"The Mobbies" contest -- Official Rules

1. INTRODUCTION

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. “The Mobbies” Contest (“Contest”) is sponsored by The Baltimore Sun Company, LLC (“Baltimore Sun”), 501 N. Calvert Street, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, Maryland 21278, and is designed to highlight Maryland’s Best Blogs, i.e., the “Mobbies,” Social Media Accounts and Podcasts. A “Blog” is defined as a Web page with dated entries, with the most recent entries at the top of the page. A Blog includes all text, images, video, sounds, content, graphics or other material included or posted to the Blog, all of which together are subject to all requirement and limitations in these Official Rules. A “Social Media Account” is an account with publicly viewable posts on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit, Vine or on a Facebook public page. A “Podcast” is an episodic online audio series.

Contest period begins on October 19, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., and ends on November 12, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. All times stated in these Official Rules are Eastern Time. The Baltimore Sun’s computer is the official time-keeping device for this Contest. The geographic scope of this Contest is the 50 United States and District of Columbia. Contest is void where prohibited. By submitting a nomination (a “Nomination”), being nominated, voting on a Nomination, or accepting a prize in this Contest, all participants agree to these Official Rules and to the decisions of Baltimore Sun, which are final and binding in all respects. This Contest will consist of the following two stages, which are more fully detailed below.

Stage 1 -- Nominations: Nominations will be accepted starting on Oct. 19, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. and ending on Oct. 30, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. (the “Nomination Period”). During the Nomination Period, baltimoresun.com users may nominate their favorite Blogs, Social Media Accounts, and Podcasts.

Stage 2 -- Online Voting: Nominations that are timely and properly submitted during the Nomination Period will be published on baltimoresun.com (the “Contest Web Site”) for public voting beginning Nov. 2, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. and ending on Nov. 12, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. (“Voting Period”).

2. ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for a prize, each Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast must satisfy the following eligibility requirements: All Blogs, Social Media Accounts, or Podcasts must be written by legal residents of the 50 United States or District of Columbia (each a “Nominee”). Nominees must be at least 14 years old at the time of nomination. You are not eligible to be nominated or win a prize for any category (although you remain eligible to nominate or vote for other Blogs, Social Media Accounts, or Podcasts) if you are a current employee of the Baltimore Sun Company or Tribune Publishing Company or any of their respective parent companies, advertising companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, promotion contractors and/or public relations companies or any other entity that participated in the creation, operation or fulfillment of this Contest or you are a member of the immediate family of any such employee. “Immediate family” includes only spouses, parents, siblings and children.

3. STAGE 1: NOMINATION PERIOD

Blogs, Social Media Accounts and Podcasts may be nominated during the Nomination Period at the Contest Web Site, located at baltimoresun.com. You may nominate your own Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast. All Blogs, Social Media Accounts and Podcasts must satisfy the “Submission Requirements” below. To nominate a Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast, visit the Contest Web Site during the Nomination Period and follow the instructions to nominate one or more Blogs, Social Media Accounts, or Podcasts in any of the following categories (each a “Category”):

Blogs are eligible in the following categories:

BEST CITY BLOG
BEST SUBURBS BLOG
BEST NEW BLOG (a blog launched after October 31, 2014)
MOST INFLUENTIAL BLOG OR ACCOUNT
BEST POLITICS BLOG
BEST PHOTO BLOG
BEST FOOD BLOG
BEST PRO SPORTS BLOG
BEST COLLEGE/AMATEUR SPORTS BLOG
BEST HEALTH/WELLNESS BLOG
BEST PERSONAL BLOG
BEST ART/FASHION/DIY BLOG
BEST MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT BLOG
BEST FAMILY BLOG
BEST UNCATEGORIZED BLOG
READERS' CHOICE (top vote-getter in any one category)
EDITORS’ CHOICE (Best answer published on a Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast to the prompt, “What is your wish, prediction or message for Baltimore’s future?” as selected by Baltimore Sun staffers (the “Answer”)

Social Media Accounts are eligible in the following categories:

MOST INFLUENTIAL BLOG OR ACCOUNT
BEST TWITTER ACCOUNT
BEST INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
BEST FACEBOOK PAGE
READERS’ CHOICE (top vote-getter in any one Category)
EDITORS’ CHOICE (Best Answer)

Podcasts are eligible in the following categories:

MOST INFLUENTIAL BLOG OR ACCOUNT
BEST PODCAST
READERS’ CHOICE (top vote-getter in any one Category)
EDITORS’ CHOICE (Best Answer)

