Introduction to the DRACC series



Introduction to the DRACC series








Leenaars, M.A.G.J.; Šuklje, M.


January 2017


The Commons Conservancy

This document is part of the DRACC series. You can reuse it under a "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International" license.


This document serves to establish the "Directives and Regulatory Archive of [The Commons Conservancy]" - or DRACC for short. DRACC is a write only series of official documents created and/or maintained by [The Commons Conservancy]. The documents in the DRACC series are numbered sequentially in decimal notation, starting at zero and with an interval of one.

Persistent behaviour is essential to allow contributors to trust the provisions made within these documents. The fact that DRACC's cannot ever be changed is itself an immutable condition in an immutable part of the statutes of [The Commons Conservancy]. A DRACC document can therefore be uniquely referred to by use of the unique identifier "DRACC" with its sequence number in the series. For mnemonic and typographic reasons, padding of the actual sequence number with zeroes may be removed or added. For instance [DRACC 0001] and [DRACC 1] both refer to the same DRACC document, in this case the document describing the original mission statement of [The Commons Conservancy]. One can also refer to it by its title as DRACC "Mission statement of [The Commons Conservancy]", which has the added benefit of referencing the latest version, if a new version was to ever be published. Please note there are possible exceptions to this default behaviour, such as the one defined in the section "Constitutional Realms" below. Authors SHALL explicitly mention non-default naming behaviour prominently inside each DRACC.

All policy document that are offically released by [The Commons Conservancy] are allocated a canonical DRACC sequence number. In addition, [The Commons Conservacy] may allocate namespaced aliases to subsets of documents within the DRACC series that belong together. An example would be DRACC ABC-Y, where the namespace ABC indicates the sub-series name, and Y indicates the sub-series sequence number (again, starting at 0 and using only natural numbers). The use of namespaced DRACC aliases is otherwise identical to the main document series, and is additional to the publication and numbering there.

Categories and scopes

Not every DRACC document has the same weight, which is why they are categorised. The category to which a document belongs is indicated in the metadata header at the top of each document with the field "Category". A document that acts as a regulation is for instance published in the category "Regulatory", while a document that is merely guidance but has no mandatory aspects has "Category: Informational" at the top.

If the scope of a certain regulation is limited to a specific Programme within [The Commons Conservancy], this will be indicated in the metadata header at the top of each document with the field "Scope" (for the definition of Programme see DRACC "Mapping Rights to Programmes"). A document that contains provisions applicable throughout [The Commons Conservancy] is published with "Scope: Global", while a document that describes something which applies only at the Programme level contains "Scope: Programme".

Constitutional Realms

While a lot of thought has been put into making the framework behind [The Commons Conservancy], both external changes (such as important modifications to copyright law, or even the introduction of new legal mechanisms) and progressive insight (after being operational for a longer period and seeing different types of Programmes scale up) could result in possible design improvements to the initial design of [The Commons Conservancy]. But improvements are in the eye of the beholder, and what is progress to some is not unlikely to feel detrimental to others. The regime under which a Programme is established itself is immutable, to protect those who feel the current situation should remain. This long term persistence makes [The Commons Conservancy] entirely predictable and reliable.

For those who would like to allow improvements over time, a special category of DRACC documents was created: "Constitutional". Constitutional DRACC documents themselves contain only an index which identifies a complete set of core regulatory DRACCS. These authoritatively define all the required terminology, and arrange the relevant legal matters at the highest practical level. Such a comprehensive set of adopted principles and regulations shall be called a Constitutional Realm, and the possibility to create multiple (likely mutually incompatible) Constitutional Realms within [The Commons Conservancy] acts like a versioning or snapshotting mechanism at the foundation level. Every official version remains available to be used for as long as there are communities that feel like doing so, and additional versions are added for those who want to adopt them (given the proper mandate and adequate compatibility). That way a Programme doesn't have to leave [The Commons Conservancy] just for the possibility to change the regime or to keep its regime when all others have changed it.

