Index ← 2396 CFJ 2397 2398 → text
==============================  CFJ 2397  ==============================

    ais523 can act on Murphy's behalf to cause Murphy to support
    ais523's own intent to make Einos (http://einos-nomic.blogspot.com/)
    a protectorate.

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Caller:                                 omd

Judge:                                  G.
Judgement:                              TRUE

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History:

Called by omd:                          03 Mar 2009 15:56:15 GMT
Assigned to G.:                         03 Mar 2009 16:22:03 GMT
Judged TRUE by G.:                      05 Mar 2009 18:11:25 GMT

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Caller's Arguments:

This is not a contract.  No rule says that act-on-behalf can only be
granted by contracts; CFJ 1719, for example, dealt with a web form.
But contracts have been the only mechanism by which we have thus far
allowed act-on-behalf where it is clearly and immediately obvious who
is acting on behalf of whom, as opposed to the webform, in which case
it would not be in the best interests of the game to have anything
depend on who submitted it.  In other precedents (the non-binding
contract), act-on-behalf has been considered a type of obligation,
which would suggest FALSE, but does that really make sense?

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Gratuitous Arguments by Murphy:

> But contracts have been the only mechanism by which we have thus far
> allowed act-on-behalf where it is clearly and immediately obvious who
> is acting on behalf of whom,

Seems obvious enough to me that ais523 was to act on behalf of me.

> In other precedents (the non-binding
> contract), act-on-behalf has been considered a type of obligation,

What other precedents?  I can't remember any, and I'm pretty sure we've
had precedents that they work (hence TRUE) but can't be pursued in
equity court if abused.

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Gratuitous Evidence by Murphy:

ais523 allegedly acted on my behalf to cause me to support at
Tue, 03 Mar 2009 15:50:25 +0000 (about 50 seconds before this case
was initiated).  If successful, this may lead to FALSE on the grounds
that I couldn't support a second time.

I retracted permission at Tue, 03 Mar 2009 07:56:31 -0800 (about 16
seconds after this case was initiated).

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Gratuitous Arguments by omd:

>From Goethe's judgement of CFJ 1892, dealing with my alleged
non-binding contract:
{

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.

}

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Gratuitous Arguments by G.:

Argument is perhaps based on a false premise, that webforms and the
like do not constitute agreements.  Arguably, if it looks like an
agreement and quacks like an agreement it's [e.g.a Webform or the
like is] an agreement, whether the word "contract" is used in its
formation [e.g. CFJs 1921, 1328].

If I send you a private message (or set up a web form) that says "go
ahead and act on my behalf to do X" and you implicitly accept by doing
so, there's an agreement.  Probably all of the historical arrangements
used to support on-behalf-of in CFJ 1719 (e.g. Deb & Bob) could be
construed to be such agreements.

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Gratuitous Evidence by ais523:

Murphy stated TTPF:
{{{
ais523 can act on my behalf to cause me to support eir own intent to
make Einos (http://einos-nomic.blogspot.com/) a protectorate.
}}}

I interpreted this as relatively clear consent to allow me to act on
Murphy's behalf support such an intent, although not as being a
contract. Note that my intent to protectorise Einos came after Murphy's
comment quoted above, although before the CFJ was called.

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Gratuitous Arguments by G.:

But it was in fact an agreement between you that imposes obligations on
Murphy.  Murphy is legally bound to accept your act-on-behalf-of as
binding to eir action) and CFJ 1921 made it pretty clear that a public
binding statement that a reasonable person would accept as binding should
be construed as a contract. -Goethe

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Gratuitous Evidence by Murphy:

I did not make any arrangement with ais523 on this subject (e.g. a
private contract) prior to the PF message that ais523 has submitted
as evidence.


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Judge G.'s Arguments:

"Acting on behalf of" is not specifically defined in the rules, nor is
"power of attorney" (PoA), so the first note of this Court is to say
that (within Agoran contexts) these are synonymous concepts (e.g. verb
and noun forms) as per R754/9(1), and as per R754/9(3) the legal
definition of the terms are appropriate to use.  A straightforward legal
definition of power of attorney (M-W online) is:  "a legal instrument
authorizing one to act as the attorney or agent of the grantor".  This
is sufficient for our purposes, and illustrates several points:

1.  A power of attorney is a distinct legal instrument;
2.  There are two relevant entities, the agent and the grantor;
3.  It authorizes the agent to act as well as requiring the grantor to
    respect the act as coming from emself; and
4.  This decision is restricted to consensual rather than imposed PoAs,
    so mutual consent is required to form one (the act of using a PoA is
    positive consent on the part of the agent, if the agent hasn't
    already otherwise agreed to the grant).

It would be tempting, then, to call a PoA an Agoran contract between two
parties, as defined by R1742/17.  It would not itself violate
R101/11(iii) to decide this, even if prior to this decision it was not
generally known; CFJ 1921 found that a general understanding that some
kind of agreement has been reached is in many cases sufficient to form a
contract.

