The Vision

What is it?

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Creative Common Law is an open-source project aimed at building the most desirable, functional, and customizable body of law for borderless, stateless societies. It is the “operating system” of a truly free society. CCL is also the only project of its kind, being (a) authored by legal and humanities scholars, (b) based explicitly on the principles of property rights, non-aggression, and contract law, and (c) containing all the necessary policies and procedures for concrete application. The project invites public input, especially by those with a vested interest in seeing true liberty become a reality in the 21st century.

Think of CCL as the operating system of a society. It is the legal platform on which all other “programs” and functions of private businesses, transactions, and activities are built. It is similar to legal systems in nation-states, except that there is no nation-state, and no one is under any obligation to be a member if they don’t want to. Everything is private and voluntary. There is no “government” or “public” sector. Transportation, rights-protection, arbitration, litigation, restitution, and other goods/services are sold by private entities on the open market (just as they normally would if governments didn’t make this arrangement illegal).

Thus, CCL is a bare-bones legal framework that reflects the basic customary laws that people are already familiar with. Because of its tremendous benefits (low-cost, rights-protection, etc.), it is attractive to everyone who values life and liberty.

How does it work? (A Quick Summary)

CCL works like a voluntary association. What’s a voluntary association? Clubs, churches, academic societies, etc.

Consider the American Economic Association, an academic society for professors of economics. The Association has its own board, different types of membership, different rules, policies, and procedures for governing everything related to the association. Certain people can join (e.g., professors), and they can leave at any time for any reason (can’t afford it, don’t like it, etc.). Members agree to pay an annual fee to receive the association’s benefits (e.g., a hard-copy journal, free access to annual conference, voting privileges, etc.).

The CCL Network works the same way, only instead of being applicable to academic publications and a few conferences once a year, it applies to an entire person and their property, 24/7. It also allows disciplinary action (i.e., law-breaking or “aggression”) to involve physical force (e.g., detainment for trial involving theft). Furthermore, with CCL the association itself is decentralized. There is no governing board or democratic law-making bodies. Individuals specifically pay for Adjudicators and Enforcers to receive whatever level of benefits they want or can afford. The CCL text is the “law” – just like any other terms and conditions of a contract.

How Does It Work? (A More Detailed Summary)

The “CCL Network” describes the “association” as a whole, with all of its members and memberships, functions, laws, and operations. Generally speaking, the CCL Network is comprised of a participants (“members,” similar to “citizens”) that voluntarily agree to be bound by its rules (CCL). Disputes are resolved by CCL Adjudicators (i.e., “judicial branch”) which settle disputes and issue sentences or orders carried out by CCL Enforcers (i.e., “executive branch,” which are also necessarily rights-protection agencies). All of these entities are privately-owned and compete in the open market by offering and selling their services. Any member of the network is free to participate in these roles if they want. However, all levels of participation requires explicit and verifiable adherence to CCL (i.e., “maximal consent”).

The actual text of CCL therefore functions like a big contract. Specific terms and conditions of membership are set forth in CCL, along with what exactly qualifies as a violation of law. There are a variety of memberships designed to address various life-situations. For example, some individual memberships accommodate to parenting (“Guardianship” and “Minor Membership”) and special circumstances for the disabled (“Special Membership”), while Corporate Membership includes all corporate entities (i.e., businesses, corporations, schools), as well as Adjudicators and Enforcers. Membership costs nothing and can be canceled at any time for any reason. (Renewal, however, is not so simple – since criminals would regularly unsubscribe to commit crimes and then re-subscribe when they’re finished to get CCL benefits; all of these contingencies are outlined in the CCL itself.) Membership can be enforced on a per-individual basis, as much as the individual member wants or can afford (just like hiring any other rights-protection agency or private court would – because that’s what it is!).

CCL Core is revised and emended through a similar process as cryptocurrency network updates. Unanimous agreement is required for any revision, and dissenting members forge a “hardfork” version of CCL. Forks are simply parallel versions of CCL. They are cross-compatible with legacy CCL versions to the extent that each version agrees. Each individual member has the choice of deciding ahead of time (if they want) which version of CCL (and which modules, see below) they are comfortable contracting with.

In that sense, CCL is “monocentric”; the same legal system applies to all who ascribe to it. However, CCL is also simultaneously “polycentric” because members of CCL “Core” can add additional legal systems. CCL Core has a built-in mechanism for allowing these additional law-groups specific to the individual. These customizable “modules” are like the individual programs on a person’s CCL operating system. Are you a school administrator and want to enforce a set of policies for participating member institutions? Are you a religious adherent that wants to ensure others in your faith are praying three times a day? Do you believe eating chicken is wrong and want to do something about it? And do you want to do all of this without reinventing the CCL wheel, starting from scratch, and losing basic CCL protections? Easy: Write a module for anyone who agrees with this orientation and voluntary signs on to it, and enforce it with your own module-specific arbiters and enforcers for this sub-membership. (Or, pay an extra fee to your existing individual Enforcers for having them be an Enforcer of your module, sort of like paying a roofer to also side your house, should they agree to it.) All of this leaves CCL Core in place, just as a person today can be a member of three or four academic societies, charity organizations, and business projects at once without conflict or losing basic legal protections.

Again, individual members can determine ahead of time who they are willing to contract with on the basis of others’ module if they want to be more supportive of certain module projects and not others. This allows members to exert non-coercive influence on society as a whole. For example, it can be determined ahead of time that one’s contracts are only valid with those who adhere to a module that, say, specifically denounces racial discrimination, or animal cruelty. This is a more advanced way of “disciplining” undesirable consumers and producers than just withholding cash on a per-transaction basis. (It is also a substitute for occupational licensing; consumers choose in advance that their contracts for medical services won’t go through for a CCL member who has not demonstrated passing medical school.)

How is Everything Paid For?

Everything in the CCL Network is paid for by voluntary transactions, just like any other good or service on the market (cheeseburgers, haircuts, lawn service, etc.). Since most societies don’t operate this way, but instead utilize a system of taxation, it can be mentally challenging to try and understand who and how private police and court systems are paid for. The (incomplete) diagram below attempts to help visualize the cashflows of this arrangement. (Note: the blue and red lines indicate service, while the green lines indicate payments).