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CAcert Community Agreement

0. Introduction

This agreement is between you, being a registered member ("Member") within CAcert's community at large ("Community") and CAcert Incorporated ("CAcert"), being an operator of services to the Community.

0.1 Terms

  1. "CAcert" means CAcert Inc., a non-profit Association of Members incorporated in New South Wales, Australia. Note that Association Members are distinct from the Members defined here.
  2. "Member" means you, a registered participant within CAcert's Community, with an account on the website and the facility to request certificates. Members may be individuals ("natural persons") or organisations ("legal persons").
  3. "Organisation" is defined under the Organisation Assurance programme, and generally includes corporations and other entities that become Members and become Assured.
  4. "Community" means all of the Members that are registered by this agreement and other parties by other agreements, all being under CAcert's Arbitration.
  5. "Non-Related Person" ("NRP"), being someone who is not a Member, is not part of the Community, and has not registered their agreement. Such people are offered the NRP-DaL another agreement allowing the USE of certificates.
  6. "Non-Related Persons - Disclaimer and Licence" ("NRP-DaL"), another agreement that is offered to persons outside the Community.(withdrawn)
  7. "Arbitration" is the Community's forum for resolving disputes, or jurisdiction.
  8. "Dispute Resolution Policy" ("DRP" => COD7) is the policy and rules for resolving disputes.
  9. "USE" means the act by your software to conduct its tasks, incorporating the certificates according to software procedures.
  10. "RELY" means your human act in taking on a risk and liability on the basis of the claim(s) bound within a certificate.
  11. "OFFER" means the your act of making available your certificate to another person. Generally, you install and configure your software to act as your agent and facilite this and other tasks. OFFER does not imply suggestion of reliance.
  12. "Issue" means creation of a certificate by CAcert. To create a certificate, CAcert affixes a digital signature from the root onto a public key and other information. This act would generally bind a statement or claim, such as your name, to your key.
  13. "Root" means CAcert's top level key, used for signing certificates for Members. In this document, the term includes any subroots.
  14. "CAcert Official Document" ("COD" => COD3) in a standard format for describing the details of operation and governance essential to a certificate authority. Changes are managed and controlled. CODs define more technical terms. See 4.2 for listing of relevant CODs. is an official managed and controlled document (e. g. a Policy) of CAcert.
  15. "Certification Practice Statement" ("CPS" => COD6) is the document that controls details about operational matters within CAcert.

1. Agreement and Licence

1.1 Agreement

You and CAcert both agree to the terms and conditions in this agreement. Your agreement is given by but not limited to any of

Your agreement is effective from the date of the first event above that makes this agreement known to you. This Agreement replaces and supercedes prior agreements, including the NRP-DaL. supersedes any prior agreements.

1.2 Licence

As part of the Community, CAcert offers you these rights:

  1. You may USE any certificates issued by CAcert.
  2. You may RELY on any certificate issued by CAcert, as explained and limited by CPS (COD6).
  3. You may OFFER certificates issued to you by CAcert to Members for their RELIANCE.
  4. You may OFFER certificates issued to you by CAcert to NRPs for their USE, within the general principles of the Community.
  5. This Licence is free of cost, non-exclusive, and non-transferrable.

1.3 Your Contributions

You agree to a non-exclusive non-restrictive non-revokable transfer of Licence to CAcert for your contributions. That is, if you post an idea or comment on a CAcert forum, or email it to other Members, your work can be used freely by the Community for CAcert purposes, including placing under CAcert's licences for wider publication.

You retain authorship rights, and the rights to also transfer non-exclusive rights to other parties. That is, you can still use your ideas and contributions outside the Community.

Note that the following exceptions override this clause:

  1. Contributions to controlled documents are subject to Policy on Policy ("PoP" => COD1)
  2. Source code is subject to an open source licence regime.
  3. Personal data
  4. Postings under competing licenses if clearly stated when posted

1.4 Privacy

You give rights to CAcert to store, verify and process and publish your data in accordance with policies in force. These rights include shipping the data to foreign countries for system administration, support and processing purposes. Such shipping will only be done among CAcert Community administrators and Assurers.

Privacy is further covered in the Privacy Policy ("PP" => COD5).

2. Your Risks, Liabilities and Obligations

As a Member, you have risks, liabilities and obligations within this agreement.

2.1 Risks

  1. A certificate may prove unreliable.
  2. Your account, keys or other security tools may be lost or otherwise compromised.
  3. You may find yourself subject to Arbitration (DRP => COD7).

2.2 Liabilities

  1. You are liable for any penalties as awarded against you by the Arbitrator.
  2. Remedies are as defined in the DRP (COD7). An Arbitrator's ruling may include monetary amounts, awarded against you.
  3. Your liability is limited to a total maximum of 1000 Euros.
  4. "Foreign Courts" may assert jurisdiction. These include your local courts, and are outside our Arbitration. Foreign Courts will generally refer to the Arbitration Act of their country, which will generally refer civil cases to Arbitration. The Arbitration Act will not apply to criminal cases.

2.3 Obligations

You are obliged

  1. to provide accurate information as part of Assurance. You give permission for verification of the information using CAcert-approved methods.
  2. to make no false representations.
  3. to submit all your disputes to Arbitration (DRP => COD7).
  4. to assist the Arbitrator by truthfully providing information, or with any other reasonable request.
  5. to not share your CAcert account.

2.4 Principles

As a Member of CAcert, you are a member of the Community. You are further obliged to work within the spirit of the Principles of the Community. These are described in Principles of the Community.

