Statutes of Co-ment

Title: Statutes of Co-ment
DRACC: 0025
DRACC alias: CMNT-0000
Category: Regulatory
Scope: Programme
Authors: Aigrain, P.
Date: October 2017
Copyright: The Commons Conservancy

This doc­u­ment is copy­right: [The Com­mons Con­ser­van­cy] and Co-­men­t, and ­can be used un­der a Cre­ative Com­mons At­tri­bu­tion 4.0 In­ter­na­tion­al li­cense.


The Co-­ment Pro­gramme (in short: Co-­men­t) has been es­tab­lished to ­fa­cil­i­tate an open, trans­par­ent and ef­fi­cient gov­er­nance pro­cess through­out the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of the tech­nol­o­gy and aux­il­iary ­ma­te­ri­als (such as doc­u­men­ta­tion, test­s, val­ida­tors and tu­to­ri­al­s) de­vel­oped with­in the Co-­ment us­er and de­vel­op­ment com­mu­ni­ty.

Co-­ment seeks to pro­vide guid­ance, over­sight and co­or­di­na­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties as well as a long-ter­m, mul­ti­-s­take­hold­er and ar­chi­tec­tural per­spec­tive.

Financial considerations

Co-­ment op­er­ates on a nil bud­get, which means there are no di­rec­t ­fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions.

Co-­ment Board of Di­rec­tors de­ter­mines the de­sired di­rec­tion of the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­o­gy and aux­il­iary ma­te­ri­al­s. At the re­quest of ­grant­mak­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion­s, donors and part­ner­s, Co-­ment MAY provide guid­ance to oth­ers on and in­spi­ra­tion with re­gards to the es­tab­lish­men­t and eval­u­a­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties. Co-­ment it­self will have no di­rec­t ­fi­nan­cial in­volve­ment in such ac­tiv­i­ties un­der any cir­cum­stances.


The cen­tral de­ci­sion mak­ing body with­in Co-­ment is the Co-­ment Board of Di­rec­tors (in short: Co-­ment Board­). The Co-­ment Board is a mer­i­to­crat­ic ­com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing de­ci­sions on be­half of the us­er and de­vel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty around Co-­men­t, ac­cord­ing to the ­con­di­tions set forth in these Statutes as well as any Reg­u­la­tion­s estab­lished by pri­or de­ci­sions of the Co-­ment Board.

The Co-­ment Board has a min­i­mum of three, and a max­i­mum of sev­en nat­u­ral per­son­s. The found­ing Co-­ment Board has ap­point­ed a num­ber of it­s ­con­sti­tut­ing Di­rec­tors to serve a half (12 mon­th) ter­m, and the re­main­der to serve a reg­u­lar (24 mon­th) ter­m. Sub­se­quent Di­rec­tors are ­elect­ed by the Co-­ment Board to reg­u­lar 24 month terms ac­cord­ing to the pro­ce­dure set out in these Statutes. Di­rec­tors are per­mit­ted to seek of­fice for mul­ti­ple terms, how­ev­er, when run­ning against oth­er ­can­di­dates the amount of terms they have con­sec­u­tive­ly served is d­e­duct­ed from the votes cast in their favour. This pro­vides a bal­ance ­be­tween con­ti­nu­ity, equal op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­new­al of qual­i­ties and ­com­pe­tences.

The Co-­ment Board de­ter­mines the Pro­gram­me’s struc­ture and pro­cess­es, and is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing its Statutes and Reg­u­la­tion­s. The Co-­men­t Board is free to make or re­vise any de­ci­sion, tak­ing in­to con­sid­er­a­tion ap­pli­ca­ble law as well as any im­mutable con­di­tions pre­vi­ous­ly estab­lished with­in the Statutes or Reg­u­la­tion­s.

In or­der to ef­fi­cient­ly ful­fill its tasks, the Board may es­tab­lish spe­cial­ized com­mit­tees and task­forces, as well as as­sign named roles to qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als to pro­vide ad­vice and as­sis­tance on speci­fic is­sues. The as­so­ci­at­ed qual­i­fi­ca­tion­s, tasks and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties SHAL­L be for­malised by pub­li­ca­tion as part of the Reg­u­la­tions of Co-­men­t.

