A man in a ballon

Getting through formalities the fast way

So you have to sign one or more documents collectively with a number of people, and wonder what the best way to go about is. As always, there are a number of ways in which you will be able to perform this task. Some of these are offline (submitting on paper) and others work online (either submitting a scan, in parallel or serial, or using digital signatures). Moreover, you have the choice of working serially or in parallel.

It is up to you to choose which variant you would like to use. What is convenient also depends on the kind of technical setup you already have, and of course there is always the matter of taste. It’s your choice!

Submitting separately on paper (offline parallel)

The most traditional variant is for each individual to sign the document(s) at hand, put them in an envelope and send them to:

The Commons Conservancy
attn. Michiel Leenaars
Science Park 400
1098 XH Amsterdam
The Netherlands

We staple these documents together. As soon as The Commons Conservancy has received a valid signed copy from each signatory (please put your paragraph on all pages), the whole set is complete and you are done. This method is time consuming and incurs postal costs - but it requires no further setup.

Forwarding the physical documents (offline serial)

Another variant is that the first person prints and signs the document(s) and sends them to the second person, the second person signs and sends to the third, the third person signs and sends to the fourth, etcetera.

The last one sends the (now completed) document to:

The Commons Conservancy
attn. Michiel Leenaars
Science Park 400
1098 XH Amsterdam
The Netherlands

A single document signed by all persons arrives at The Commons Conservancy. This is slightly more time consuming and incurs the same postal costs as the previous version - and like the previous option, it requires no further setup.

Submitting digitally separately (online parallel)

Ofcourse there is no explicit need to make paper travel across the planet, there are more efficient ways. The document(s) that need to be signed can either remain digital entirely (by using a cryptographic signature), or can be converted locally to a digital artefact immediately after signing.

Again, this can be done in parallel or serially. In the parallel case, each intended signatory signs their own copy (either digitally or on a printout, which means that it needs to be scanned afterwards), and sends it via email to:

legal.documents @ commonsconservancy.org

In consideration of the significant amount of documents that need to be processed, you are kindly requested to add the number of the document (if any) and its title to the subject of your mail.

To: legal.documents @ commonsconservancy.org
Subject: 0021 Fashion Freedom Statutes - signature

A scan of a physical signature on a printout of a document does not need any further work. Please do include the whole document in your scan, not just the page(s) where signatures occur in the document.

A digital signature can be added to a document in a number of ways. For this, you will need some cryptographic keys. There is probably no point in creating these just for the purpose of signing a single document for The Commons Conservancy (although it is fun, and not too hard it does involve some additional work to make sure that your keys can be verified).

If you already have PGP or S/MIME, or have a mail server that produces valid DKIM (check this at: https://internet.nl), you can use those - provided that you can be reasonably linked to the domain you are using (so email providers anyone can get an account at are out, unfortunately). You can also use other (conveniently verifiable) mechanisms that tie a resolvable identity together with you assuming the responsibility for the document(s) at hand - like a notary service using an eID card.

If this all means absolutely nothing to you, don’t worry - there is no problem at all if you choose one of the previous options. The outcome is the same in every case: a valid (set of) signature(s).

Forwarding digitally signed documents (online serial)

A slight variant of the above will be that the first person digitally signs the document(s) and sends them to the next person, etcetera.

As before, the last one sends the document (carrying the signatures from everyone) to:

From: lastperson @ example.com
To: legal.documents @ commonsconservancy.org
Subject: 0021 Fashion Freedom Statutes - all signatures

A single document digitally signed by all persons arrives at The Commons Conservancy, ready to be archived for posterity. This is from an archiving point of view the most elegant option - with the distinct condition that you have the right infrastructure in place. The ecological footprint is minimal, as you are working with digital artefacts in a very efficient way.