be subject to any posted guidelines applicable to such activities, for example, the specific Official Rules of Sweepstakes or Contests and/or any terms or conditions applicable to offers and promotions. If you do not agree with, and to, these Terms and Conditions, do not use the Site and do not register (should registration be or become a requirement for Site or activity participation).
We reserve the right, at our discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of these Terms and Conditions at any time and from time to time. Check these Terms and Conditions periodically for changes or revisions. Your use of the Site following the posting of changes to these Terms and Conditions signifies that you accept those changes or revisions.
Age and Residency For Site Use
The Site is intended for use exclusively by residents of the United States of America. Persons who reside outside the U.S. may not participate in Site activities and have no rights or claims with respect to use of the Site.
While persons of any age can access the Site, only persons at least 18 years old will be permitted to register on the Site, if registration is, or becomes, a pre-requisite for use of the Site or any specific Site activity.
General Terms and Conditions and Restrictions on Use of Materials
By using the Site, you agree to be legally bound by and to abide by the Terms and Conditions, just as if you had signed this Agreement. If you do not comply with the Terms and Conditions at any time, we reserve the right to terminate your access to the Site. Among other actions, we reserve the right to discontinue or alter any aspect of the Site, including, but not limited to, (i) restricting the time the Site is available, (ii) restricting the amount of use permitted, and (iii) restricting or terminating any user's ability to use the Site, at our sole discretion, and without prior notice or liability.
You are solely responsible for all charges associated with connecting to the Site through an available access number. You are also solely responsible for obtaining or providing, and the charges associated with all access lines, telephone and computer equipment (including modem), or other device, and securing an Internet Service Provider, all or some of which may be necessary to access the Site.
In order to permit Bel Brands USA to protect the quality of its products and services, and the Site, you consent to Bel Brands USA employees or those acting pursuant to the authority of Bel Brands USA being able to access your records (and account if any) on a case-by-case basis to investigate complaints or other allegations or abuse. Bel Brands USA shall not disclose the existence or occurrence of such an investigation unless required by law.
You acknowledge that the Site contains information, software, photos, images, video, text, graphics, music, sounds, logos, data, software or other material, including expressly recipes (collectively "Content") that are protected by copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets or other proprietary rights, and that these rights are valid and protected in all forms, media and technologies existing now or hereafter developed or devised. All Content is copyrighted as a collective work under the U.S. copyright laws, and Bel Brands USA owns a copyright in the selection, coordination, arrangement and enhancement of such Content. The Bel Brands USA and thelaughingcow.com name(s) and logo(s) are trademarks of Bel Brands USA. All other trademarks appearing on the Site are trademarks of either Bel Brands USA or their respective owners. Site partners or content providers, if any, may also have additional proprietary rights in the Content which they make available through the Site. You may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, create derivative works of, or in any way exploit, any of the Content, in whole or in part, except that you may download one copy of the materials on any single computer for your personal, non-commercial home use only, provided you keep intact all copyright, trademark and other proprietary notices. Modification of the Content or use of the Content for any other purpose, including but not limited to, use of any such Content on any other website (framed or not framed) or networked computer environment or in hard (printed) copy, or your transfer of any Content, is strictly prohibited. In the event you download software provided by Site (if any is so provided), the software, including any files, images incorporated in or generated by the software, and data accompanying the software (collectively, the "Software") are licensed to you by Bel Brands USA on a non-exclusive and non-transferable basis. Bel Brands USA does not transfer title to the Software to you. You may not, nor may you allow any third party to, redistribute, sell, copy, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or sublicense, the Software, or otherwise reduce the Software to a human-readable form. You agree not to modify the Software in any manner or form, or to use modified versions of the Software, including (without limitation) for the purpose of obtaining unauthorized access to the Site. You agree not to access the Site by any means other than through the interface that is provided by the Site for use in accessing the Site.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following policies apply to the downloading and reproduction of recipes, cooking tips and other product usage suggestions (collectively referred to as the "Recipes":
You agree not to re-use material from the Site. In particular, you agree not to copy, distribute, republish, upload, post, or transmit anything unless you first get our written consent.
There is one exception to the prohibition set forth above: you may download material onto one computer for your personal, non-commercial use only, provided you do not delete or change any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices. But please do not modify the materials or use them for any other purpose. If you do, you'll be violating our intellectual-property rights.
Everything you download or copy from the Site is considered licensed to you by Bel Brands.