However, there is a more fundamental issue.  Judge Zefram, in CFJ 1719,
found that the natural power or ability to grant PoA (and the ability to
act on one) is more fundamental and more flexible to Agoran game play
and tradition than are perhaps the current contract rules.  For example,
in the examples of CFJ 1719 (e.g. Deb & Bob), in the absence of
controversy (e.g. a split between Deb and Bob) no formal mechanism was
necessary to adjudicate communications from these parties beyond what
was necessary for any player's communications.  The same could have
been said for Peekee's web form in the same CFJ.   Thus, unless
forbidden or otherwise specifically regulated by the Rules, POAs would
exist without R1742 or other contract law - this suggests POAs shouldn't
be mapped onto contracts.

And in terms of flexibility, it has been found that contracts CANNOT be
terminated at will if no escape clause exists; however, it is in the best
interests of the game that more flexibility be assumed for PoA's,
especially in terms of their escape (e.g. it is for the good of the game
not to force an accident in a specified PoA to constitute a permanent
entrapment).  This corresponds with common uses of PoA in Agora;
typically, they are granted as one-shot deals - "you CAN act on my behalf
to do X" is typically used to imply it may be done once and expires after
reasonable time, rather than that the ability is granted in perpetuity.

So, given that CFJ 1719 implies that PoAs would exist in a flexible and
natural matter, and that a contract is not the most appropriate legal
instrument, is there another legal construct we can use?  The answer is
found in the Judge's arguments in CFJ 2137:  'What is really going on
[in using a PoA] is the following:  "Acting as a communications agent
for the Grantor, I hereby send the message that the Grantor announces "I
do X." '  This gives another model:  the agent is an legal instrument of
communication, just as an email system is an agent of communication.

This is a reasonable legal inference.  Email and other communication
systems are "loosely" regulated based on evidence of function.  We
generally assume that each player, as a grantor, can control eir
communications methods with the presumption of such control "naturally"
working (e.g. "this is my new email address, please delist the old one in
the Registrar's report").

This does not mean we treat all communication media the same way.  For
example, the quirks of email have led to precedents on date-stamps;
likewise, the quirks of using a second conscious decision-making entity
as a communication medium will lead to decisions on communication clarity
(e.g. CFJ 2292) or perhaps the scope of a particular PoA (unlike email
addresses which are unlimited in scope and always at the will of the
grantor, PoAs are generally limited in scope on the part of what the
agent can perform at the agent's will).

This means, though, that we generally accept positive evidence of
"natural" granting and revokation of PoAs on the part of the grantor
(who controls the authorization of eir communications) as naturally
granting and revoking PoAs.  It also means that, given the "particular
quirk" of a communications agent who may have self-interest in over-
inferring the bounds of a PoA, the general presumption in interpreting
PoAs is that they are limited rather than unlimited in scope, and any
communication powers not explicitly given to the agent remain with the
grantor outside the directly and specifically authorized set of
communications, and these powers may "naturally revert" to the grantor
outside of that context (where the scope limitation might include a
limiting the presumption of the grant to a reasonable length of time
appropriate to the context of the grant).

However:  if there are substantial other portions to the granting:  "I
grant you PoA if you give me 10 points", the grant could be taken to be
*part* of what's offered of value in a contract inferred as per CFJ
1921, and the contract could thus limit termination.  Also note that
this casts a grantor's power to communicate as a natural "possession of
value" if you will, one which generally, unless the rules mandate it,
can not be taken without consent (see CFJ 1892).

This, as a whole, is the strongest fit to Judge Zefram's CFJ1719 notion
of PoAs with natural flexibility existing within the game, and fits all
of the requirements of the legal definition of the term.

In the current instance, the facts are as follows:

1:  Murphy naturally and reasonably authorized ais523 to communicate
    Murphy's support; this succeeded, and no additional contract was
    implied (see evidence).
2:  The CFJ was called, immediately within this scope.
3:  (not essential to the question) Murphy naturally and reasonably
    revoked the authorization; the grant was not part of a contract
    so this succeeded as well.

Therefore at the time of this CFJ, this statement was TRUE.

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Judge G.'s Evidence:

Testimony from ais523: (http://www.agoranomic.org/cgi-bin/mailman/private/agor
a-business/2009-March/018241.html)

Murphy stated TTPF:
{{{
ais523 can act on my behalf to cause me to support eir own intent to
make Einos (http://einos-nomic.blogspot.com/) a protectorate.
}}}

I interpreted this as relatively clear consent to allow me to act on
Murphy's behalf support such an intent, although not as being a
contract. Note that my intent to protectorise Einos came after Murphy's
comment quoted above, although before the CFJ was called.


Testimony from Murphy: (http://www.agoranomic.org/cgi-bin/mailman/private/agor
a-business/2009-March/018242.html)

I did not make any arrangement with ais523 on this subject (e.g. a
private contract) prior to the PF message that ais523 has submitted
as evidence.

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