15. Dispute Resolution.

Please read this section carefully. It affects rights that you may otherwise have. It provides for resolution of most disputes through arbitration instead of court trials and class actions. Arbitration is final and binding and subject to only very limited review by a court. This arbitration clause shall survive termination of this agreement.

If a dispute arises between you and Backstage, our goal is to provide you a neutral and cost effective means of resolving the dispute quickly.

  1. Negotiations.

Before initiating any arbitration or court proceeding, you and Backstage agree to first attempt to negotiate any dispute, controversy or claim related to the Websites, these Terms of Use or the Privacy Policy, whether based in contract, tort, statute, fraud, misrepresentation or any other legal theory (each, a “Claim”) (except those Claims expressly provided in Section 15.7 below) informally for at least thirty (30) days. Negotiations will begin upon written notice. Backstage will send its notice via Certified Mail to your billing or other physical address (if on file with Backstage) and email you a copy to the email address you have provided. You agree to send your notice via Certified Mail to Backstage’s General Counsel’s Office at the address specified in Section 8.1 and email a copy to legal@backstage.com.

  1. Binding Arbitration.

This Section 15 is referred to in these Terms of Use as the “Arbitration Agreement.” You agree that any and all disputes or claims that have arisen or may arise between you and Backstage or a Backstage affiliate, whether relating to these Terms of Use (including any alleged breach thereof), or otherwise, shall be resolved exclusively through final and binding arbitration, rather than a court in accordance with the terms of this Arbitration Agreement, except you may assert individual claims in small claims court, if your claims qualify. Your rights will be determined by a neutral arbitrator, not a judge or jury. The Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this Arbitration Agreement.

  1. Arbitration Procedures.

The arbitration of any dispute or claim shall be conducted in accordance with the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) as modified by this agreement. The AAA Rules and information about arbitration and fees are available upon request from the AAA (call 1-800-778-7879) or online at adr.org. You and Backstage agree that the Terms of Use evidences a transaction in interstate commerce and this arbitration provision will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law.

An arbitrator may not award relief in excess of or contrary to what the Terms of Use provides, including Section 18 Limitation of Liability, order consolidation or arbitration on a class wide or representative basis, or award punitive damages or any other damages aside from the prevailing party’s actual economic damages, except that the arbitrator may award on an individual basis damages expressly required by statute and may order injunctive or declaratory relief pursuant to an applicable consumer protection statute. In any arbitration applying the AAA Rules applicable to large/complex cases, the arbitrator(s) must also apply the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the losing party may have the award reviewed in accordance with the review procedures set forth in the AAA Rules. Any arbitration shall be confidential, and neither you nor we may disclose the existence, content or results of any arbitration, except as may be required by law or for purposes of enforcement of the arbitration award. Judgment on any arbitration award may be entered in any court having proper jurisdiction. If any portion of this arbitration clause is determined by a court to be inapplicable or invalid, than the remainder shall still be given full force and effect.

As part of the arbitration, both you and we will have the opportunity for discovery of non-privileged information that is relevant to the Claim. The arbitrator will provide a written statement of the arbitrator’s decision regarding the Claim, the award given and the arbitrator’s findings and conclusions on which the arbitrator’s decision is based. The determination of whether a Claim is subject to arbitration shall be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and determined by a court rather than an arbitrator. Except as otherwise provided in these Terms of Use, (i) you and Backstage may litigate in court to compel arbitration, stay proceedings pending arbitration, or confirm, modify, vacate or enter judgment on the award entered by the arbitrator; and (ii) the arbitrator’s decision will be final, binding on all parties and enforceable in any court that has jurisdiction, provided that any award may be challenged if the arbitrator fails to follow applicable law. BY AGREEING TO THIS ARBITRATION PROVISION, YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU AND BACKSTAGE ARE WAIVING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.

  1. Arbitration Fees.

All administrative fees and expenses of arbitration will be divided equally between you and us, except that for claims of less than $500, you will be obligated to pay $25 and we will pay all other administrative costs and fees. In all arbitrations, each party will bear the expense of its own counsel, experts, witnesses and preparation and presentation of evidence at the arbitration.

  1. Location.

The arbitration will take place in your hometown area if you so notify Backstage in your notice of arbitration or within five (5) days following receipt of Backstage’s arbitration notice. In the absence of a notice to conduct the arbitration in your hometown area, the arbitration will be conducted in New York, New York, unless the parties agree to video, phone or Internet connection appearances.

  1. Prohibition of Class and Representative Actions and Non-Individualized Relief.

YOU AND BACKSTAGE AGREE THAT ANY ARBITRATION WILL BE LIMITED TO THE CLAIM BETWEEN BACKSTAGE AND YOU INDIVIDUALLY. YOU AND BACKSTAGE AGREE THAT (A) THERE IS NO RIGHT OR AUTHORITY FOR ANY DISPUTE TO BE ARBITRATED ON A CLASS-ACTION BASIS OR TO UTILIZE CLASS ACTION PROCEDURES; (B) THERE IS NO RIGHT OR AUTHORITY FOR ANY DISPUTE TO BE BROUGHT IN A PURPORTED REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY OR AS A PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL; AND (C) NO ARBITRATION WILL BE JOINED WITH ANY OTHER.

  1. Exceptions to Negotiations and Arbitration.

You and Backstage agree that the following Claims are not subject to the above provisions concerning negotiations and binding arbitration: (i) any Claims seeking to enforce or protect, or concerning the validity of, any of your or Backstage’s intellectual property rights; (ii) any Claim related to, or arising from, allegations of theft, piracy, invasion of privacy or unauthorized use; and (iii) any claim for equitable relief. In addition to the foregoing, either party may assert an individual action in small claims court for Claims that are within the scope of such courts’ jurisdiction in lieu of arbitration, provided that any such action or proceeding must be commenced no later than one year after the accrual of the Claim giving rise thereto.

  1. Severability.

You and Backstage agree that if any portion of the Arbitration Agreement is found illegal or unenforceable, that portion will be severed and the remainder of this section will be given full force and effect. If for any reason the Arbitration Agreement is deemed inapplicable or invalid, you and Backstage both agree (i) that all Claims will be exclusively decided either the courts of the State of New York situated in the County of New York or in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and you and Backstage agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of those courts, and (ii) that you and Backstage both waive, to the fullest extent allowed by law, any claims to recover punitive or exemplary damages and any right to pursue any claims on a class or consolidated basis or in a representative capacity. By using the Websites, you accept generally and unconditionally the jurisdiction of the aforesaid courts and irrevocably waives any objection to such jurisdiction.

 

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