Should a site of contract terms have a point of view? 

Creative Commons takes two positions:  the terms competently achieve a particular goal, and the goal is consistent with an agenda.  Creative Commons achieves its success by being consistent with these two positions.

Document projects like the @NVCA or @ABA model docs sit in a semi-neutral position. The assertion is that the documents are competent and they are a convention place to begin a negotiation.  Negotiations between competent practitioners will achieve a quality result relatively rapidly.

Rules of an exchange define a local version of neutral.  The rules are asserted to competently state how the market functions. 

Wikipedia has a neutral process.  That requires it to pull back from controversial assertions that might be true but cannot be validated by external references.  Wikipedia’s URLs are exclusive, so the community has to come to agreement.  There is one page on the Kennedy assassination, not a hundred.  Of course there are edge cases, which generate controversy and even conflict.

GitHub also has a neutral process, but, unlike Wikipedia, there is no exclusivity.  GitHub can, and does, host hundreds of strays for each prize-winner.  GitHub’s neutrality lies in correctly hosting, counting and reporting.

CmA falls somewhere between GitHub and Wikipedia, and we expect that parts will evolve toward rules of an exchange.  Like GitHub, the data model avoids all exclusivity.  Contributors can “fork” materials as they wish.  Not even CmA is exclusive, since anyone can create {his-her} own repository.  

On the other hand, law is a matter of consensus and the dynamic is strongly towards a common statement – like with model document projects.  Model document projects are more or less forced to take a unitary position because of the publishing model (but see the large number of [alternatives] in the NVCA docs ;-)).  CmA breaks the bottleneck, but the substantive point remains — law is best when shared.  The network benefits of re-use will evolve into quasi-exclusive statements – like Delaware law.

So … CmA will try to encourage first-rate content from groups of first-rate contributors who already have a dynamic of cooperation.  The best are on-going model document projects, in the bar, in trade groups and elsewhere. 

Advertisements