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Network Commons License

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Network Commons License v0.3 (D-PPT-DA-C)

Preamble

The Network Commons License (NCL) describes the terms and conditions associated with the provision and utilization of free networks, and so enables individuals, communities, companies, governments and other organizations to build or support such networks. The NCL is a framework of mutual rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. This framework is intended to help preserve the natural, inviolable rights of communication and free expression. It is designed to foster cooperation by establishing specific duties and privileges for participants in free networks. It is based on the following core principles:

  • You have the right to join the network, and the responsibility to extend this set of rights to anyone, under these same conditions.
  • You have the right to understand the network, to know its components, and to spread knowledge of its elements and principles.
  • You have the right to offer services and content to the network on your own terms.
  • You have the freedom to use the network for any purpose as long as you don't harm the operation of the network itself, the rights of other participants, or the principles of neutrality that allow contents and services to flow without deliberate interference.

Definition of Terms

'Network facilities' or 'facilities' consist of the transmission media through which the translocation of information occurs, and the processing equipment that signals over those media. Examples of transmission media include UTP, STP, Coaxial and other conductors, optical fiber and other waveguides, and electromagnetic flux through free space. Examples of processing equipment include hubs, switches, routers, sensors, servers, and other computers.

This license distinguishes between three modes in which network facilities can be operated: private, proprietary and free. Private network operation is conducted by individuals or organizations in order to meet their own communications needs, without taking a pecuniary interest in such operations. Proprietary network operation is that which does not comply with any NCL or NCL-compatible license, and that does not qualify as private operation. Free network operation is conducted in accordance with an NCL or NCL-compatible license. NCL and NCL compatible licenses are limited to those licenses officially designated as such by The Free Network Foundation, or its duly appointed agent.

It is possible for multiple modes of operation to occur simultaneously in a particular network facility. Such simultaneous operation can occur if and only if a multiplexing method is employed that provides for distinct modes of operation to be practically identified, differentiated and processed accordingly. In such cases, the network facility in question is termed 'multivalent', as opposed to 'univalent' or 'dedicated'. Those portions of a multivalent network facility operated in any particular mode are referred to as a 'faculty' operated in that mode. Examples of multivalent facilities include optical fibers carrying multiple independently coherent beams of light, ethernets of various material composition carrying multiple Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), switches attached to multiple VLANs, and routers attached to multiple networks.

Taken together, faculties and facilities constitute 'network elements'. Throughout this license, the terms 'this network,' 'the network', and 'the free network,' unless otherwise specified, refer to the contiguous collection of freely operated network elements that are conjointly governed and subject to this license. With regard to this network, individuals or organizations who own, install, or operate elements of the network are designated 'network participants' or 'participants,' and Individuals or organizations that seek to add new elements to the network are designated 'network proponents' or 'proponents.'

This license distinguishes between four types of network traffic: Traffic originating and terminating within the network is termed 'transport' or 'transport traffic', traffic originating and terminating outside of the network is termed 'transit' or 'transit traffic, traffic originating inside the network and terminating outside the network is termed 'egress' or 'egress traffic', while traffic originating outside the network and terminating within the network is called 'ingress' or 'ingress traffic.' Network boundaries always occur at a point of interconnection between two or more network elements, hereinafter referred to as a 'network interface' or 'interface'. If all elements attached to a given interface are part of this network, it is an 'internal' or 'common' interface. If a subset of the elements attached to an interface are part of this network, it is a 'boundary', 'demarcation' or 'demarc' interface. If none of the elements attached to a given interface are part of this network, it is an 'external' interface.

Governance

Network participants must establish and maintain a Network Governance Body (NGB) capable of effectively instituting rules for provisioning and utilizing network elements in congruence with local conditions. This body is required to facilitate: effective monitoring of the network in accordance with this license, an expedient process for resolving conflicts between participants, and a uniformly applicable system of graduated sanctions for participants that violate either this license or the body's established rules.

