Why do I need Legal Documents for DIDO COIs?

Given the intentional distributed, decentralized nature of DIDOs, along with the potential for them to run on hardware and/or use software not owned or developed by a single entity, it is important to employ a community of interest (CoI) approach to develop, manage, and govern DIDO solutions. Such an approach allows for the establishment and specification of requirements for a formal organization that balance the various goals of its participants in pursuit of a single shared mission and, at the same time, protects the joint intellectual property (IP) resulting from their collaboration.

When an organization is a joint venture between different legal entities, it must operate in accordance with legal documents that serve to manage the expectations of, govern the interactions between, and elaborate the collective and individual deliverables expected from the legal entities participating in that organization. In the context of DIDO, ecosphere CoI is the term used to refer to such a joint venture. Table 1 lists the legal documents required to formally launch an ecosphere CoI. These documents support the process described in stakeholder communities. Depending on the country of incorporation, all three may be required for the ecosphere COI to be formally incorporated. In general terms (more details provided in Sections 3.2.1, 3.2.2, and 3.2.3), the charter defines how the ecosphere CoI interacts with the outside world; the bylaws define how it operates internally (e.g., fundamental governing rules, internal organization); policies & procedures (P&P), a document required for incorporation in the United States, establishes a set of principles to achieve the goals and vision of its charter and the specific methods employed to express these policies in action.

As already discussed in stakeholder views, other types of CoIs or special interest goups (SIGs) can be formed under the umbrella of a parent ecosphere: ecosystems and domains.1) As shown in Table 1, they must each be chartered according to the governing rules established in the bylaws and abide by the P&P of their parent ecosphere CoI. Ecosystem P&Ps may include specific extensions to the parent ecosphere’s CoI P&P. In like manner, domain P&Ps may include specific extensions to the their parent ecosystem CoI P&P. All extensions to the parent P&P must be additive; they may not replace anything in the P&P of their parent ecosphere CoI.

Table 1: Documents required to Create and Govern a DIDO CoI
DIDO CoI Charter Bylaws Policies and Procedures
Ecosphere Yes(§) Yes(†) Yes(‡)
Ecosystem Subcharter of Ecosphere covered by Ecosphere covered by Ecosphere + extensions
Domain Subcharter of Ecosystem covered by Ecosphere covered by Ecosphere + extensions from Ecosystem _ local
  • ((§) Initially, a legal statement created by the founders of the organization that lays out goals, missions and officers for the organization
  • (†) a legal document reviewed by lawyers from all the participating parties
  • (‡) Some Policies and Procedures may be mandated by law (i.e., discrimination, ADA, Safety, etc., others are local added by local governing boards) and should be drafted/reviewed by lawyers of all participating parties

NOTE: There are no standards for these documents. The initial versions of these documents, particularly the Bylaws, should be drafted by attorneys. In the case of the P&P, the initial version should be drafted with input from attorneys to address legally mandated items.