Hibernation of assets

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Title: Hibernation of assets
DRACC: 0009
Category: Regulatory
Scope: Global
Authors: Leenaars, M.A.G.J.; Šuklje M.
Date: January 2017
Copyright: The Commons Conservancy

This document is part of the DRACC series, see DRACC "Introduction to DRACC Series" for an explanation. You can reuse it under a "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International" license.

On behalf of the Programmes (see DRACC "Mapping rights to Programmes") [The Commons Conservancy], amongst performing other roles, acts as the legal custodian of intangible assets such as intellectual property rights on computer source code, URI schemes, cryptographic identifiers and domain names. [The Commons Conservancy] does not request or enforce exclusive control over such assets, however, incomplete transfer or licensing of rights MAY limit its capabilities to act in the public interest.

In the event that a certain Programme has ceased development and is no longer able to sustain its operation (see DRACC "Programme Lifecycle"), the Programme goes into Hibernation. Any assets held by [The Commons Conservancy] on its behalf SHALL be treated according to the procedure defined in this document. [The Commons Conservancy] will handle the legacy of a Programme on a 'best effort' basis, and with the intention to serve the Programme's wider community.

The following course of action (in this precise order) will be taken, with each step being publicly announced on the relevant official publication channels of [The Commons Conservancy] (e.g. its website):

  1. A copy of all online assets stored on external servers SHALL be archived by [The Commons Conservancy], where possible including software necessary to maintain them.
  2. Any assets shared among different Programmes -- i.e. assets that were initially contributed to several Programmes at the same time (see DRACC "Mapping Rights to Programmes"), as well as assets shared between Shared Asset Forks (see DRACC "Programme Forking") and ethical co-stewards (see DRACC "Asset Sharing") -- will continue to be assigned to the remaining active Programmes.
  3. If a Programme has made provisions in its statutes or regulations regarding certain assets in case of the termination of the Programme, those provisions MUST be honoured provided such is in compliance with the regulations of [The Commons Conservancy] at the time of entry of the Programme into [The Commons Conservancy] or any later version of regulations explicitly adopted by the Programme.
  4. All remaining assets SHALL be transferred to a place-holder Programme directly under the aegis of the Board of [The Commons Conservancy]. [The Commons Conservancy] is itself not able to fund sustained recurring costs such as renewals of trademark registration or domain names, but MAY enter into an agreement with other organisations to bear such costs and thus allow particular assets linked to recurring cost to remain kept.

If a Programme Graduates from [The Commons Conservancy] into a separate legal entity (see DRACC "Graduation"), and that legal entity is terminated, assets which are returned to [The Commons Conservancy] enter into a state of Hibernation directly without following the above procedure.

Assets placed in Hibernation MAY be reactivated pending strict conditions, including any conditions set by the Programme itself prior to its Hibernation in its statutes or regulations. Another Programme MAY request the Board of [The Commons Conservancy] to adopt some or all of the assets kept in Hibernation, or even to reopen the assets as a new Programme altogether. Any such request SHALL be subject to a Public Consultation round (see DRACC "Public Consultation"), open to receive input of all stakeholders. In the decision to grant such a request, the Board of [The Commons Conservancy] SHALL take into account special provisions resulting from the statutes and regulations of the hibernated Programme.

[The Commons Conservancy] SHALL place notifications on the relevant official publication channels of [The Commons Conservancy] (e.g. its website), where possible to inform interested stakeholders -- such as, for example, users and developers of the Programme's work and the works of any of its Descendants, should they exist -- about the Hibernation status of the Programme, as well as any requests to adopt Hibernated assets in other Programmes. It SHALL allow interested stakeholders to receive updates (either by way of email or through another automated way of notification), such as expressions of interest to revive a certain Programme or any legal claims made by others involving those assets which are relevant.

Note that [The Commons Conservancy] MAY relocate hibernated assets to an external not-for-profit entity at any point if such is necessary to protect itself and its other Programmes against legal action involving hibernated assets.