That means that Bel Brands retains full and complete title to all of the associated intellectual-property rights. You are not allowed to redistribute or sell the material or to reverse-engineer, disassemble, or otherwise convert it to any other form that people can use.
Should registration be required to use the Site, or any portion of the Site, and if you elect to register to use the Site, or any portion of the Site, or register to participate in any Site activity, you agree to: (a) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by the Site's registration and/or activity form (such information being the "Registration Data"), and (b) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data to keep it current and accurate. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, or incomplete, or Bel Brands USA has reasonable grounds to suspect that such is the case, Bel Brands USA, or any third party acting on its behalf pursuant to its direction, has the right to suspend or terminate your use of the Site and refuse any and all current or future use of the Site (or any portion thereof) to you. Further, should any registration be required, that registration may require you to select a log-in name and/or password. You will be solely and exclusively liable and responsible for all actions taken under that log-in name and/or password, whether those actions are taken by you or a third party using that log-in name and/or password with or without your consent. It is your sole and exclusive responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of your log-in name and/or password.
Community Standards and Conduct Guidelines in Site Use
You acknowledge that all Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated. You are entirely responsible for all Content that you post, email or otherwise transmit to the Site. Bel Brands USA does not control all of the Content posted at the Site and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content. You understand that by using the Site, you may be exposed to Content that may be offensive, indecent or objectionable to you. Under no circumstances will Bel Brands USA be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use or viewing of any Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted to or from the Site.
You agree to not use the Site or any portion of the Site to:
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, slanderous, invasive of another's privacy or right of publicity, hateful, or otherwise objectionable under community standards for appropriate and decent behavior;
harm minors in any way, or asking for a minor's personally identifiable details or otherwise;
impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, an agent or official of the Site or Bel Brands USA, or a forum leader, guide or host, if any; or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with any person or entity;
forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any Content or communication transmitted to, from or through the Site;
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Content that you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (including but not limited to inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Content that infringes upon any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of privacy or publicity or other proprietary right(s) of any party;
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional, political materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation, except in those areas that may be specifically designated for such purpose, if any;
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any material that contains bugs, software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs, or the like (however technically named or designated), designed to, or which in fact, interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment;
disrupt the normal flow of dialogue, cause a screen to "scroll" faster than other users of the Site or a Forum are able to type, or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users' ability to engage in real time exchanges or real time accessibility;
interfere with or disrupt the Site or servers or networks connected to the Site, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to the Site;
intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national or international law;
"stalk" or otherwise harass another member or user of the Site; or attempt to view, gain access to, collect or store personal data about other users of the Site.
upload, post, email or otherwise transmit anything whatsoever which contains links to other sites that contain the kind of content, which falls within the descriptions set out above.
A "Forum," if offered, refers to a chat area, bulletin board, "instant messaging" or virtual community which may be a part of the Site. The Site may also provide users with access to e-mail. Any such Forum and e-mail, if offered, shall be used only in a noncommercial manner. You shall not, without Bel Brands USA's express prior written approval in each case, distribute or otherwise publish any material containing any solicitation of funds, promotion, advertising, or solicitation for goods or services.
If you send User Content (including, in addition to the items described above, postings to chat, boards, or contests) or you send us creative suggestions, ideas, notes, drawings, or other information), whether voluntarily or at our request, such Submissions shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of Bel Brands USA. None of the User Content shall be subject to any obligation of confidence on the part Bel Brands USA, and Bel Brands USA shall not be liable for any use or disclosure of any User Content, in whole or in part. Use by Bel Brands shall of any User Content shall not require any notice to, review of, or permission of, the provider of the User Content.
All Site Forum communications, including chat and bulletin board communications, if any, are public and not private communications. Although Bel Brands USA reserves the right to remove, without notice, any Forum posting for any reason, we have no obligation to delete Forum content that you may find objectionable or offensive. By uploading User Content or other materials to any Forum or submitting any User Content or other materials, you automatically grant (or warrant that the owner of such materials has expressly granted) us a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform, publicly display and/or sublicense such User Content (in whole or in part), create derivative works from and distribute such User Content or materials or incorporate such User Content or materials into any form, medium, or technology now known or later developed or devised throughout the universe. In addition, you warrant that all so-called "moral rights," if any, in those materials have been waived.