The NGB must allow for the meaningful involvement of all participants in the decision making process. While the NGB may establish specific definitions of 'installation', and 'maintenance' as they pertain to inclusion as a participant in the network, such definitions should include all those who routinely contribute to the establishment or maintainance of network elements.

Whereas this network may be contained within a supernetwork, and may itself contain subnetworks, the NGB should be organized in such a way that it can be readily comprehended as constituent in a larger body, and can readily comprehend smaller bodies as constituent in itself. The NGB must accede to the authority of any bodies in which it is constituent, and should defer to the authority of bodies constituent in it whenever doing so is practicable, and would not result in a conflict with this license.

Participation

Individuals and organizations have the right to participate in this network to whatever degree they are able. This right necessitates that participants actively enable proponents to expand the network. Proponents must be allowed to add new elements to the network whenever such additions are feasible and will not jeopardize the proper functioning of the network. The NGB may, in order to ensure that network functionality is not compromised, establish rules limiting the execution of particular duties to those who can demonstrate the requesite expertise and ability to perform those duties safely, efficiently, and reliably. It may not, however, establish rules that unduly privilege particular individuals or organizations either by granting them exclusive rights to service network elements, or by establishing qualifications for duty that cannot reasonably be satisfied by others. In those cases where a proponent is unqualified or unable to provision particular network elements, they must have the right to hire a provably qualified individual or company to provision them on their behalf.

The network must be constructed and operated in such a way that the tools, technologies, and information necessary for the interoperation of network elements are available without unduly prohibitive effort or cost. While reasonable efforts must be made to support interopation of elements, this requirement does not necessitate the sharing of cryptographic and other security-related materials, outside of any guidelines established by the NGB. It is the responsibility of network participants to make adequate documentation of the network and its elements available to all. All elements of the network should be readily knowable to participants, proponents, and the general public.

Proprietorship

It is a violation of this license to exact a price for transport traffic above those costs reasonably and demonstrably incurred in establishing and maintaining the utilized network elements. Such costs may include network facilities, electrical power, roof rights, colocation, rights of way, and other easements, as well as costs for engineering, management, and labor. The recovery of these costs may occur by any means that is mutually agreeable to the involved parties, but should be fairly distributed amongst users of an element over its expected or observed lifetime. Compensation for costs may include currency and/or in-kind compensation, such as network capacity or services rendered.

Indviduals, organizations, and collections thereof may act as proprietors of network elements. Proprietors retain ownership of their elements, and may disconnect those elements from the network at their own discretion. While the NGB may establish guidelines for disconnection, including a reasonable expectation of forewarning, such guidelines cannot prohibit proprietors from repurposing their property at will. ((D))

Peering

Participants may interconnect the free network with other networks, be they private, proprietary, or free. Such peering must be conducted in such a way that it does not bring harm to the network.

When interconnecting a private network to the free network, it is the responsibility of the participant establishing the interconnection to ensure that the private network is equipped to deal with whatever traffic may result from such interconnection. Paid or unpaid applications may be offered to the network from interconnected private networks, so long as users are not charged for the use of the private network itself -- for example, a participant may establish a paid web, sensor, or other application residing on a host inside of a private network, but they may not charge participants to reach that host. When interconnecting a proprietary network to the free network, it is the responsibility of the participant establishing the interconnection to ensure that the proprietary network is equipped to deal with whatever traffic may result from such interconnection in accordance with the terms and conditions associated with the use of the proprietary network. Paid and unpaid services, including ingress and egress capacity as well as other applications, may be offered to the network from interconnected proprietary networks. The provider of such services is responsible for making any terms and conditions of usage clear to users, which may include price above incurred cost. Participants may not exact payment for the use of interconnected proprietary networks in situations where the terms and conditions for the utilization thereof have not been made clear to the user.