The Co-­ment Board (and any per­son, group or or­gan­i­sa­tion man­dat­ed by the ­Co-­ment Board on its be­half) must act in good faith and in the com­mon in­ter­est of the de­vel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty and the wider us­er com­mu­ni­ty of ­Co-­men­t. If sig­nif­i­cant harm to the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been com­mit­ted by any Di­rec­tor, he or she MAY be re­moved from the Board by a sim­ple ­ma­jor­i­ty vote of the rest of the Board.

The Co-­ment Board SHALL con­vene off­line or on­line at least ev­ery twelve (12) month­s.

Voting procedure

Any two Co-­ment Di­rec­tors MAY joint­ly or­gan­ise a vote of the Co-­ment Board­ on any sub­jec­t, af­ter which a no­ti­fi­ca­tion SHALL be sent out by email to each Di­rec­tor de­tail­ing the pro­posed ac­tion and the dead­line.

Each Di­rec­tor is en­ti­tled to one (1) vote on each mat­ter sub­mit­ted to a vote. Vot­ing hap­pens through an elec­tron­ic vot­ing sys­tem, by email vote or by a quo­rate (on­line) meet­ing. A quo­rum is reached when all Di­rec­tors are ei­ther (tele)p­re­sen­t, have ap­point­ed a proxy or have in­di­cat­ed they will ab­stain from vot­ing.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of each Di­rec­tor to main­tain valid con­tac­t de­tails for com­mu­ni­ca­tion with­in the Board. When a Di­rec­tor does not re­spond to mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion re­quests or in­vi­ta­tions to vote for a pe­ri­od of one month across at least two dif­fer­ent chan­nel­s, he or she is re­moved from the quo­rum count un­til con­tact is re­stored.

Reg­u­lar de­ci­sions of the Co-­ment Board are tak­en by a sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty. Any amend­ment to these Statutes re­quires a con­sen­sus of the en­tire ­Co-­ment Board mi­nus one Di­rec­tor. In all cas­es, the Chair of the Co-­men­t board casts the de­cid­ing vote in case of a tie.

Each Di­rec­tor agrees to use his best ef­forts to re­solve dis­putes in an in­for­mal man­ner.


All Co-­ment Di­rec­tors (as well as any per­sons the Co-­ment Board have del­e­gat­ed tasks and/or re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to) are un­der­stood to act as ­fidu­cia­ries with re­gard to the Co-­ment Pro­gram­me, and their du­ties in­clude, but are not lim­it­ed to, the fidu­cia­ry du­ty of care and the ­fidu­cia­ry du­ty of loy­al­ty.

Di­rec­tors SHOULD NOT re­ceive any per­son­al ben­e­fit as a re­sult of a pend­ing de­ci­sion — he or she is re­quired to ex­plain the cir­cum­stances and avoid tak­ing any part in the de­ci­sion.

Any con­flict of in­ter­est or ap­par­ent con­flict of in­ter­est be­tween Co-­men­t and in­di­vid­u­al Di­rec­tors MUST be avoid­ed. Di­rec­tors un­der­take to de­clare any in­ter­est in any item un­der dis­cus­sion and MAY be in­vit­ed by the ­Co-­ment Chair to with­draw from dis­cus­sions when busi­ness con­cern­ing their per­son­al in­ter­ests or the in­ter­ests of nat­u­ral or le­gal per­sons close to them is be­ing dealt with. Di­rec­tors MUST heed such an in­vi­ta­tion and at the very least ab­stain from vot­ing.

De­ci­sions in­volv­ing ac­tiv­i­ties un­der which one or more Di­rec­tors would have con­flicts of in­ter­est that are of ma­te­ri­al sig­nif­i­cance to the Pro­gramme and/or to the rel­e­vant Di­rec­tor(s) re­quire the ap­proval of the en­tire Co-­ment Board mi­nus the Di­rec­tor(s) with a con­flict of in­ter­est.