All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, or other information that you communicate to Bel Brands (referred to as "User Content') through this Site becomes and remains our property, even if this agreement is later terminated.
Bel Brands is not obligated to treat any such submission as confidential.
You can not sue Bel Brands for using User Content in any manner.
If Bel Brands uses User Content, it does not have to pay you or anyone else for them.
We will have exclusive ownership of all present and future rights to User Content and submissions of every kind. We can use them for any purpose, without compensating you or anyone else for them.
You acknowledge that you are responsible for any User Content that you submit to Bel Brands or the laughingcow.com Site — in other words, you acknowledge that you (and not we) have full responsibility for the message, including its legality, reliability, appropriateness, originality, and copyright.
Your privilege to use the Site and/or any Forum and to contribute to discussions on any Forum depends on your compliance with the guidelines set forth above and the other provisions of these Terms and Conditions. We may revoke your privilege and/or take any other appropriate measures to enforce these guidelines and Terms without any liability whatsoever to you, if we believe violations have occurred, as solely determined by us, or violations are brought to our attention. Further, we may in our sole discretion, terminate your access to or participation to or in the Site, any bulletin board, chat room or other Forum for any reason.
Please remember, when using the Site, any Site services, or Forums, that you agree to abide by the guidelines set forth above, and TERMS AND CONDITIONS. We will not knowingly allow users under the above stated minimum age to participate in chat, bulletin boards or other forums, if offered on the Site.
Bel Brands USA reserves the right to monitor some, all, or no activity on any Forum on the Site for adherence to these or other rules that may be published from time to time and at any time. You acknowledge that by providing you with the ability to distribute your content, or have access to content has been distributed, the Site is acting as a passive conduit for such distribution and Bel Brands USA is not undertaking any obligation or liability relating to any content or activities in any Forum or Forum area.
The Site, or third parties posting Content on the Site, may provide links to other websites or resources. In addition, other websites may provide a link to this Site. Because Bel Brands USA has no control over such use or other websites and resources, you acknowledge and agree that Bel Brands USA is not responsible for the availability of such external sites or resources, and does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, products, services or other materials on or available from or through such sites or resources, or any actions of any of them. You further acknowledge and agree that Bel Brands USA shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, actions, advertising, products or services available on or through any such Site or resource.
Bel Brands USA uses normal business efforts to maintain the Site, but is not responsible for any defects or failures associated with the Site or any damages (such as but not limited to lost data, profits or other consequential damages) that may result from any such defects or failures. In addition, Bel Brands USA makes no guarantees as to the sites and information located worldwide throughout the Internet to which you may gain access as a result of the use of the Site, including as to: (i) the accuracy, currency, content, or quality of any such sites and information, or (ii) whether any search using the Site may locate unintended and objectionable content.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS OF WARRANTIES:
THE SITE IS PROVIDED ON AN " ‘AS IS' AS AVAILABLE" BASIS AND YOU USE IT AT YOUR SOLE RISK. BEL BRANDS USA EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.
WITHOUT LIMITATION BEL BRANDS USA MAKES NO WARRANTY THAT THE SITE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, THAT IT WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE, OR FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS, THAT THE RESULTS OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF THE SITE WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE, OR THAT THE QUALITY OF ANY PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, OR OTHER MATERIAL OBTAINED THROUGH THE SITE WILL MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, AND ANY ERRORS IN THE SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED.
ANY MATERIAL DOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF THE SITE IS DONE AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM, OR ANY COMPUTER SYSTEM YOU USE, OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OR USE OF ANY SUCH MATERIAL OR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE.
FURTHER, PLEASE NOTE THAT NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM BEL BRANDS USA PERSONNEL OR THROUGH THE SITE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY PROVIDED FOR IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.
Disclaimer Regarding Shopping
The Site may provide advertisements to help you locate and potentially purchase products or services (collectively "Merchandise") from online and offline retailers. Bel Brands USA does not, however, control these independent retailers and does not provide any assurance, warranty or guarantee of any kind that you will be satisfied with their Merchandise. When shopping by means of advertisements provided on the Site, you acknowledge and agree that: Bel Brands USA does not endorse any of the Merchandise linked to or through the Site, nor has Bel Brands USA taken any steps to confirm the accuracy or reliability of any of the information provided by third parties through the Site or their own websites.
Bel Brands USA expressly disclaims any and all representations or warranties as to the security of any information (including, without limitation, credit card and other personal information) you might be requested to give to any third party. We advise you to exercise your own judgment and to investigate as you deem necessary, before proceeding with any online or offline transaction with any third party.
