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Chapter Standards and Guidelines

These standards and guidelines (the “Guidelines”) are designed to help local Chapters as described in the Strategy Document organize their members, participants and activities. The purpose of these Guidelines is to establish minimum expectations that must be met, and grant flexibility to Chapters so long as there is no conflict with the Charter (and the code and policies referenced therein) and these Guidelines.

At a minimum, Chapters must comply with the Charter and the CC policies, as described below. Chapters may establish additional rules, guidelines and principles beyond those required here provided they do not conflict with the spirit of the Chapter or conflict with the CC policies. This document also provides clarification about the relationship between Chapters, the Creative Commons Global Network ("CCGN"), and CCGN Individual Members and Institutional Members, and other contributors, as described below.

About the Chapters

A Chapter is constituted by all CCGN Members (Individual Members and Institutional Members (collectively “Network Members”)), and other contributing people and organizations working in or associated with a particular country but who are not Network Members (“Country Contributors”). Network Members and Country Contributors are collectively referred to as the “Country Participants”). Chapters may organize themselves in the way in which they see fit, consistent with the Global Network Charter and CC policies.

Chapters must follow these standards:

  • (1) Chapters must be open. Chapters must be open to all Network Members that are working in or who have chosen to be associated with that country (such as an expat working abroad but who has ties and connections within that country). Chapters must also be open to Country Contributors. Network Members and Country Contributors may only associate with one CC Chapter at a time for purposes of governance participation, (if granted by virtue of their status), but this does not preclude either Network Members or Country Contributors who have associated with another Chapter for purposes of governance from contributing to other Chapters; nor does this require a Network Member or Country Contributor working within or on behalf of a country to participate in a Chapter, though they must still abide by CC policies) and coordinate with any local Chapter before speaking or acting on behalf of the Chapter.

  • (2) Country Participants of each Chapter will elect a Global Network Council representative. The Country Participants of each CC Chapter will elect one representative to serve on the Global Network Council (the “GNC”). Representatives are elected for a fixed term, to be established by the GNC. Only Network Members are eligible to serve as GNC representatives, though Country Contributors associated with a Chapter may vote in the election for the representative.

  • (3) Country Participants of each Chapter will choose a Chapter Lead or Coordinator. Each CC Chapter will select an individual to be responsible for coordinating and communicating on behalf of CC Chapter activities. This person will serve as the main point of contact for CC when forwarding or responding to inquiries regarding activities in that country. This is analogous to the "public lead" in the previous Creative Commons Affiliates model, but each Chapter may select their own appropriate title for the position (however so named, the Country Lead). This person may also be the Representative to the GNC but is not required to be. Only Network Members may be selected as the Chapter Lead, though Country Contributors may participate in the selection process.

  • (4) Chapters will work by consensus. This does not mean that all Country Participants must make every decision together, or that structures of authority and decision-making cannot be established using a consensus model; what it does require is that teams work openly, and voices must be allowed to be heard and considered before making a final decision. In situations of conflict, Chapters can refer the matter to the GNC’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

NOTE: Network Members and Country Contributors may only participate in the decision-making processes of a single Chapter, including in the selection of a Representative and Country Lead.

Responsibilities of Chapters to the Global Network

The main responsibilities of a Chapter are to

  • Run activities and provide support to local projects.
  • Serve as a contact and information point for questions about CC.
  • Represent the CCGN in interactions with governments and organisations.
  • Maintain and update a country-specific website.
  • Establish country consensus on positions related to the CCGN.
  • Report on accomplishments and otherwise keep informed the GNC about the Chapter’s activities.
  • Elect a representative for the GNC and ensure that person actively fulfills those responsibilities.
  • Ensure country positions align with global positions of Network Platforms where they exist, and where they do not exist ensure that positions taken by the Chapter and its Members and other participants align with CC’s mission and overall objectives. This anticipates coordination with CC and the CCGN through the Chapter’s representation when positions are uncertain, or when new positions may reasonably be considered controversial.

Membership of Chapters

Local CC Chapters are comprised of Network Members who are working to further the Creative Commons mission and vision in that country. The Chapter may also include Country Contributors as described above. Chapters are given flexibility to establish rules about joining and participating in the work of the Chapter. However, these rules must not be used to exclude individuals or organizations who have a demonstrated commitment to contribute to the overall objectives of Creative Commons as long as they abide by CC policies and any additional Chapter policies and rules. Disputes over denying participation in a Chapter will be referred to the GNC's Dispute Resolution Committee at the election of the aggrieved Chapter Participant.

What else can a local Chapter do?

As long as they are aligned with the set of documents established by the Global Network and don’t contradict the Creative Commons mission and vision and policies, Chapters can establish the following:

  • Specific rules for decision-making processes aligned with the CC mission and vision provided they do not discriminate or otherwise unjustifiable promote a culture of exclusion;
  • Specific rules and process for participation as a Country Participant;
  • Structures to coordinate activities within a country, particularly on questions of legal interpretation and government policy, aligned with applicable CC policies and established legal interpretations and policy statements.

Chapters may develop and maintain an organizational structure that could include management and coordination, governance processes, designated spokespeople, or designated subject matter leads who speak on or coordinate activities on key issues. Chapters may also define limits and offer guidance to members on their team as to how they can operate and speak on behalf of CC in that country.

All these documents, rules and mechanisms must be made public, accessible and easy to understand for any person willing to join in the Chapter. Chapters are entitled to keep key information non public (though such information must be made available to Creative Commons if requested) (i.e., a strategy for copyright reform), but the basis for keeping information in private should be established.

Chapters can establish their own communication mechanisms, but these should be clear and transparent and widely publicized to allow others to participate.

Being a Country Participant means, in specific cases, that before speaking or providing guidance to others the person doing so has a minimum amount of knowledge over intellectual property and Creative Commons licenses. In order to make sure that Country Participants are working from a knowledgeable base, Chapters can request new members to follow a specific training course.

Country Participants may be expected to follow these training courses, and must agree to understand and accept the values, policies, and codes of conduct in order to establish common ground and an agreed-upon set of basic mutual expectations.

For the avoidance of doubt, under no circumstances may a Country Participant provide legal advice in their capacity as a Country Participant; any such advice must only be provided by qualified persons in their individual (non CC and non Chapter) capacity, and when doing so make clear the capacity in which they are providing such advice.