You may nominate as many Blogs as you like in Categories Blogs are eligible in, but you may nominate each Blog for only up to two Categories Blogs are eligible in, plus the Editors’ Choice, Best City Blog, Best Suburbs Blog, or Best New Blog Categories. You may nominate as many Social Media Accounts as you like in Categories Social Media Accounts are eligible in. Once the Voting Period begins, a Blog may be listed in up to two Categories, plus the Editors’ Choice, Best City Blog, Best Suburbs Blog, or Best New Blog Categories. Baltimore Sun reserves the right to select and edit Categories and Blogs’, Social Media Accounts’ and Podcasts’ categorization, and Baltimore Sun may do so in its sole discretion. All Nominations will be approved by Baltimore Sun staff before they’re included publicly in the Contest. However, as noted below, publication of a Nomination on the Contest Web Site does not constitute an acknowledgment or determination of satisfaction of these Official Rules, including without limitation eligibility limitations and Submission Requirements.

The Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast that receives the most votes in any one Category will be named the “Readers’ Choice.” If a Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast is nominated in more than one Category, vote totals will not be added or averaged. Nominations will not be accepted via regular mail or any other method. Nominations must be received by Baltimore Sun the close of the Nomination Period. Baltimore Sun is not responsible for Nominations that are lost, misdirected, mutilated, incomplete, not legible; if they contain errors or if for any reason they are not received prior to the stated deadline and all such Nominations are void. All Nominations become the property of Baltimore Sun and will not be returned or acknowledged. Nominations that lack any required information or do not adhere to the above guidelines, the Submission Requirements or these Official Rules in any way, as determined by Baltimore Sun at any time in its discretion, may be disqualified without further notification by Baltimore Sun.

4. STAGE 2: VOTING PERIOD

All Nominations that are eligible, timely, and properly submitted during the Nomination Period will be published on the Contest Web Site for public voting during the Voting Period. The publication of a Nomination on the Contest Web Site during the Voting Period does not constitute an acknowledgment or determination by Baltimore Sun that the Nomination satisfies these Official Rules, including the Submission Requirements, or that the corresponding Nominee is otherwise eligible. Baltimore Sun reserves the right, at any point during this Contest, to refuse to publish to the Contest Web Site, or to remove from the Contest Web Site, any Nominations that Baltimore Sun determines, at any time and in its sole discretion, do not satisfy all requirements of these Official Rules.

During the Voting Period, any registered users of baltimoresun.com (including Nominees) (collectively referred to as “Voters”) may visit the Contest Web Site to view all properly submitted Nominations and to vote for their favorite Nomination in each Category. Registration on baltimoresun.com is free. Voters must be at least 14 years old and located in the United States when they cast their vote. Votes may not be routed through foreign servers or IP addresses. Voting is limited to one vote per baltimoresun.com account per 24-hour period per Category. Proxy voting is not allowed. This includes but is not limited to creating multiple or dummy emails. No one may purchase votes. The use of automated devices for voting is not permitted and will result in the disqualification of all votes received through that method and/or from that Voter. Baltimore Sun reserves the right to disqualify any votes cast in violation of the above restrictions or any Voter who violates the above restrictions. Subject to verification of eligibility, the Nominee whose Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast receives the highest number of votes in each Category will be declared the “Winner” of that Category.

If there is a tie for first, the Voting Period for the tied Nominations will be extended by 24 hours. This process will continue as necessary until any such tie is broken. Baltimore Sun reserves the right not to award a prize in any Category in which it does not receive a sufficient number of timely, properly submitted and otherwise eligible Nominations or votes.

5. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Each Blog, Social Media Account, Podcast, or Answer (as defined above) must satisfy all of these Submission Requirements. The Blog, Social Media Account, Podcast, or Answer must be written (or created in the case of Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and Podcasts) by a Marylander, or concern a Maryland-based company, or have a Maryland focus. The Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast must also have been updated at least once in the 30 days prior to the Contest start date. Each Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast must be the original work of the Nominee. Blogs, Social Media Accounts, and Answers must be written in English, and must not include misused copyright notices or watermarks. Blogs, Social Media Accounts, Podcasts, and Answers containing sexually explicit or indecent material, obscenity, material that would be harmful or inappropriate for viewing by minors, or other adult content will not be eligible. Blogs, Social Media Accounts, Podcasts, and Answers must not infringe upon any rights of any third party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, and rights of privacy and publicity and must not defame any third party. The Baltimore Sun may, in its discretion, require documentation to substantiate the originality and ownership of the Blog, Social Media Account, Podcast, or Answer. Failure to provide such documentation to Baltimore Sun’s satisfaction may result in disqualification.

