Loomio
Mon 14 Nov 2022 4:53PM

Time to revive the Legal Working Group?

NS Nathan Schneider Public Seen by 171

We used to have a Legal Working Group, but it has not been active since 2018. Now that we have a larger community, with some amazing lawyers in it, should we revive it?

Here are some pending things it might work on:

  • Clarify ownership status of Social.coop IP and content

  • Clarify fiscal sponsorship relationship with Platform6

  • Identify and mitigate potential legal risks

  • Publicize our legal knowledge and documents for use by other co-ops

  • What else?

The group used to be called "Legal/Governance Working Group," but I propose it should be more narrowly focused on legal interfaces, since governance is something that the Community Working Group and Finance Working Group also work on—and governance is a shared task!

NS

Poll Created Mon 14 Nov 2022 4:54PM

Would you be interested in joining a Legal Working Group? Closed Thu 17 Nov 2022 4:01PM

Outcome
by Nathan Schneider Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:38PM

Lots of people opted in!

Results

Results Option Voters
Accept 11 F MN D BS DMK N JA SW G TY M
Undecided 0  

11 of 11 people have voted (100%)

JA

Joseph Andriano
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Mon 14 Nov 2022 5:07PM

I am an attorney so this is in my wheelhouse.

TY

Todd Youngblood
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Mon 14 Nov 2022 5:28PM

I'm generally interested in legal solutions to empower co-ops and would like to participate.

F

freescholar
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Mon 14 Nov 2022 5:46PM

looking forward to it!

DMK

D. Maurice Kreis
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Tue 15 Nov 2022 5:04PM

I live for this kind of stuff.

MN

Matt Noyes
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Tue 15 Nov 2022 8:23PM

Great to see this! Not willing to participate, just wanted to suggest the proposal should clearly state that policy decisions are made by the social.coop members, not by individual working groups.

N

Nic
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Tue 15 Nov 2022 8:59PM

IANAL, but did start to think about some of the issues when experimenting with peertube at open.movie.

D

Darren
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Tue 15 Nov 2022 9:46PM

Im interested in the legal side.

Some of us were recently discussing legal implications.

This recent blog post wqs illuminating on UK law

https://decoded.legal/blog/2022/11/notes-on-operating-fediverse-services-mastodon-pleroma-etc-from-an-english-law-point-of-view

SW

Sam Whited
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Wed 16 Nov 2022 12:02AM

I am not a lawyer, but am generally interested in U.S. Law and would be happy to help.

BS

Billy Smith
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_count_options.Accept">Accept</span>
Wed 16 Nov 2022 7:34AM

I don't really have the spoon capacity to take on another role, but i do have some questions about coop's where i need to get some informal legal advice. :D

How will the working group operate?

Also, it seems that i cannot post without voting, but the only button that i see is the accept button, so the results section will not be that accurate...

N

Neil - @neil@social.coop Mon 14 Nov 2022 9:57PM

IANAL so I don't know if it's needed or not... but if a legal working group forms might be good to get clarity on what happens if illegal content somehow federates and gets stored on our server. And probably handy to get legal input on GDPR/data related issues.

BS

Billy Smith Wed 16 Nov 2022 7:44AM

This can be dealt with relatively simply, as it's an existing-problem-for-forum-admins-everywhere. :D

Add in the appropriate clauses to the T&C's, and create a take-down policy that can be used practically and sensibly.

  • Be upfront and explicit about what is acceptable to host.

  • Be upfront and explicit about what is not.

  • Enforce those conditions equitably and absolutely.

  • Make the logs of what is happening transparent to everyone taking part, so that "Justice is not only done, but also seen to be done."

  • Put explicit limits on how new members can first interact with the servers/wiki/forums.

The reason for the last one, is to stop bots registering, and spamming. ( Yes, i do know about the current protections that we use, but i have also seen how inventive spammers can be... :D )

NS

Poll Created Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

Revive the Legal Working Group Closed Thu 24 Nov 2022 10:01PM

Outcome
by Nathan Schneider Fri 25 Nov 2022 2:46PM

There are no objections. We will proceed. I will invite those who expressed interest to begin their work.

We used to have a Legal Working Group, but it has not been active since 2018. Now that we have a larger community, and potentially larger legal exposure, and a bunch of amazing volunteers, should we revive it?

If passed, this proposal would do the following:

  • Reactivate the Legal Working Group (under that name, not the old name of "Legal/Governance," since we all participate in governance)

  • Prompt an approval vote for self-nominated members

  • Invite the members to begin meeting and beginning the work of legal oversight for Social.coop

Results

Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 92.5% 49 BM NS KT TB K SB MN MP BS SJK MAC CB DMK N BMH N DVN SS ES EC
Abstain 7.5% 4 EM NS S GM
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Undecided 0% 196 DS KF ST JD CZ BH LF JC F SH C ZS DH G AM MSC CCC L EM AW

53 of 249 people have voted (21%)

T

TorontoWill
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

I think it could be useful to have input on law-related matters from people with expertise in that area, though I'd suggest avoiding anything that comes close to a solicitor-client relationship. Both because of issues with jurisdictional competence, and because it would require clearing conflicts (or could create conflicts down the road with other clients).

