3.1.4 Usage Contracts

A legally valid contract is the foundation of any business transaction. The IDS cannot, and does not intend to, replace legal contracts or licensing agreements. Instead, the IDS provides a technical framework for technically enforced agreements in addition to existing, legally binding contracts. The connection of legally binding contracts and Usage Contracts is part of the IDSA Rulebook.
Many details of a business relationship cannot be modeled in machine-readable form. Nevertheless, the IDS specifies methods to define categories of applicable contracts, and it presents patterns to observe their usage and report validations. For this purpose, the IDS makes use of the Information Layer.
Technical Enforcement and organizational enforcement of usage policies
A Usage Contract comprises a set of Usage Policies. Each policy describes a certain permission or obligation of an IDS Resource. Usage Contracts are written in a machine-readable format (according to the IDS Usage Policy Language) and must be interpreted as defined in the Process Layer. In any case, a Usage Contract must always be regarded as an extension of an existing legal agreement between two IDS participants, which can be overruled by them. As neither the IDS nor any other known technology stack can sufficiently interpret legal texts, any Usage Contract must always be in line with the concluded agreements. Each contract between IDS participants consists of a technical part and a non-technical part. The technical part focuses on the description of technical interfaces (Application Programming Interfaces) and the Usage Policy. Negotiation of the technical part of a contract must be supported by the Information Layer of the IDS-RAM. The non-technical part focuses on legal aspects of the intended data exchange. For automatic negotiation of contracts and conditions standard contracts are necessary (but not yet available today).