==============================  CFJ 1892  ==============================

    comex's non-binding agreement 'X' is a contract.

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Caller:                                 pikhq

Judge:                                  G.
Judgement:                              FALSE

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History:

Called by pikhq:                        02 Feb 2008 16:58:27 GMT
Assigned to G.:                         03 Feb 2008 02:57:30 GMT
Judged FALSE by G.:                     04 Feb 2008 04:45:13 GMT

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Caller's Arguments:

Arguments against: 'X' claims to be nonbinding. Rule 1742 requires
that a contract be a binding agreement.

Allowing this scam to work will be the most abusive use of the rules
on contracts since the infamous Mousetrap, and, in fact, flies in the
face of both the spirit and the text of the Declaration of the Rights
of Nomic Players (rule 101).

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Caller's Evidence:

Rule 1742/12 (Power=1.5)

     Any group of two or more persons may make an agreement among
     themselves with the intention that it be binding upon them and be
     governed by the rules.  Such an agreement is known as a contract.

Rule 101/7 (Power=3)

        iv. Every person has the right to refuse to become party to
            a binding agreement.  The absence of a person's explicit,
            willful consent shall be considered a refusal.

         v. Every person has the right to not be considered bound by
            an agreement, or an amendment to an agreement, which e has
            not had the reasonable opportunity to review.

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Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

The first thing of relevance is R101 (v):
         v. Every person has the right to not be considered bound by
            an agreement, or an amendment to an agreement, which e has
            not had the reasonable opportunity to review.
I would say that that implies that, were Agora not given the
reasonable opportunity to review X, nobody could be forced to join it.
 However, I published its text over 10 days ago.  pikhq writes:

> I have not had the reasonable opportunity to review this contract *and
> all of its implications*.

So what?  You have had plenty of time to review the contract.  Whether
you figured out what I was going to do with it is patently irrelevant.

For this reason, Wooble's attempted deregistration of me is invalid,
because I did not have a chance to review his private contract as well
as because the message was poorly worded (I do not have the ability to
cause Wooble to deregister me).

The second thing is whether R1742 requires that agreement be reached
(to change the set of parties) between not only all existing parties,
but also all prospective parties.  It is my opinion that it does not.
For one thing, it certainly doesn't say so, but does 'agreement
between all parties' implicitly include prospective parties?  I doubt
it.  To get around the paradox of self-amendment, gamestate changes
are atomic.

For example, if I submitted a proposal to amend Rule 105 by removing
part (c), and then adding a new bullet to elaborate on how to amend a
rule, the second part would not fail to work (because amendment wasn't
defined) as long as the removal and adding were part of the same rule
change.

The set of parties is just a set, and the most natural translation of
R1742 to psuedocode is, in my opinion:
        agreement reached between $parties?
        --> $parties = $new_set

Only the consent of all existing parties is required, not all
prospective parties.

Thirdly, there is the issue that Rule 1742 defines a contract as a
binding agreement.  As watcher notes,

Rule 1742/12 (Power=1.5)
Contracts

     Any group of two or more persons may make an agreement among
     themselves with the intention that it be binding upon them and
     be governed by the rules.  Such an agreement is known as a
     contract. (...)

I argue that, whether or not it actually was binding (plenty of
contracts have been created that do not impose obligations) the
parties of myself and the AFO did in fact *intend* (intention is quite
a  loose concept) that, were obligations added, that X would be
binding upon us.  There was no clause about bindingness originally.
However, once I amended the contract to add the non-binding clause, I
ceased to agree to any such thing, although the contract remained a
contract.

Therefore, although R1742 previously defined "contracts" as binding
agreements, it not only no longer does so but no longer requires that
contracts be binding.

Fourthly, there is Murphy's comment.

> The rules do not explicitly grant us the right to refuse, but
> neither do they explicitly grant you the right to draft.

R1742, in fact, does.

> Since the agreement is non-binding, we are not bound to recognize
> its claims as legally effective, any more than the non-parties of
> Fookiemyartug were bound to recognize its claims wrt "nkep".

This doesn't make any sense to me.  You don't have to recognize the
claims as legally effective, but they are anyway.  Besides, nkep
required that non-parties use terms defined in the contract, which is
quite different, especially considering that, um, you're parties.


Fifthly, Zefram commented that

> Even if it does, press-ganging parties patently does not constitute a
> delegation of message sending rights for CFJ 1833 analysis.

Nonsense!  Consider the judgement of CFJ 1835.  Even when I explicitly
refused (not just didn't see, *refused*) to be bound by the agreement,
I was forced to anyway!

> I find that comex's unilateral statement cannot override the contractual
> provision to which e was bound. The contract was therefore in effect
> despite the repudiating statement. The AFO was at the time authorised
> to act on comex's behalf in any way.

Note that I think the word 'bound' here is used in the sense of "to
tie or secure", i.e. I and the contractual provisions were linked due
to my being a party to the contract.  This is different from the
definition of binding as used in the rules which is inherently related
to obligations; Zefram does not mention obligations in that judgement.

Finally, I would like to comment on pikhq's CFJ.
> Allowing this scam to work will be the most abusive use of the rules
> on contracts since the infamous Mousetrap, and, in fact, flies in the
> face of both the spirit and the text of the Declaration of the Rights
> of Nomic Players (rule 101).