Any Blog, Social Media Account, Podcast, or Answer that is determined by Baltimore Sun in its sole discretion at any time during the Contest to violate the Submission Requirements or the Official Rules, or to otherwise be in poor taste, may be rejected and disqualified.

6. WARRANTIES BY WINNERS

By accepting a prize, Winners warrant that their Blogs, Social Media Accounts, Podcasts, and Answers are original, were created or written by them, do not violate any copyright or trademark laws, and do not plagiarize, libel, defame, disparage, slander or otherwise infringe on or violate the rights of any person or entity. Finally, by accepting a prize, Winners warrant that the distribution, reproduction, display and any other uses of their Blogs, Social Media Accounts, Podcasts, and Answers by Baltimore Sun as permitted herein will not infringe any third party rights, including those of any person who is depicted or mentioned in the Blog, Social Media Account, Podcast, or Answer. Each Winner agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Baltimore Sun, its parent companies and subsidiaries, and their respective officers, directors, employees and affiliated organizations, from and against any and all claims, demands, damages, costs, liabilities and causes of action of whatsoever nature that are based upon or arise out of any breach by the Winner of these Official Rules or the warranties and representations made in this Section.

7. PRIVACY POLICY

The information that you provide in connection with the Contest will be used by Baltimore Sun in accordance with its Privacy Policy, which is found at www.baltimoresun.com, and which may be updated from time to time.

8. PRIZES

Category Prizes, Blogs, Social Media Accounts, and Podcasts: Each Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast Winner will be linked to for a period of at least 14 days in a featured authors module on a baltimoresun.com page highlighting the work of the Winners.

Readers’ Choice (1) and Editors’ Choice (1): The Readers’ Choice and Editors’ Choice Winners will not receive any additional prize.

9. PRIZE RESTRICTIONS

Prizes are not redeemable for cash and may not be transferred or substituted, except that Baltimore Sun reserves the right to substitute a comparable prize if it deems necessary. There is no value to the prizes listed above, and, if they are not offered for any reason, no alternative prize will be awarded. Prizes cannot be sold, bartered or traded on auction websites. Winners are solely responsible for all expenses unspecified as part of the prize description that are associated with the receipt, acceptance and use of the prize, including without limitation federal, state and local taxes, if any.

10. WINNER NOTIFICATION & VERIFICATION

Baltimore Sun will attempt to contact the potential Winners in accordance with the information supplied to Baltimore Sun on the Nomination. Winners may be required to provide Baltimore Sun with valid identification and proof of eligibility. Acceptable identification includes a valid driver’s license or other valid government-issued picture ID showing name and address of Winner. Winners may also be required to execute, an affidavit of eligibility and liability release and (where legal) publicity release prior to receiving prize and must agree to inclusion of their Blogs and Social Media Accounts in a featured authors module. The liability release will be supplied by Baltimore Sun and, among other disclaimers, releases Baltimore Sun and its subsidiaries, directors, agents, agencies, affiliates, franchisees, promoters, officers, directors, employees and related persons from any and all liability related to this Contest and the receipt and use of any prize. Winners may also be required to sign other legal documents, including tax forms.

11. DISQUALIFICATION

If any potential Winner: (a) cannot be contacted directly by a representative of Baltimore Sun by 5 p.m. two business days following the day contact is first attempted, (b) fails to satisfy any eligibility or verification requirement herein, (c) declines to accept the prize, (d) fails to sign and return any required documents by deadlines set by Sponsor, or (e) is otherwise determined to be ineligible, Baltimore Sun in its discretion may disqualify that potential Winner, and the Nominee whose Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast receives the next highest number of votes in the relevant Category will be declared the “Alternate Winner” in that Category as soon as reasonably practicable after initial Winner is determined to be ineligible. Alternate Winners are subject to all eligibility requirements and restrictions of these Official Rules. Baltimore Sun, its affiliates, subsidiaries and agencies will not be responsible the inability to select the Winners because of postal failure, telecommunications or equipment failure, or data storage failure. If there is a dispute as to the identity or eligibility of a Winner based on an email address or phone number, the Winner will be declared by determining the “Authorized Account Holder” of the email address or phone number associated with the Blog, Social Media Account, or Podcast at time of entry. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address or phone number by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, education institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address or phone number.

12. PUBLICITY RELEASE

By accepting a prize, each Winner hereby grants to Baltimore Sun and its agents permission, without further compensation, to use Winner’s name, likeness, photograph, film, voice recording, and image for promotional purposes in Baltimore Sun’s marketing materials in any media now known or hereafter created, including on Baltimore Sun’s web site, without further compensation, except where prohibited.