2.5 Security

CAcert exists to help you to secure yourself. You are primarily responsible for your own security. Your security obligations include

  1. to secure yourself and your computing platform (e. g. PC),
  2. to keep your email account in good working order,
  3. to secure your CAcert account (e. g., credentials such as username, password),
  4. to secure your private keys, ensuring that they are only used as indicated by the certificate, or by wider agreement with others,
  5. to review certificates for accuracy, and
  6. when in doubt, notify CAcert,
  7. when in doubt, take other reasonable actions, such as revoking certificates, changing account credentials, and/or generating new keys.

Where, above, 'secure' means to protect to a reasonable degree, in proportion with your risks and the risks of others.

3. Law and Jurisdiction

3.1 Governing Law

This agreement is governed under the law of New South Wales, Australia, being the home of the CAcert Inc. Association.

3.2 Arbitration as Forum of Dispute Resolution

You agree, with CAcert and all of the Community, that all disputes arising out of or in connection to our use of CAcert services shall be referred to and finally resolved by Arbitration under the rules within the Dispute Resolution Policy of CAcert (DRP => COD7). The rules select a single Arbitrator chosen by CAcert from among senior Members in the Community. The ruling of the Arbitrator is binding and final on Members and CAcert alike.

In general, the jurisdiction for resolution of disputes is within CAcert's own forum of Arbitration, as defined and controlled by its own rules (DRP => COD7).

We use Arbitration for many purposes beyond the strict nature of disputes, such as governance and oversight. A systems administrator may need authorisation to conduct a non-routine action, and Arbitration may provide that authorisation. Thus, you may find yourself party to Arbitration that is simply support actions, and you may file disputes in order to initiate support actions.

3.3 Termination

You may terminate this agreement by resigning from CAcert. You may do this at any time by writing to CAcert's online support forum and filing dispute to resign. All services will be terminated, and your certificates will be revoked. However, some information will continue to be held for certificate processing purposes.

The provisions on Arbitration survive any termination by you by leaving CAcert. That is, even if you resign from CAcert, you are still bound by the DRP (COD7), and the Arbitrator may reinstate any provision of this agreement or bind you to a ruling.

Only the Arbitrator may terminate this agreement with you.

The CAcert Community Agreement is terminated

  1. based on a Policy Group decision following (PoP => COD1). This terminates the Agreement with every member.
  2. with a ruling of the Arbitrator or the completion of a termination process defined by an Arbitrator ruling (DRP => COD7).
  3. by the end of existence of a member (i.e. death in the case of individuals).

A member may declare the wish to resign from CAcert at any time by writing to support AT cacert.org. This triggers a process for termination of this agreement with the member.

3.3a Consequences of Termination

The termination discontinues the right to USE, OFFER and CREATE personal certificates in any account of the former member. Those certificates will be revoked and all services to the former member will be terminated as soon as possible. However, some information will continue to be held for certificate processing purposes.

The provisions on Arbitration for the time of membership survive any termination. Former members are still bound by the DRP (COD7), and the Arbitrator may reinstate any provision of this agreement or bind them to a ruling.

As far as Organisations are concerned details are also defined in the Organisation Assurance Policy (OAP => COD11).

Every member learning about the death of a member or termination of existence of a member should notify support AT cacert.org.

3.4 Changes of Agreement

CAcert may from time to time vary the terms of this Agreement. Changes will be done according to the documented CAcert policy for changing policies, and is subject to scrutiny and feedback by the Community. Changes will be notified to you by email to your primary address.

If you do not agree to the changes, you may terminate as above. Continued use of the service shall be deemed to be agreement by you.

3.5 Communication

You are responsible for keeping your primary email account in good working order and able to receive emails from CAcert.

Notifications to CAcert are to be sent by email to the address support AT cacert.org. You should attach a digital signature, but need not do so in the event of security or similar urgency.

Notifications to you are sent by CAcert to the primary email address registered with your account. You are responsible for keeping your email account in good working order and able to receive emails from CAcert.

Arbitration is generally conducted by email.

4. Miscellaneous

4.1 Other Parties Within the Community (withdrawn)

As well as you and other Members in the Community, CAcert forms agreements with third party vendors and others. Thus, such parties will also be in the Community. Such agreements are also controlled by the same policy process as this agreement, and they should mirror and reinforce these terms.

4.2 References and Other Binding Documents

This agreement is CAcert Official Document 9 (COD9) and is a controlled document.

You are also bound by the Policies of the Community under the control of Policy on Policy ("PoP" => COD1) and listed in Controlled Document List.

  1. Certification Practice Statement (CPS => COD6).
  2. Dispute Resolution Policy (DRP => COD7).
  3. Privacy Policy (PP => COD5).
  4. Principles of the Community.

Where documents are referred to as => COD x, they are controlled documents under the control of Policy on Policies (COD1).

This agreement and controlled documents above are primary, and may not be replaced or waived except by formal policy channels and by Arbitration.

Controlled documents are primary, and may not be replaced or waived except by formal policy channels and Arbitration.

This agreement is controlled document COD9.

4.3 Informative References

The governing documents are in English. Documents may be translated for convenience. Because we cannot control the legal effect of translations, the English documents are the ruling ones.

You are encouraged to be familiar with the Assurer Handbook, which provides a more readable introduction for much of the information needed. The Handbook is not however an agreement, and is overruled by this agreement and others listed above.

Beside this Agreement and the Policies, there are other documents, i. e. Policy Guides, Manuals and Handbooks, supporting and explaining this Agreement and the Policies. These documents are not binding and in doubt this Agreement and the Policies are valid.

4.4 Not Covered in this Agreement (withdrawn)

Intellectual Property. This Licence does not transfer any intellectual property rights ("IPR") to you. CAcert asserts and maintains its IPR over its roots, issued certificates, brands, logos and other assets. Note that the certificates issued to you are CAcert's intellectual property and you do not have rights other than those stated.