[The Commons Conservancy] is a foundation (“stichting”) established under the law of The Netherlands on October 21st 2016. It has a rather unusual legal infrastructure, which it governs through an intricate system of regulations. By law the whole system is bootstrapped through its statutes, which are more or less standard legal boilerplate for an organisation of its type, with the noted exception of the following:

  • [The Commons Conservancy] has a formal method of publishing its regulations, the documents that describe its internal operations and procedures as well as how the internal allocation of rights to intangible assets such as copyrights is made. This is important, because Programmes within [The Commons Conservancy] can move out again under certain conditions - at which point it needs to be clear who is entitled to what.

  • A regulation only enters into effect when it is published as part of the DRACC series, which stands for “Directives and Regulatory Archive of The Commons Conservancy”. This is a very comprehensive system that is designed to deal with many situations that arise during the lifecycle of Programmes.

    It would not make sense to repeat the information here which is contained in the introductory DRACC (aptly called “Introduction to the DRACC Series“), but it is important to know that once published, regulations cannot be changed but can (although only in some cases) be superseded.

  • the way Programmes and other bodies within [The Commons Conservancy] are governed, is authoritatively described by regulations as well. This creates a recursive mechanism that allows a lot of flexibility when needed, whilst the mechanism of making certain parts immutable adds the necessary rigidity.

  • the above provisions are themselves an immutable part of the statutes of [The Commons Conservancy] and cannot ever be changed.

  • (by design) the foundation cannot hold money, and is even statutorily forbidden to create a bank account (which means there is no position of chancellor in the Board of the foundation (there is no need for such a position).

  • [The Commons Conservancy] can have so called ‘affiliates‘, the status and roles of which are determined by (again) regulations. This allows to formally anchor specific people roles within the foundation (such as an ombudsperson) and within its individual programmes, should such a thing be necessary.

  • [The Commons Conservancy] cannot dissolve itself without first giving a full year public notice.

Other aspects

The rest of the statutes of [The Commons Conservancy] is rather unspectacular. In summary:

  • the foundation is governed by a Board, which can establish other bodies such as committees and councils
  • there are between three and seven board members
  • board members are appointed by the board
  • they serve a term of three years, and can be re-elected for a limited amount of times
  • votes within the board are made with a simple majority, apart from changes to the mutable part of the statutes which require unanimity.

All regulations are in English, the original statutes are in Dutch. If you are linguistically challenged when it comes to understanding the Dutch legal frasing, and have any questions with regards to the statutes, after checking the FAQ just contact legalquestions [@] commonsconservancy.org.