13. LIABILITY RELEASE

By nominating, being nominated, voting or accepting a prize, all participants acknowledge that Baltimore Sun, Tribune Publishing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Reddit, Vine, and any affiliates or prize suppliers and all of their employees, officers and directors (“Released Parties”) are not responsible for, and participants agree to release Released Parties from, any and all claims, liability, damages, losses or injuries of any kind, arising out of their participation in the Contest, their acceptance/possession and/or use/misuse of the prize.

By nominating, being nominated, voting or accepting a prize, all participants further acknowledge that Released Parties are not responsible for, and participants agree to release Released Parties from: any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure; theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries; any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, hardware, or software; failure of any email or electronic entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website; or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participation in, voting in or downloading any materials from this Contest.

14. MISCELLANEOUS

Baltimore Sun is entitled to interpret these rules - including but not limited to rules regarding Nominations, voting, determination of Winners, deadlines, restrictions on prizes, and eligibility, and all of its decisions are final. By entering, participants agree to these Official Rules.

Baltimore Sun reserves the right to correct typographical or clerical errors in any Contest-related materials. No more than the stated number of prizes will be awarded.

Baltimore Sun reserves the right to prohibit any person from participating in the Contest or any Voter from casting any votes during the Voting Period if, at its sole discretion, Baltimore Sun finds such person or Voter to be tampering with the nomination process, voting process or other operation of the Contest, or if such person or Voter shows a disregard for, or attempts to circumvent, these Official Rules, or acts: (a) in a manner Baltimore Sun determines to be not fair or equitable; (b) with an intent to annoy, threaten or harass any other person, Voter, or Baltimore Sun or prize supplier; or (c) in any other disruptive manner.

Nominees are permitted to encourage others to vote for their Blogs, Social Media Accounts, or Podcasts. However, collusion between or among any Nominees and/or Voters or other participants to unfairly affect the outcome of the Voting Period or this Contest (e.g., through fraud or tampering) is strictly prohibited and may result in the immediate disqualification of the relevant Nomination or votes cast for that Nomination. Any person attempting to defraud or tamper with this Contest in any way will be ineligible for prizes and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Tampering includes attempting to nominate or vote more than the number of times permitted by these Official Rules including by using an automated device, multiple email addresses or otherwise. Any failure by Baltimore Sun to enforce any of these Official Rules will not constitute a waiver of such Official Rules.

Baltimore Sun reserves the right to cancel, terminate or suspend this Contest or any part of this Contest should any nonauthorized intervention, network failure, information storage failure, telecommunications failure, malfunction, or other causes beyond its control, corrupt or impair the security, administration, fairness and/or operation of this Contest as determined by Baltimore Sun in its sole discretion. If the termination occurs during the Voting Period, Baltimore Sun will select the Winners from among all non-suspect Nominations received prior to the event causing the Contest to be impaired, in accordance with the previously announced selection criteria described above in these Official Rules. If the Contest is terminated during the Nomination Period, Winners will be selected by a panel of judges selected by the Baltimore Sun. If Baltimore Sun terminates the Contest, it will post notice of its action on the Contest website.

15. DISPUTES

By nominating, being nominated, voting or accepting a prize, all participants agree that (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Contest, or any prizes awarded, must be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards will be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Contest, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any participant be permitted to obtain any award for, and all participants hereby waive all rights to claim punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses.

16. CHOICE OF LAW/VENUE/SEVERABILITY

All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Nominees, Voters or Baltimore Sun in connection with the Contest, will be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Maryland. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Contest or relating to these Official Rules must be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in the State of Maryland, County of Baltimore, and the parties consent to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these Official Rules. The invalidity or enforceability of any provision of these Official Rules will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. If any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Official Rules will otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.

17. WINNER'S LIST/OFFICIAL RULES REQUESTS

For a copy of the Official Rules or the Winners’ List, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to “The Mobbies Contest,” c/o Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, Maryland 21278, specifying either “Winners’ List” or “Official Rules Request.” Winners’ List will be available after November 19, 2015.

This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Reddit, Vine, YouTube, Vimeo or Apple. Any questions that entrants have about this Promotion must be directed to Baltimore Sun and not to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Reddit. Vine, YouTube, Vimeo or Apple. Any third party trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective trademark owners. The use or mention of such third party trademarks in these Official Rules or in the Contest is solely for descriptive purposes and will in no way imply an endorsement or sponsorship of the Contest.