A switch of Constitutional realms is a completely voluntary option, which the governing body of a Programme MAY choose to adopt if it so chooses. There CANNOT ever be a mandatory 'upgrade': the responsiblity for choosing which Constitutional realm is adopted lies at the Programme level. A Programme MUST subscribe to one (and only one) single Constitutional Realm. The reason for this exclusivity is that different Constitutional realms may rewrite terminology and contradict each other, so their regulations can be incompatible with others. DRACC 0002 "Core Regulations" defines the first of such Constitutional Realms, and it itself is an immutable part of the statutes of [The Commons Conservancy]. By default a newly established Programme subscribes to the most recently published Constitutional Realm.

The titles of DRACC documents that are part of a Constitutional Realm are unique within the context of that Constitutional Realm, and only the Board of [The Commons Conservancy] MAY create new DRACC with the same names. This will allow these documents to be referred to by their name rather than by a specific number, within the applicable Constitutional Realm. When a DRACC in a category other than "Constitutional" mentions a regulatory DRACC by name, it does so within the current Constitutional Realm of the Programme. For example, for all Programmes that DRACC 0002 applies to as their Constitutional Realm, when such Programmes or any DRACC they use refer to "Graduation DRACC", this means DRACC 0007, regardless whether there is a new version of the Graduation DRACC already.

Publishing and prohibiting new versions of a DRACC

DRACC documents once published, do not ever change and cannot be withdrawn (with the noted exception of a valid court order as described in the next paragraph). When there is a need (and not to be forgotten: an adequate mandate) to make changes to what is stipulated in a specific DRACC document, an updated version SHALL be published with a new number. The new document SHALL clearly indicate whether or not it operationally obsoletes or deprecates (a part of) a previously published DRACC.

Similar to the lock on the parts of the statutes that describe the immutability of the DRACC series, some DRACC documents are to be valid forever. This concerns for instance the document that describes on how assets are distributed across Programmes within [The Commons Conservancy] -- DRACC "Mapping Rights to Programmes".

Any DRACC document MAY itself specify that it cannot be replaced, by adding "Status: Final" to its document metadata header. In such a case, [The Commons Conservancy] MUST never obsolete, remove or publish a new version of the document except when it is forced to by a court of law. If a Programme is Forked (see DRACC "Programme Forking"), any such locks SHALL propagate to the new Programmes. Publishing clarifications to a document with status "Final" (as new documents) MAY be allowed, but no new provisions may be added.

Making it impossible to ever improve a policy or regulation written down in a DRACC is something to thorougly consider and reconsider beforehand, because it severely restricts flexibility to repair mistakes. If only part of a certain document needs to be locked down, or can be obsoleted but only after a certain period of time or under very specific conditions, the status can be set to "Status: Partial Lock", "Status: Time Lock", or "Status: Conditional Lock". In such a case documents SHALL contain a section "Status information" containing a complete history of document modification, including the person(s) responsible for these changes and a short motivation.

Removal of DRACC documents after a court order

A specific DRACC document MAY only be removed in the exceptional case that a court order valid in the country where [The Commons Conservancy] has its seat demands the removal of information contained in it, and after a replacement DRACC document (with a new number and with modified content) is created. All references in other DRACC documents to the removed DRACC document SHALL then be considered to technically refer to such new DRACC document. DRACC documents are publically accessible and can be copied by everyone for free. [The Commons Conservancy] therefore cannot be expected to govern copies by others.

Recommendations on language use

DRACC documents are formal documents that describe the rules and parameters within which [The Commons Conservancy] operates. DRACC can contain instructions which have legal consequences and may determine the operations of activities within [The Commons Conservancy]. DRACC are therefore RECOMMENDED to take note of [Bradner 1997] in IETF RFC 2119, and use capitalisation of the key words mentioned therein to indicate Requirement Levels.

Reuse of these documents

[The Commons Conservancy] is built around the idea to empower communities with a stable, lightweight legal framework. The framework is not limited to a single instance, and it should be easy to set up and run your own version of the organisation. There are valid reasons to do so, for instance because you intend to serve a particular community or geographic region that needs special provisions.

The core of the legal framework is the DRACC series, and therefore it makes sense that this is available under a license that will allow you to reuse and modify the documents it contains for your own organisation.

By submitting documents to the publication queue of [The Commons Conservancy], a contributor acknowledges that [The Commons Conservancy] is to be seen as the legitimate copyright holder and agrees to this vision and these conditions. The contributor SHALL indicate the use of third party resources, and their copyright status.