Orig­i­nal de­vel­op­ment of Co-­ment start­ed in 2006 with­in the com­pa­ny Sopinspace, ­found­ed by Philippe Aigrain. The soft­ware is al­so avail­able for dis­tri­bu­tion un­der the AG­PLv3 free soft­ware li­cense, un­der the name COMT. Af­ter the clo­sure of the Sopinspace com­pa­ny on De­cem­ber 31st, 2016, all the copy­right on this ­soft­ware and as­so­ci­at­ed con­tent, as well as US and Eu­ro­pean Union trade­mark­s were held by Philippe Aigrain, who gen­er­ous­ly do­nat­ed them to the Co-­men­t Pro­gramme of The Com­mons Con­ser­van­cy at the date of its for­mal es­tab­lish­men­t. The US and Eu­ro­pean Union trade­marks were still ac­tive­ly li­censed to the com­pa­ny A­bil­ian for com­mer­cial ex­ploita­tion un­til De­cem­ber 31st, 2017. Abil­ian has ­com­mit­ted in writ­ing that it has no fur­ther in­ter­est in such com­mer­cial ­ex­ploita­tion of Co-­men­t, and agrees with the us­age of the name “Co-­men­t” by The Com­mons Con­ser­van­cy al­ready pri­or to the ter­mi­na­tion of that li­cense.

__The Co-­ment Pro­gramme and The Com­mons Con­ser­van­cy would like to ac­knowl­edge the de­vel­op­ers of Sopinspace for their con­tri­bu­tion to the soft­ware, in­ ­par­tic­u­lar: Raphaël Bad­in, Re­naud Bernard and Gérald Se­drati-Dinet.__

Licensing policy

All soft­ware and con­tent cre­at­ed or main­tained with­in Co-­ment is to be ­made pub­li­cal­ly avail­able per­pet­u­al­ly at no cost un­der one or more of the li­cens­es on the Free Soft­ware Foun­da­tion’s list of “rec­om­mend­ed ­copy­left li­cens­es” or any li­cense ap­proved by the Open Source Ini­tia­tive on or af­ter the sub­mis­sion date that is deemed com­pat­i­ble with one of the rec­om­mend­ed copy­left li­cences.

When ad­di­tion­al li­cens­ing needs (which would make the iden­ti­cal soft­ware or as­sets avail­able al­so through li­cens­es not on those list­s) arise, the ­Co-­ment Board is re­spon­si­ble for de­cid­ing on a case by case ba­sis how this shall be best dealt with. In such mat­ters the Board SHALL act in­ the com­mon in­ter­est of the us­er and de­vel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty, re­spect­ful of the spir­it and in­tents of the orig­i­nal cre­ators of and con­trib­u­tors to ­Co-­men­t.

Any fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits re­sult­ing from li­cens­ing agree­ments with third ­par­ties shall ex­clu­sive­ly be di­rect­ed to­wards a not-­for-prof­it or­gan­i­sa­tion aligned with the goals of Co-­ment as con­tri­bu­tion to the ­fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance of Co-­men­t. These con­tri­bu­tions shal­l be spent un­der the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of the Co-­ment Board, on be­half of the ­Co-­ment us­er and de­vel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty and in the gen­er­al pub­lic in­ter­est.

Transition into these Statutes

The fol­low­ing de­ci­sions are rat­i­fied by the sig­na­to­ries when the­se S­tatutes take ef­fec­t:

  • The found­ing Co-­ment Board shall be com­prised of the in­di­vid­u­al­s act­ing as sig­na­to­ries of the ini­tial ver­sion of these Statutes, the act of which al­so has es­tab­lished all signees as Di­rec­tors.
  • Philippe Aigrain is ap­point­ed as the Co-­ment Chair for a pe­ri­od of 12 month­s.
  • *TODO* and *TODO* are ap­point­ed as Di­rec­tors of the Co-­ment Board for a pe­ri­od of 12 month­s.
  • *TODO* and Michiel Leenaars are ap­point­ed as Di­rec­tors of the ­Co-­ment Board for a pe­ri­od of 24 month­s.
  • The Co-­ment Board com­mits to iden­ti­fy and ap­proach all rights hold­er­s, and ask them to trans­fer the moral stew­ard­ship of the code­base to the ­Co-­ment Pro­gramme.

Agreed on (date), (lo­ca­tion) by:

Lisa RO­DEN­SKY Vin­cent BIDAUX Gérald SE­DRATI-DINET Philippe AIGRAIN (chair) Michiel LEENAARS