Limitation of Liability
YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT BEL BRANDS USA SHALL NOT BE LIABLE 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 (EVEN IF BEL BRANDS USA HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES), RESULTING FROM: (i) THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE SITE; (ii) THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS, DATA, INFORMATION OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED OR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO THROUGH OR FROM THE SITE; (iii) UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS OR DATA; (iv) STATEMENTS OR CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTY ON THE SITE; OR (v) ANY OTHER MATTER RELATING TO THE SITE. IN NO EVENT SHALL BEL BRANDS USA'S TOTAL LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION (WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU, IF ANY, FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.
SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. ACCORDINGLY, SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.
YOU AGREE TO INDEMNIFY, DEFEND AND HOLD HARMLESS BEL BRANDS USA, ITS PARENTS, AFFILIATES AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES, ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION AGENCIES AND THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, CONSULTANTS AND AGENTS FROM ANY AND ALL THIRD PARTY CLAIMS, LIABILITY, DAMAGES, ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS AND/OR COSTS (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ATTORNEYS FEES) ARISING IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FROM YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT YOU SUBMIT, POST, TRANSMIT OR MAKE AVAILABLE, YOUR VIOLATION OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OR YOUR INFRINGEMENT OF ANY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OR INFRINGEMENT OR VIOLATION OF ANY OTHER RIGHT OF ANY PERSON OR ENTITY.
Termination and Modification
You agree that Bel Brands USA, in its sole discretion, may terminate your use of the Site, and remove and discard any Content within the Site, for any reason, including, without limitation, for lack of use or if Bel Brands USA, believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the Terms and Conditions. Bel Brands USA may also in its sole discretion and at any time discontinue providing the Site, or any part thereof, with or without notice. You agree that any termination of your access to the Site under any provision of these Terms and Conditions may be effected without prior notice, and acknowledge and agree that Bel Brands USA may immediately deactivate or delete any information which you provided and all related information and files and/or bar any further access to such files or the Site. Further, you agree that Bel Brands USA shall not be liable to you or any third-party for any termination of your access to the Site.
Governing Law/Dispute Resolution
Except where prohibited by law, by using the Site you agree as follows:
Any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with these Terms and Conditions and your use of the Site shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by arbitration pursuant to the Rules of the American Arbitration Association, then effective; and
The arbitrator may, in accordance with the rules of equity, grant injunctions or other equitable relief. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final, conclusive and binding upon the parties, and a judgment may be obtained thereon in any court having jurisdiction. Any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with accessing this Site and the cost of the arbitrator, but in no event attorneys' fees; and
Under no circumstances will any user be permitted to obtain awards for and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased; and
All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions, or the rights and obligations of Bel Brands USA and any user of the Site shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Illinois, without regard for conflicts of law doctrine of any jurisdiction; and
All proceedings shall take place in Illinois.
Other Miscellaneous Terms
The failure of Bel Brands USA to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms and Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of these Terms shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from the Terms and Conditions and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions. This is the entire agreement between you and Bel Brands USA, relating to the subject matter herein and shall not be modified by you except in writing, signed by both parties. These Terms and Conditions will inure to the benefit of Bel Brands USA, its parents, successors, assigns and licensees. You agree that regardless of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action arising out of or related to use of the Site or the Terms and Conditions must be filed within one (1) year after first occurrence of the circumstances upon such claim or cause of action arose, or be forever barred.
The section titles in these Terms and Conditions are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
Copyright And Copyright Notices
Bel Brands USA respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask users of our Site to do the same. Bel Brands USA may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, terminate the right to use the Site of any user who infringes upon the intellectual property rights of any other person or entity. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please provide Bel Brands USA Notice, with the following information:
an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
a description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
a description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the Site;
your address, telephone number, and email address;
a statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
a statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your Notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf. Please submit your Notice of Claim of copyright infringement to:
Chief Financial Officer
Bel Brands USA
30 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 30
Chicago, IL 60606
or via the "Questions & Comments" section at
Special Admonitions For International Use
Recognizing the global nature of the Internet, you agree to comply with all local rules regarding online conduct and acceptable Content. Further you specifically agree to comply with all applicable laws regarding the transmission of technical data exported from the United States or the country in which you reside.