FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is the Heritable Innovation Trust™ enforced?

Participation in the Heritable Innovation Trust™ involves a willful, conscious engagement in the mutual appreciation knowledge and the stewards thereof. Participation involves an agreement to honor three distinct interests – namely, the trustee, the recipient party, and the community of engagement resulting from the interaction of the first two. The Trust contains mechanisms for stewardship and accountability and invites all community participants to engage in affirmative value exchange. Through the use of “end user license” contract frameworks, this invitation takes the form of a universally recognized contract. Contract law is the most accessible for all parties regardless of jurisdiction. Enforcement is an evocative, property-based term. It connotes an assumption that people will engage with the Trust and each other in abusive ways. We assume honor and respect in engagements arising from the Heritable Innovation Trust™.

Q: What measures will be taken to keep this system from turning into a system like the patent system?

A patent system restricts access to markets for a period of 20 years. The Trust opens market access to perpetual use and engagement of stewards and users. Given the nature of the perpetual evolution of Trust Items in community use, no single person or interest can restrict market access in the same fashion as the patent system. Further, the public accountability provides incentives for collaboration, not exclusion.

Q: How will disputes about the origin of the knowledge be resolved?

There are no disputes of origin. While many communities may have similar or identical knowledge or practice, the shared elements are, as a result, the basis for explicit community exchange. Disputes of origin with respect to Trust Items are oxymoronic. The Trust Items come from shared knowledge in the past, engage with the present, and are modified by living engagement for future use. Notwithstanding, many Trust Items have been misappropriated by colonial practices and, in such cases, the Heritable Innovation Trust™ has clear provisions for repatriation of Trust Items.

Q: Are people held to the Trust only if they have seen it? To whom does it apply?

The nature of a Trust derived from, and constituted with Commons-held Trust Items is that any user is a party to the Trust. History is filled with examples of simultaneous emergence of artistic expressions, social, moral and technical advances and the like. In such instances, those who wish to participate within the Trust are welcome to do so. Those who choose not to can operate independently provided that they receive NO benefit from any element of the Trust or efforts associated therewith.

Q: Could the Trust create a capitalist society? What other effects could result from the adoption of the Heritable Innovation Trust™?

The Heritable Innovation Trust™ in specific, and Commons Trusts generally, are not constrained to operate within a particular economic framework. Unlike modern capitalism or socialism, the Heritable Innovation Trust™ enables communities to engage with their stewarded resources using whatever system they deem appropriate. The Trust framework clearly sets for the ability to levy “rents” or licenses for the use and replenishment of Trust assets. However, it further mandates that all contributors see themselves both as suppliers and consumers at all times so that the Trust flourishes and so that value expands. Where capitalism, socialism, communism and other economic frameworks have been derived from a scarcity model, the Trust enables communities to experiment with abundance and economic growth models with greater creativity and flexibility.

Quite possibly, the best historical example of the “open source technology” Trust system at work is maritime navigation. While anyone with access to the sea had implicit use of the sea, the development of navigation collaborative knowledge opened up what is quite possibly the greatest utility for global economic engagement of all times. The innovation of compasses, clocks (chronometers) and related technologies, democratized economic empowerment like no other innovation in modern times and all of this knowledge was built on rough approximations of Heritable Innovation Trusts™.

Q: How do we decide what information goes into the Trust document?

“We” don’t decide what goes into the Trust document – the Trustees decide. The framework of the Trust is the only contribution to a community. The critical elements are defined so that all users of the Trust can have a generally equivalent means of gaining access to information regardless of the source or content.

Q: How is the capital gained by these communities distributed?

The only guaranteed “capital” gained by participating communities is knowledge capital through the “Global Market Consequence” feedback mechanism. As other value exchanges are developed (monetary, honorific, reputation and social capital) between participating members, the members can dictate the terms under which wealth is distributed. As oversight providers, our role is to facilitate community definition of wealth and its distribution, not to dictate values.

Q: How useful is this type of document to the communities who chose to create one?

The creation of the Heritable Innovation Trust™ within a community immediately provides communities with an understanding of the intersection of their knowledge and practices in a broader world. In situation where this is not valued, the Trust serves little purpose other than the possible benefit of pre-empting expropriation of knowledge and alienation of the same by outside parties

Q: Does the concept of the Heritable Innovation Trust™ apply to all communities?

Yes, while its benefits may be widely variable based on the historic access to information and means of engagement, communities at every stage of development are equally capable of benefiting from the Heritable Innovation Trust™. Whether one considers healing remedies or digital social network crowd-sourced creativity, the framework is equally applicable.

Q: How will the document be changed?

As with every social evolution effort, the Heritable Innovation Trust™ is the by-product of years of careful study and optimization. However, also like every evolutionary impulse, the architects of the Heritable Innovation Trust™ framework have used the best metaphors at their disposal at the time of its creation. These will evolve in time and communities will improve and modify the impulse significantly. The Heritable Innovation Trust™ launch in 2009 is the first step on a very long journey. We welcome community stewardship of the process as well as the Trust Items.

Q: How does the Trust account for simultaneous “creation” in different areas of the world? Is the credit split?

There are no disputes of origin. While many communities may have similar or identical knowledge or practice, the shared elements are, as a result, the basis for explicit community exchange. Disputes of origin with respect to Trust Items are oxymoronic. The Trust Items come from shared knowledge in the past, engage with the present, and are modified by living engagement for future use. Notwithstanding, many Trust Items have been misappropriated by colonial practices and, in such cases, the Heritable Innovation Trust has clear provisions for repatriation of Trust Items.

Q: How do we avoid the possibility that our own viewpoints may affect the document?

Not only do we not avoid this, we celebrate it. Twentieth century social sciences pretended that an observer could be separated from the observed. As we more clearly understand the nature of “reality” and see the complexity of field effects, we know that this dichotomy is not only nonsensical but is an affront to both observer and observed. The naming of things, the measuring of things and the communication of things intrinsically impacts every aspect of perception and engagement. Therefore, our role is to be as explicit as possible about the steward of a Trust Item as we are about our own perspective in engaging therewith.

Q: How can we accurately represent the ideas and practices of a culture that we do not fully understand?

Communication across cultures and languages can never strive for accuracy. Ironically, even communication between people in the same community can merely approximate accuracy. We strive, within the Heritable Innovation Trust, to be transparent – honoring both the language and culture of the steward and recipient. In our effort to be transparent, our goal is to communicate with the best metaphor that we can find to convey the intent and essence of a thing or experience.