I have demonstrated that it does not fly in the face of the text of
R101.  If it is judged that my scam attempt was successful, I will use
the new rule only to fix the bug, award myself Scamster and then
repeal it.  I am saying this because Rule 217 requires that judges
consider the best interests of the game, and a rogue dictator is
probably not in the best interests of the game.

Although, I don't think that "comex's non-binding agreement 'X' is a
contract." is a very good statement.  It's definitely a contract, the
question is whether it's a non-binding agreement.  And you might as
well go and ask whether I caused (say) Zefram to vote in my message
dated xxx.

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Judge G.'s Arguments:

This "contract" contains TWO blatant self-contradictions.

The FIRST CONTRADICTION is in the first four words:

"1. This contract is non-binding..."

A "non-binding contract" is a contradiction in legal terms, and a
meaningless semantic construct.  R1742, and R2169, both explicitly and
implicitly link the concept of "contract" with the concept of it being
binding in law.   It could be argued that the rules don't define a "non-
binding agreement", and that a "non-binding agreement" could be a
contract by common definition.  So looking at the common definition of
"contract" from M-W online:

con┬Ětract
1 a: a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties;
especially : one legally enforceable

So a "non-binding agreement" isn't a contract in either the Rules (which
define a contract as an agreement which binds) or in common terms (which
do the same).   A contract is a contract only as long as it is binding,
and when it ceases to be binding by its own mechanisms (or if it never
binding), it ceases to be legally enforceable, or have a legal impact on
the Rules (for example, it ceases to govern delegations, powers of
attorney, devolution of obligations, transfer of rights and/or duties).

One assertion (by comex and others) is that if a contract begins as
binding, then changes its text to be non-binding, it remains a contract
by R1742.  But if a contract is legally amended to read "This is not a
contract" (as Murphy attempted at one stage but never tested in court:
"This contract has ceased to be...it is an ex-contract") I find nothing
in the rules or common sense against taking such self-annullment at face
value, and having the courts take the position that this does in fact
terminate the contract.  Changing a contract to claim itself to be "non-
binding" would have the same effect.

A second point made by comex is that "plenty of contracts have been
created that do not impose obligations".  However, this is the first
time any of those have been tested in Agoran Courts (and in fact, if a
contract claimed to "not impose obligations", there would be no equity
case that could be brought), so it is quite possible that none of these
were proper contracts.

The SECOND CONTRADICTION comes from taking clauses 1-3 together:

1. This contract is non-binding, and so it does not impose any
contractual obligations whatsoever.
2. comex may act on behalf of any party to this contract by
announcement.
3. Each party to this contract allows comex to act on eir behalf
by announcement.

comex attempts a semantic trick here, by claiming in Clause 1 that a
contract imposes no obligations, and wording clauses 2-3 to attempt to
avoid any sense of "obligation."  Clauses 2-3, in fact, DO impose an
obligation on "non-comex" members, an obligation that actions taken by
comex on their behalf will be binding unto them, in the same way that a
Power of Attorney obligates grantees to be bound by actions taken on
their behalf by the grantor.  Therefore, Clauses 2-3 DO impose
obligations on members, and Clauses 2-3 conflict with Clause 1.

So there are (at least) TWO CONTRADICTIONS in the body of X.  The
question is, when multiple clauses conflict with each other, which
clauses have precedence?

If clause 1 has precedence over clauses 2-3, then the contract is self-
annulling, with Clause 1 annulling the obligations imposed by Clauses
2-3, and X is not a contract by Agoran or common definition, as
described in the FIRST CONTRADICTION, above and a judgement of FALSE.

If clauses 2-3 have precedence, then they impose obligations on members
in spite of the claim of Clause 1, and X is a binding contract subject
to all the Rules on binding contracts, leading to a judgement of TRUE.

If none of the clauses have precedence, the status of X may be
UNDECIDABLE (a self-contradictory loop).

In the absence of any explicit guidance in the contract, I find that the
overarching statement of Clause 1 ("This contract is...") implicitly
claims precedence over the rest of the contract (while Clauses 2-3 do
not claim any sort of precedence, and are focused on details).  Thus
this contract, by claiming in clause 1 to be non-binding as a whole,
nullifies the obligations imposed by Clauses 2-3, is self-annulling as
a whole, and is not a contract.  This is also, I find, in the best
interests of the game, as tossing a blatently self-contradictory
contract wholly out of the courts as a non-contract is less "nonsense"
then picking it apart and looking for sense in its individual pieces.

This Court finds FALSE.

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Judge G.'s Evidence:

Versions of the contract, as posted by comex:

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 11:29:20 -0500
{{
1. comex may act on behalf of any party to this contract by announcement.
2. Each party to this contract allows comex to act on eir behalf by
announcement.
}}

Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 18:25:55 -0500
{{
1. This contract is non-binding, and so it does not impose any
contractual obligations whatsoever.
2. comex may act on behalf of any party to this contract by announcement.
3. Each party to this contract allows comex to act on eir behalf by
announcement.
4. This is a public contract.
}}

Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 07:52:31 -0500
{{
1. This contract is non-binding, and so it does not impose any
contractual obligations whatsoever.
2. comex may act on behalf of any party to this contract by announcement.
3. Each party to this contract allows comex to act on eir behalf by
announcement.
4. This is a public contract.
}}

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