Governance model

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Document status

This document intents to represent the current modus operandi of OCM and aims to facilitate the collective to transition towards a more complete governance model inclusive of individuals and organisations willing to contribute towards a commons cooperative economy. This proposal is subject to improvements until being voted into existence by the initial group of cofounding members.

Preamble

This agreement constitutes the creation and governance of The Online Meeting Cooperative (further referred to as OCM). OCM is a commons cooperative project initiated in May 2020 between a series of cooperative actors wishing to share a quality ethical video conferencing service open for others to become members of and contribute to its sustenance. At the same time it is a collective effort to network existing actors actively building cooperative cloud services to help their communities transition towards a commons cooperative economy.

Parties listed below

  • CollectiveTools
  • femProcomuns
  • Webarchitects
  • Free Knowledge Institute
  • Animorph Cooperative
  • Hypha
  • Koumbit
  • Remix the Commons
  • Digital Life Collective
  • MayFirst
  • OpenCoop
  • Autonomous

agree to the following:

WHEREAS, the Parties have formed a consortium under the name of The Online Meeting Cooperative (hereinafter referred to as “OCM") which operates online services as described in Article 1 under the domains and subdomains of meet.coop and/or subdomains from the individual members.

WHEREAS, the Parties wish to specify an open membership policy for others to join OCM as defined in Article 2, which defines accession and withdrawal of a party and the rights and obligations of the different membership classes.

WHEREAS, the Parties wish to specify the high level decision making procedures to faclitate the collective to self-organise to the best of the ability of all members as defined in Article 3.

WHEREAS, the Parties wish to specify the economic management policies in such way to seek long term sustainability for the OCM as a whole and (therefore) to compensate fairly the contributions made by members, be they in time, money or other resources deemed useful to the collective, as defined in Article 4.

NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS

The Parties hereby enter into this Consortium Agreement to specify the organisation of the production and of the usage between the Parties and to define the respective rights and obligations of the Parties. The Parties agree to cooperate pursuant to the terms of this Consortium Agreement until a new agreement is being agreed upon.

Definitions

user

User is anyone who connects with one of the OCM's webs or systems.

member

Members are those people and organisations that are actively contributing towards the sustenance of The Online Meeting Cooperative. Monetary contributions are made through any of the custodian members. Custodian members are the organisations who have taken legal responsibility for the cooperative project and take funds in custody for it to be spent according to collective agreement.

service

The services The Online Meeting Cooperative offers include online digital platform services.

Within the The Online Meeting Cooperative environment there are two types of services: free services available to the entire user community and paid services. The Online Meeting Cooperative seeks to make it easier for people to use free services to help them realise they can regain control over their data.

contribution


free software (a.k.a. open source)

Free software, libre software or free-as-in-freedom-software is software that can be used, studied and modified by anyone without restrictions, and can be copied and redistributed either in a modified version or unmodified without restrictions, or with minimal restrictions to ensure that future recipients will also have these rights.

privacy


commons


cooperative

Article 0. Shared Values

Our work is in the Social and Solidarity Economy, we abide by the 7 cooperativist principles:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership We encourage organisations from the Commons and Social and Solidarity Economy to join as members to make use of the shared resource.
  2. Democratic Member Control Members have equal rights in the governance: one member equals one vote. Information about the project is shared transparently between members.
  3. Member Economic Participation Members are expected to contribute an equal share to the collective costs of running the project. For the first year higher costs are expected to develop the services and organisations are expected to contribute 20-40 hours of work according to the agreed needs and/or 500-1000€ to share the costs of servers. Different contributions can be made by non-members, be they individuals or organisational users who contribute voluntarily (donation) according to their usage of the common services.
  4. Autonomy and Independence Initially the online meeting cooperative is an informal organisation formed by the member coops that have started the project. Built on mutual trust and intercooperation agreements, the project seeks to be a self-managed, autonomous organisation. Domains, assets and other shared resources will be transfered to a future independent legal entity, once the partner organisations decide to create this.
  5. Education, Training, and Information A key objective of the project is to share knowledge and experience about running the shared services and facilitate its replication, though internal training, documentation, deplayment scripts and a culture of sharing knowledge and software under free licenses with collaborative methodologies.
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives The project is started by three cooperative, Collective.tools, femProcomuns and Webarchitects and other cooperative actors who seek to strengthen cooperation among themselves to enrich and strengthen the Social and Solidarity Economy.
  7. Concern for Community A driving force for this project is our care for privacy and Free Software, to allow people and organisations to have quality online meetings with ethical tools. The project has at its centre the community resource of online meeting services that are shared as a commons between its members. Its an open commons as social and solidarity economy organisations can join the cooperative and individual people are able to join through (some of) the member organisations. Furthermore, the generated software scripts and knowledge are shared as Free Software and under free licenses, following collaborative methodologies that facilitate replication and a decentralised architecture.