JA

Joseph Andriano
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

I agree with @TorontoWill. As a lawyer who has served on the boards of many non-profits, the rule is always to educate and help identity issues, but not to actually give advice as how to resolve those issues. I could imagine one of the lawyers actually entering into a lawyer-client relationship to undertake the work, but that would need to be spelled out with an actual engagement letter. For my part, I’m just here as a volunteer to issue spot.

JDC

Justin du Coeur
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

If there is work to be done, and qualified people who are interested in tackling it, then IMO it totally makes sense. I would just advise that we be open to putting it back into abeyance if they get through the inbox and don't have more to do. (It is easy for committees to continue indefinitely just because nobody is prepared to say "okay, we're done", and that's usually not a win in my experience.)

BS

Billy Smith
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

It's always less expensive to learn from other people's mistakes, and, mistakes in the legal side of things are usually longer-term problems, so are more expensive to fix. Places where we can share our experiences and get better advice would be great. :D

N

Neil - @neil@social.coop
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

As both the Fediverse and socialcoop grows, seems like a sensible idea to have people on hand to educate and identify possible legal issues.

EM

Eduardo Mercovich
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Abstain">Abstain</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

This area if far from my experience and I'm still new in this coop to cast any vote, so I trust the rest who express their opinions here. :)

Thanks a lot for the attention to this point, independently of what happens next. :)

CB

Christina Bowen
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

makes sense to me. also thank you all for the attention to detail throughout this coop

ZS

Zee Spencer
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

Seems like having a circle / working-group would be lovely. Is there a Charter or something similar which describes the rights/responsibilities of the prior working-group; as well as onboarding/participation/offboarding? Or would y'all be starting that from scratch?

TB

Thomas Beckett
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

This is good and I can potentially pitch in with my legal skillz depending upon the timing. I'm generally under water lately, however.

IS

Ian Smith
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

This is absolutely necessary in light of GDPR, german data protection laws, sesta/fosta, etc. Some good resources re being posted around, including comments on this post https://mastodon.xyz/@johl/109364796050171555

We may want to have a look at https://legal.social/terms for some guidance

AGD

Ananta Gauranga dasa
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Sat 19 Nov 2022 5:12PM

Others have already mentioned it: GDPR and German data protection law need to be taken into account too. Liability is a real risk, also at the personal level.

EL

Eliot Lash
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

We live in a world where spaces like ours face a host of legal challenges. I think having a legal working group (ideally with at least some bona fide lawyers) would be a great idea.

B

brainwane
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

Makes sense to me. I see Denise Paolucci, co-founder of Dreamwidth, just posted https://denise.dreamwidth.org/91757.html which discusses legal obligations we will need to cover.

MP

Michael Potter
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

If we have qualified and willing people, and I think we do, then this is a good idea.

MB

Mick Brooks
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

After seeing recent discussions about liabilities that fall on those that run servers, I'd appreciate having a group looking into such risks on our behalf.

KRC

Kyle R. Conway (K_REY_C)
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Tue 22 Nov 2022 3:35AM

Sensible

BMH

Benjamin Mako Hill
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

This seems very important and I appreciate anybody who will volunteer to help with this.

SJK

Stephanie Jo Kent
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

Seems like a proactive move, just in case...

EC

Eamon Caddigan
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.Agree">Agree</span>
Thu 17 Nov 2022 10:54PM

Add me to the list of members who thought "oh, that's probably a good idea" when they saw that DMCA thread.

EL

Eliot Lash Sat 19 Nov 2022 3:48PM

Hello, IANAL but I think it would be great if we had a legal working group. I recently had a legal concern around DMCA compliance I think it would be ideal for this group to look into: https://social.coop/@Eliot_L/109368846808935959

BMH

Benjamin Mako Hill Tue 22 Nov 2022 6:40PM

I was coming here to post about the same thing. It seems like someone needs to register as an agent for receiving DMCA takedown requests. I believe that this points the same thread on Twitter that has details: https://social.coop/web/@blaine@mastodon.social/109371081440960114

It seems like it costs a very small amount of money each year but also requires that someone serve as the DMCA agent.

This seems quite important. Although the chance of a major problem at our scale is low, if there were a big problem, not having done this could be an existential threat to the community.

JDC

Justin du Coeur Mon 21 Nov 2022 3:46AM

Hopefully the members of the Legal Working Group know all this and have these bases covered, but Denise (admin of Dreamwidth, one of the longer-running blog sites) just posted a pretty excellent explainer of legal considerations for running a Mastodon server.

O

Éamonn O'Brien-Strain Sat 24 Dec 2022 12:53PM

Reposting something I posted on Matrix that evoked some discussion, but is probably more appropriate here...

Has anyone reviewed this article from EFF that describes steps that Mastodon admins should take to avoid legal issues in the US? Have we on social.coop done these things? https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/12/user-generated-content-and-fediverse-legal-primer