The NGB may establish rules for the sale of transit capacity to interconnected proprietary networks at a price above incurred cost. The NGB may also establish rules for the payment of dividends from those offering egress and ingress capacity to the network to those offering transport to and from points of interconnection. Such rules may provide for the even distribution of revenues amongst participants, or for the proportional allotment of revenues to those providing transport capacity between points of origination, termination, egress, or ingress, as the case may be. ((PPT))

When interconnecting an external free network to this free network, it is the responsibility of the participant establishing the interconnection to ensure that both networks are equipped to deal with whatever traffic may result from such interconnection, and that the licenses governing the two networks are compatible.

Interception

Participants may not intentionally inspect, capture, or store the semantic content (encapsulated payload) of any communications, unless permission to do so is granted by the source of the communication in question.

While it is permissible to examine forwarding (e.g. source or destination addresses, hardware addresses) and performance (e.g. throughput, latency, jitter) data, such data should not be stored in such a way that it could possibly serve as personally indentifying information, and operators should only examine such data when it is necessary to improve or troubleshoot network performance. ((DA))

Interference

Participants are free to utilize the network in any way that does not jeopardize its functionality or otherwise conflict with this License. Participants may not intentionally interfere or seek to interfere with the traffic of others, with few exceptions: It is permissible to discriminate against traffic based on forwarding information, if and only if there is a reasonable and demonstrable cause to believe that the traffic would harm the free network or networks to which the free network is interconnected. Neither participants nor the NGB may establish rules or procedures that discriminate against traffic based on its semantic content.

The NGB may, however, establish rules privileging or discriminating against traffic based on the protocols (e.g. VoIP, BitTorrent) it employs, but may only due so for the purposes of improving the general quality of service on the network. ((C))

Errata

The Network Commons License is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-alike license, which stipulates that derivative works are allowed, must give credit to the Network Commons License, and must be released under these same conditions. In addition, we stipulate that derivative works may not use the title 'Network Commons License' or derivatives thereof.


Network Commons License v0.2

The Network Commons License (NCL) describes the terms and conditions associated with the use of Free Networks, and so enables individuals, communities, companies, governments and other organizations to build or support the same.


Preamble

The NCL is a framework for the enforcement of mutual responsibilities. It is intended to foster cooperation by establishing specific duties and privileges for participants in Free Networks.

It is our hope that this framework, and the networks that it governs will serve to protect and further the natural rights of communication and expression.

Participation

All people have the right to participate in Free Networks. This right is only possible when current participants[def] allow prospective participants [def] to connect[def] to and grow the network:

  • Prospective participants must be allowed to connect new devices[def] to the Free Network whenever doing so will not jeopardize the proper functioning of the network.
  • Any device connected to the Free Network is considered a common network resource. If the owner of any device wishes to reclaim their property, they must disconnect it from the Free Network.
  • Participants may utilize common network resources[def] in any way that does not jeopardize their function, violate applicable law, or conflict with this License Agreement.
  • Common network resources can be funded individually or collectively. Fees may be assessed for network operations or roof rights on a cost recovery[def] basis. Such fees may include, but are not limited to differences in insurance premiums, electrical power, wear and tear on facilities, and time spent arranging facilities access and performing maintenance. Fees may not be assessed for providing transit within the Free Network.

Interconnection

In order to maximize the utility of the Free Network it must be possible to access network resources outside of the Free Network:

  • Participants have the right to interconnect[def] the commons with external, proprietary[def] networks.
  • Participants who connect proprietary networks to the Free Network must provide a clear indication that traffic is exiting to another network.
  • Paid and unpaid services[def] may be made available via proprietary networks interconnected with the Free Network.

Hosting

In order to leverage the protection of property rights for their information goods, participants must have the ability to store information on their own systems without sacrificing their ability to distribute it:

  • Participants must have the ability to connect private network resources [def] to the Free Network in such a way that they are accessible to the rest of the network. Such resources can be personal[def] or communal[def] in nature.
  • Good faith[def] attempts to communicate with private resources connected to the Free Network should be expected and dealt with appropriately by the target device.
  • Participants may establish common locations [def] for private resources, be they personal[def] or communal[def], and may establish terms for the usage thereof.