Article 1. Services


Article 2. Membership Policy

Art. 2.1. Accession

A new Party shall only be included as Member of the OCM if the following holds true:

  • the new Party has requested to become part of the OCM in a written request through any of the defined channels, thereby agreeing to the Terms and Conditions of the OCM
  • the new Party has committed to pay the contribution as defined for the selected membership type and service level

Art 2.2. Membership classes

The OCM functions as a multistakeholder cooperative with following membership classes :

  • Producer members (organisations)
  • User members (organisations)
  • User members (individuals)


Art 2.3. Rights and obligations per membership class

Art 2.4. Force Majeure

Each Party will notify the other Parties in writing of any Force Majeur as soon as possible. What constitutes Force Majeur is defined in XXX

The Parties shall discuss in good faith the possibilities of a transfer of tasks affected by the event. Such discussions shall commence as soon as reasonably possible.

Article 3. Decision making procedures

The collective seeks to balance agile decisionmaking based on rough consensus and running code (reference: IETF) with the need for a long term social movement building, as characterised by the 15 May movement's slogan: "We go slow, as we want to reach far". Deliberation processes take place on open community platforms as wiki.meet.coop, forum.meet.coop and regular progress meetings, which are documented in the wiki.

Decisions are made according to the following types and minimum duration:

  • urgent decisions: with a 3 days voting process
  • regular decisions: with a 7 days voting process

Voting proposals shall be communicated at least through the forum.meet.coop and votes are cast in through the most appropriate online tool available, by default the same forum.meet.coop platform.

Votes per membership class


membership class strength
Producer members (organisations) 40%
Consumer members (organisations) 35%
Consumer members (individuals) 25%

Article 4. Organisation

The collective may decide to delegate part of its executive work to an Executive Team and/or specific committees or working groups dedicated to a specific subset of work.

Article 5. Economic Management Policy

All members make contributions to the collective in the form of time, money and/or other resources according to defined contribution levels. As the usage of the online service to a certain extent is prone to overuse, a Fair Use Policy is developed and parties are expected to adapt their usage and contributions according to this policy.

Art. 5.1. Work

In the OCM we distinguish different forms of work that all contribute to the sustainance of the collective:

  • livelihood work - operational contributions by DevOps, technical support, reception workers (user services, account queries, etc). Perhaps design & consultancy services too?
  • Organisation care work - admin, marketing, financial planning, negotiating contracts, handling tax and currency, convening & hosting meetings, contributions in ‘circles’, platform development (BBB code hacking, UI etc), etc
  • Life care work - onboarding & enculturation, organisational rhythms & routines, breathing spaces & respite, mentoring, etc
  • Commons-transition work - care work that builds the movements of commoning, through the mobilisation of the platform in user communities; facilitating user contributions to tool design and UX, tuning room facilities to various sectoral usecases, etc
  • Funders/crowdfunders - voluntary/charitable giving, grant funding for development. Individuals’ subscriptions.

Art. 5.2. Compensations

Contributions made to the OCM for enjoying membership and the selected service level come with the cost of Organisation care work, and for simplicity it is assumed that one producer member has invested time and energy in bringing in a new consumer member organisation. A fraction of the contributions paid by that new member organisation is kept by or paid to the responsible producer member organisation (30% - to be defined).

The remainder of contributions are collected by the Producer Cooperatives and kept at a separate account, with full transparency towards the other producer members (or: all members?) and stays at the disposal of the collective. These funds are firstly designated to pay for the servers operated by OCM and secondly for compensating the livelihood work, according to the validated time registrations.

All producer members contribute at least 40 hours annually to the collective tasks and seek to cover also the other categories of work.

Article 5. Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property Law states that the authors have exclusive rights to their work by default. At The Online Meeting Cooperative we want the contrary: all knowledge generated and published as public information in the free services available to the entire user community is, by default, considered to be published under free licenses – if the opposite is not explicitly stated. Specifically, we use the licenses mentioned below.

   In all works and contributions made public in the free services that do not have specific restrictions on its use or specific licenses, the following license applies to each type of work:
   • software: Affero General Public License v3 or higher
   • content: Creative Commons Recognition-ShareAlike 30-EN
   • data: Open Domain Commons Public Domain Dedication License https://opendatacommons.org/licenses/pddl/
   • industrial designs: CERN Open Hardware License

Shared and public information requires recognition of authorship, in such a way that other users can contribute to their improvement, extension and maintenance and to facilitate the collective construction of knowledge with respect for all contributions. However, logos, trade names, trademarks or any other sign owned by third parties are excluded from this license.

The user, when contracting or using with The Online Meeting Cooperative, accepts the intellectual property policy of the project and therefore of the service.

Any shared content that belongs to authors who are not users of the The Online Meeting Cooperative project is protected by the intellectual protection rules they have chosen, and are not subject to these conditions. Users are responsible in this case to respect the rules of intellectual property, and mainly the authorship and the license on the basis of which they have the right to share it.

Rules and regulations related to intellectual property <English language reference explanation about IPR>

Article 6. Conflict Resolution