Idea for Updating the Peer Production License with Harberger Tax and Collective Management Organizations?

Hi everyone!

Hope you are doing well during these trying times.

I thought of this idea of writing an update to the Peer Production License and I wanted to get your feedback on it.

My idea is to add some ideas from Liberal Radicalism and Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) for copyright to the Peer Production License. Specifically, I was planning to add three additional components:

  1. Harberger Tax method,
  2. Stewardship/Collective Management Organization, and
  3. Production Provenance (can’t think of a good term for this right now).

Background information on the Harberger Tax and CMOs above topics can be found in the following list:

Additionally, I was considering applying the three components to a data sharing license but that is a conversation for another time.

In my update to the Peer Production License, I plan to incorporate the three components mentioned above. And most of the terminology in my proposed updated license will mostly come from the Peer Production License.

First, Capitalist businesses can use any copyrighted material for commercial or non-commercial purposes subject to the application of the Harberger Tax method to any adaptations of the copyrighted material. Some of the notable restrictions I envision adding are:

  • Requiring the Capitalist business to apply the Harberger Tax method to any adaptations of the copyrighted material in determining royalties (based on the self-assessed value) to the Licensor
  • Requiring the Capitalist business to use the self-assessed value as a maximum value of the adaptation (whether or not the adaptation is by itself or embedded in another copyrighted material) in future negotiations with any counterparty
  • Requiring the Capitalist Business to apply an interest rate to the self-assessed value every year.

Second, requiring the Licensor to create a CMO for the copyrighted material when the Licensor has ~1000 Licensees. The CMO can be any of the following types of organizations:

  • Cooperative
  • Trust
  • Stewardship Business
  • Traditional CMO
  • Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
  • Membership-based Nonprofit

Ideally, anyone who is not a capitalist business will be required to become a member of the CMO or forfeit their rights in any adaptations of the copyrighted material to the Licensor. The CMO will take over the management of the copyrighted material for the benefit of its members (or this could be purpose-based).

Third, requiring that the Licensor and all Licensees provide Production Provenance of their adaptations of the copyrighted material (similar to CRediT – Contributor Roles Taxonomy). In this component, Licensees can satisfy this by stating how the work was produced (labor, time, funds, etc.), mentioning the Licensee(s) before them (i.e., tracking the line of licenses), and depositing proof of their adaptation in a publicly accessible database or repository (e.g., a public GitHub repository or open access repository).

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Interesting. since we are starting a new platform co-op Crystalisr we need normative documentation and procedure. Are these accounting procedures in use in a co-op Char?

I have not reviewed any Cooperative that has these accounting procedures for licensing their intellectual property (mostly copyrighted materials).

You may find something similar with organizations that use Open Value Accounting methods.

You can find a list of Open Value Accounting methods here:

An tactic that feels very positive for me, for new ideas, is for the person bringing them to seek out and engage with whoever is holding the current ideas that the new ideas branch out from. Dialogue should really help bring the existing and the new potential together. The existing can have a new aspect on what they may have been missing; the new ideas can learn about the reasons for the existing choices, and possible practical obstacles that need to be overcome to move forward.

In general, my sense is that the tech community would do very well to practice engaging in more dialogue.


Here is a link to the license.

Some of the questions that have arisen since writing the PAL Version 0.5 Draft (you can find these questions on the draft as well):

  1. Should PAL include benefit enterprises as a Capitalist Enterprise or a Cooperative Enterprise? Does it matter if the benefit enterprise is a self-management organization?
  2. How would you define a worker-owned collective?
  3. Should a cryptographic hash of copyright notices be acceptable for giving credit?
  4. Should self-management organizations be exempted from the Harberger Tax method?
  5. Should a Semantic Web version of this license be created with JSON-LD?
  6. What should the inflation rate be for the self-assessed value?
  7. Should the self-assessed value be the value at which sales are negotiated, or the value at which a sale, for any reason, must occur (think of it like a release clause in a professional football player’s contract)?
  8. Should there be a maximum value at which a Capital Enterprise can set their self-assessed value?
  9. Should purchasers of the capital enterprise’s Adaptation be allowed to reset the self-assessed value of the Adaptation after the purchase?
  10. Should the licensor take a security interest in the copies and derivatives of the work by capitalist businesses so that the licensor can cause a sale/auction of the copy or derivative at the self-assessed value?

And for a good background reading on the development of open and ethical source licenses and commons-based reciprocity licenses, please refer to the following articles:

If anyone wants me to go over any of the readings, please post a reply.


And adding to the changes, the fourth change would be the use of ethical restrictions.

Lastly, the PAL give the Licensor the option of injecting their own ethical values into the license (i.e., making the license conform with the Licensor’s own ethics or the Ethical Source Definition) by explicitly mentioning ethical restrictions on the uses of the copyrighted material, which may subject the Licensee to breach of contract, thus allowing the Licensor to terminate the license or start proceedings on auctioning off the Licensee’s adaptation or copy.

And I received some feedback that the PAL Google Doc and the license itself is not human-readable (I do not consider legalese to be human-readable, hahaha :rofl:) so I will be working on how to make the PAL easier to understand.

Was anyone else having this issue?

On a quick skim, looks like there are some interesting ideas in here. I am tempted to repeat myself (see 8 July) but for now let me say that I can’t see how using “Web3” in that way can be meaningful in a legal document. I get the feel of what you might be trying to do, but a bit like the PPL itself, it’s really hard to pin down sufficiently to make a legal agreement out of it. Remedy – as before – collaborate, don’t go it alone!

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Can you further elaborate on this statement? Where do you think Web 3 is being used in the PAL?

So what do you think I am trying to accomplish with the PAL?

What parts cannot be pinned down in the PAL?

What parts cannot be pinned down in the PPL?

I did mention the need for collaboration in the PAL by requiring the licensor to create a stewardship organization once the number of licensors. Was this part not clear in the PAL?

What other means of collaboration would you want to be included in the PAL?