Interception

To foster free and open communication among participants, it is essential to safeguard against the interception of communications while they are in transit across the Free Network:

  • Participants may not intentionally inspect, capture, or store the semantic content[def] of any communications, unless permission to do so is explicitly granted by the source of the communication in question.
  • It is permissible in the course of network operation[def] to examine forwarding[def] and performance[def] data,


Interference

Any usage of a contended resource interferes with any other usage, it is therefore necessary to define and circumscribe behaviors that intentionally interfere with the common usability of the Free Network:

  • It is not permissible to discriminate[def] against participant datagrams[def] based on their semantic content.
  • It is permissible to privilege [def] datagrams based on the protocols[def] they employ.
  • It is permissible to discriminate against datagrams based on forwarding information if and only if there is a demonstrable[def] reason to believe that the datagrams would impair[def] the expected functioning[def] of the Free Network.

Errata

The Network Commons License is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-alike license, which stipulates that derivative works are allowed, must give credit to the Network Commons License, and must be released under these same conditions.


Glossary

The following items need to be defined in the near future. Definitions should be very detailed.

These two terms are very placeholder and should/could definitely be reworked.

  • Current Participants
  • Prospective Participants

imw/tjg do these:

  • Personal
  • Communal
  • Recovery
  • Participant datagrams (non control plane data)
  • Free Network
    • Any network which is fully compliant with the terms set forth in this license
    • Free as in license compliance, free as in cost recovery basis
  • Proprietary Networks (for profit services)
    • Clearly demarcate
    • Backbone transit? Specifically as it relates to QOS. Buy one/give one? Proprietary network nodes may not provide transit. [todo]
    • How do we define expectations / respect of interference/interception?
  • Private Networks (personal data, services provided as best effort etc)
    • Networks served off of "FreedomNode" type devices. (ie in home net that is access restricted)
  • Private Network Resources
    • Systems which access the network
  • Devices (standards compliance?)
    • Routers
    • Switches
    • Radio gear
    • Firewalls
    • Intrusion detection/prevention devices
    • Environmental monitoring
    • Hardware watchdog
    • Power systems


  • Common locations (colocation, datacenter)
    • For profit or not
  • Services
    • VOIP
    • IPTV
    • Backup
    • Local commerce
  • Connect
    • Physical
    • Logical
  • Interconnect
    • point of demarcation
    • one in / one out
  • Good Faith Attempt
    • Normal/expected/protocol compliant traffic


  • Semantic Content
    • Layer 7
    • Caching / proxy? (Should these only be allowed in the proprietary network zone? Should we have a special internet DMZ zone definition?)
    • Antivirus?
  • Network operation
    • Troubleshooting
    • NOC (automation, instrumentation)
    • Teaching
  • Forwarding data
    • OSPF,BGP,BABEL protocol data
    • IP addresses
    • Route summary
  • Performance data
    • Up/down
    • System health
    • Throughput/latency
    • QOS
  • Discriminate
    • Don't route/peer (Drop on floor)
    • Traffic shape (downvote)
  • Privilege
    • Opposite of discriminate
  • Protocols
    • Layer 4
  • Demonstrable / documented
    • IP reputation data
    • Routing community tags (ie darknet experiments?)
  • Impair
    • Cause harm to the network devices themselves
    • Cause harm to users data on the network (violating interference clauses)
  • Expected functioning ((x significant ) deviation from baseline)
    • When does a participant with privileged access intervene?
    • Voting?

Misc / un anchored

  • I will maintain and protect the confidentiality of any information to which I may have access regardless of the method by which I came into knowledge of it.
  • States rights?

