A decentralized autonomous licence for content-DAOs
From a web of document to a web of content
In our last article, DAO & the future of content, we saw how Pando is built to turn content into a DAO, thanks to the combination of the Pando protocol, a decentralized VCS, and the Aragon stack. In a historical analogy we could say that Pando, in the field of creation, could play a similar role as optical microscope in the field of biology at the end of the 18 century. Indeed with the advent of the microscope, a whole serie of new data and issues appeared, that had not previously been perceived by researchers, and that changed completely their perception of the inner organization of living beings. As for the microscope, Pando will allow us to see a whole series of phenomena that we don’t ordinary perceive in our relationship with the contents produced by cultural industries. This because thanks to blockchain technology a content-DAO will show all the details of spontaneous contributions participating to the birth of a content.
Indeed the addressing system of Web 2.0 does not allow to trace precisely the whole history of contributions which takes part in the production of a content. To be clear we must say : web 2.0 is a web of documents and not a web of contents. Indeed it’s usually impossible to know who did what and moreover what could be the value of each contributions. This opacity obviously leads to one of the major problem of web 2.0 as it was pointed by Creative Common in 2016 :
“There are no services to enhance the user experience, or provide additional value and create connections. Users still have to manually provide attribution. There are no analytics about use or re-mix. Adding a work to the commons is a huge gift, but contributors get very little in exchange — no feedback, no analytics, not even a “like” or a “thank you.” Ryan Merkley
Content-DAOs & intellectual property
The possibilities we have today to track contributions gives us the opportunity to radically reorganize content production in all fields of creative industries. Furthermore governing each repository via a DAO leads to a major step forward in integrating DAOs with traditional laws because DAOs thus come into contact with intellectual property law and not simply with corporation law. This opens up a whole new way of thinking about the legal status of DAOs since they can be video games, books or software.
That is why we want to design a licence implementing an isomorphism between content-DAO and nation-states juridical frameworks.
But we don’t want a license which applies as a simple stamp on a document because as we said, the time of opacity of documents is over. The future is in the concrete traceability opened by content-DAOs. That’s why our license need to be more modular than traditional web 2.0 licenses because it must be able to embrace the living character of a DAO.
A dedicated API for content-DAO
Rather than thinking directly about the legal code of this license we must return to the way in which a content-DAO will be created on Pando. Opening a repository on Pando can be done as simply as using a dedicated API which will be displayed as a dashboard . Here is a schematic design:
Let’s imagine that Alice decides to open a repository on Pando for her book’s idea while using the API to set the governance parameters of its content-DAO.
As you saw Alice have five choices to make :
- Choose the governance-kit
- Refine the setting of the DAO
- Choose the income distribution model
- Choose the exploitation clauses of the licence (Something like the options of creative commons licences : CC-BY/ CC-BY-SA / CC-BY-NC-SA)
- Adding a self-assessed tax for her content (we will describe this feature in a later article)
Once these different choices have been made by Alice, the use of Radspec allows Alice to easily turn her DAO and repo parameters into a human-readable and court-compatible licence. Anyone interested in participating in Alice’s book can then read the license and immediately learn about content governance, legal content exploitation clauses, income distribution model, and the kind of self-assessed tax attached to it. The legal code of the license that protects the content in the field of intellectual property is thus combined with a series of information on the governance of that content.
Furthermore, this license is dynamic because any modification in the governance parameters are gonna be reflected in the license. Indeed once Alice’s book is turned from a static product to the dynamic outcome of a pollinators community, votes can be launched to change, for example: the quorum, the income distribution, the governance-kit or the desired self-assessed tax, making as clear as possible for everyone the rules of the content-DAO in a single glance.
The writing of the license is intertwined with the evolution of the DAO: when the DAO evolves the license is automatically rewritten. Do you want to know how this content-DAO is governed and protect ? Just read the license.
The legal code
Since the first Free & Open Source Licenses was written in the 80s, developers are sharing and improving licenses as they are sharing code, seeking for a fair balance allowing contributors to benefit from each others. Even if Free and Open Source licenses succeeded at managing IP rights, and if the governance is today well addressed by some generic policies, there is still a real need for a sustainable way to remunerate all contributors — including smaller ones.
The legal code of the licence we intend to write is still in a draft but we want to offer the community a first version of it for Q3 2019.
To build our license we will start from the bases laid by free and open licence such as Peer to Peer Licence (PPL) and we will fork it with the objective of adapting it to the specific logic of content-DAOs. This kind of licence — Art Free Licence is also an interesting model — could be a good starting point because :
- It is designed to remunerate all contributors of a content and therefore does not consider the content as a group of workers but as a network of contributors subject to evolution.
- It provides a community’s self-organizing capacity to manage a content.
- It does not prohibit commercial use of a content but frame it in a modular set of rules.
- This licence does not allow for specific rights to be given to the original author but insists on shared rights on the use and reuse of a common good.
Pando will soon be able to enable this kind of licence because it can provide concrete traceability of the creation process, can define the bundles of rights attached to them, and will allow automatic payment of contributors under those rights according to the income distribution model ingrave in the smart-contract.
We are only at the beginning of a long adventure. Our stack move forward day after day to lay the foundations of a world where people can be fairly compensated for their contributions and where it’s easy for everyone to be a part of any kind of projects.
We do not want to live in a blockchain bubble and that’s why we need a licence to support the expansion and the multiplication of content-DAOs in the traditional world.