Reddit version

  • Don't be lame
  • Don't snoop
  • Don't hate

Discussion

Some great discussion around the NCL/FNF is happening on the discuss mailing list:

Thread 1

Thread 2


Network Commons License v0.1

Introduction

The NCL is the legal framework that governs the network commons.

The License

The Network Commons License (NCL) describes the terms and conditions associated with the use of free and open networks, and so enables individuals, communities, companies, governments and other organizations to adopt or support the same.

The NCL is rooted in the following four tenets:

  • Participants are free to use the network for any purpose that does not limit the freedom of others to do the same.
  • Participants are free to know how the network and its components function.
  • Participants are free to offer and accept services on the network on their own terms.
  • By joining the free network, you agree to extend the network to others under the same conditions.

Terms

Participation

  • The free network is an expression of the principles of liberty, equality, and solidarity. Its intent is to honor the human right to communication, and obtain the maximum possible benefit for its constituents. Disputes regarding the right and proper execution of this framework should be resolved through the consensus of network stakeholders according to these principles.
  • The network must allow access to any willing participant, except when doing so would jeopardize the proper functioning of the network.
  • Network devices and infrastructure can be financed and capitalized in any manner that does not seek to profit off of other participants in the network.
  • The network as a whole does not have any owner or proprietor, regardless of any specific contribution to the network.
  • Network participants agree to extend the network on the same terms and conditions that they receive it, allowing all data to transit their own portion of the network without manipulating that data for any reason other than network maintenance.
  • Network participants agree only to the terms of this License - any other agreement must be explicitly expressed and accepted.
  • In order to maximize connectivity and network growth, network constituents are encouraged to allow other network participants to install devices in their facilities, but this permission is always discretionary and can be revoked at any time.

Provision of Services

This License lists the terms and conditions to build free networks, but does not cover or affect the contents and services of the network, including access to the Internet. Such services are offered on their own terms. Still, a few general principles apply:

  • The free network serves only as a conduit of information - the network itself has nothing to do with hosted services and is not liable for them.
  • Content and services may be created and shared at will.
  • Content creators or owners can license their creations with the license of their choice, with no restriction. If no license is explicitly expressed, by default they are offered under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike license. Unless otherwise stated, services are considered gratis, and offered “as is”, and without any warranty.
  • The free network makes no guarantee regarding the availability of Internet access.
  • Should it become necessary to shape network traffic in order to optimize network performance, realtime communications may be given priority over delay-tolerant forms. In the case that traffic is shaped or manipulated, such practices must be transparently disclosed, and the exact policies in use must be published.
  • Where possible, information regarding network throughput and availability should be published to allow the network participants to diagnose incidents by themselves.
  • Network participants agree not to transmit contents that might jeopardize the well being of other participants or operation of the network itself, including, but not limited to illegal content, unsolicited communications, and malicious software.

Use of Spectrum

  • Participants must use spectrum reasonably and responsibly, using the minimum transmission power necessary to achieve intended service levels.
  • Coordination and cooperation should be used, whenever possible, to avoid interference and minimize spectral pollution.

Security and Liability

  • Network participants are responsible for the security of their own systems.
  • Participants should assume that all information transiting the free network is visible to others, and encrypt their communications accordingly.
  • Private networks can be connected to the open network and use firewalls to regulate access and traffic between those networks. Those private networks are not under the terms and conditions of this License, and their owners are responsible for their own security.
  • The free network is not responsible for any damage caused to or by participants in the network.
  • The free network disclaims all liability for the behavior of its participants.

Conditions

  • Adoption of this License can be expressed by individuals or organizations and implies the acceptance of the License's terms and conditions. At any time, any member can revoke this adoption and therefore reclaim their own network devices or equipment. Device ownership is never lost, regardless of where devices are placed.
  • The Network Commons License is distributed under a Creative Commons Non-commercial, Attribution, Share-alike license, which stipulates that derivative works are allowed, but that they may not be used for commercial purposes, must give credit to the Network Commons License, and must be released under these same conditions.
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