Miss any of our Open RFC calls?Watch the recordings here! »

commonform-validate

2.0.0 • Public • Published

commonform-validate

validate Objects against Common Form's core schema for legal language

If you're looking to get into Common Form, this README is the place to start. The schema enforced by this package allows all the rest of the pieces of Common Form to communicate contract language in a uniform way.

Common Form represents legal forms, and pieces of legal forms, as objects following a single, strict schema. This package exports a function, validate.form(object) that returns true if object follows that schema.

The schema embodies a number of rules, demonstrated by examples in this README. The same examples serve as test suite for the package, using the assert module:

var assert = require('assert')

The goals of the schema's rules are:

  1. Given a copy of a piece of legal language, perhaps in print or another format, it should be clear how to encode that language as a valid form object.

  2. There should be exactly one way to encode any given piece of legal language as a valid form object.

Neither of these goals is entirely achievable, but the rules make meaningful progress. Together, they serve the overarching goal of forcing the encoding of exactly the same legal language in exactly the same data. Other Common Form software consistently serializes those objects and consistently hashes the serializations. As a result, Common Form can use cryptographic hashes to identify legal language.

For example:

Any dispute or controversy arising under this Agreement (a "Dispute") shall be resolved exclusively by arbitration under Section 12 (Arbitration Rules) in either: (i) New York City; or (ii) Chicago, Illinois.

Becomes:

var validate = require('commonform-validate')
 
assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'Any dispute or controversy arising under this ',
        { use: 'Agreement' },
        ' (a ',
        { definition: 'Dispute' },
        ') shall be resolved exclusively by arbitration under ',
        { reference: 'Arbitration Rules' },
        ' in either:',
        {
          form: {
            content: [
              'New York City; or'
            ]
          }
        },
        {
          form: {
            content: [
              'Chicago, Illinois.'
            ]
          }
        }
      ],
      conspicuous: 'yes'
    }
  )
)

Content

The most important property of a form object is content, whose value must be an array. The array holds the content of the form object as its elements.

The content array cannot be empty. It must contain at least one valid element:

assert(
  !validate.form({
    content: []
  })
)

Strings

Most text content is represented by strings:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'New York City'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Even if a form contains just a single string, content must be an array:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: 'New York City'
    }
  )
)

Strings in content may use only these specific characters:

  • digits 0 through 9
  • letters A Z and a through z
  • (space)
  • punctuation marks ! " ' ( ) , (comma) . (period) & / : ; ? [ \ ] ` (backtick)
  • math symbols * + < = > - %
  • other symbols @ _ (underscore) $ ^ { | } ~ #

This list notably excludes:

  • typographers' quotation marks, like and
  • long dashes, like (en-dash) and (em-dash)
  • §,

Other Common Form software, like commonform.org, tries its best to display quotation marks—valid data—as curly quotes—not allow as data, but much nicer to read—and so on. In the underlying data, however, allowing both " (straight double quote) and (left double quote) with (right double quote), would make it easy to concoct two valid form objects with the same content:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The product comes "as is".'
      ]
    }
  )
)
 
assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The product comes “as is”.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Strings cannot appear next to one another in content arrays:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The parties will litigate ',
        'in San Francisco.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Use one string instead:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The parties will litigate in San Francisco.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

If the first element of content is a string, that string cannot start with a space:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        ' The parties will litigate in San Francisco.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Nor can a final string element end with space:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The parties will litigate in San Francisco. '
      ]
    }
  )
)

Definitions

Definitions mark words and phrases that will be used with specific meaning elsewhere:

assert(
  validate.definition(
    { definition: 'Applicable Law' }
  )
)

For example:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        { definition: 'Securities Act' },
        ' means the Securities Act of 1933.'
      ]
    }
  )
)
assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The ',
        { definition: 'Purchase Price' },
        ' is $1.00.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Uses

Uses mark terms defined elsewhere:

assert(
  validate.use(
    { use: 'Subject Assets' }
  )
)

The string value in the use object should match the string value in a corresponding definition object exactly.

For example:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        { use: 'Purchaser' },
        ' will place the ',
        { use: 'Subject Assets' },
        ' in escrow.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Blanks

Blanks represent empty spaces in a form to fill in later:

assert(
  validate.blank(
    { blank: '' }
  )
)

For example:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The purchase price is ',
        { blank: '' },
        '.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Blanks are vital for keeping confidential information, like the identities of parties to a specific contract, or details like purchase prices and descriptions of waived claims, out of form objects. Other software under the Common Form umbrella automates the process of filling in blanks with confidential details, which can and should be kept separate from data about the generic language of form contracts.

The value of the blank property must be an empty string:

assert(
  !validate.blank(
    { blank: '$10' }
  )
)

Blanks cannot appear next to one another in content arrays:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The parties will litigate this contract only in ',
        { blank: '' },
        { blank: '' },
        '.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Use a single blank instead:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The parties will litigate this contract only in ',
        { blank: '' },
        '.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

References

References refer to other parts of a form by heading:

assert(
  validate.reference(
    { reference: 'Payment Terms' }
  )
)

For example:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'The escrow will be managed pursuant to ',
        { reference: 'Escrow Procedure' },
        '.'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Children

Children allow forms to contain other forms, with optional headings:

assert(
  validate.child(
    {
      form: {
        content: [
          'Text in the child form.'
        ]
      }
    }
  )
)
 
assert(
  validate.child(
    {
      heading: 'Warranty Disclaimer',
      form: {
        content: [
          'The software comes without warranty, express or implied.'
        ],
        conspicuous: 'yes'
      }
    }
  )
)

Child forms represent any structure where one reusable piece of language appears within another. Sections within articles. Subsections within sections. Itemized lists within sections:

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        { use: 'Confidential Information' },
        ' does not include:',
        {
          form: {
            content: [
              'public information'
            ]
          }
        },
        {
          form: {
            content: [
              'information received from others'
            ]
          }
        },
        {
          form: {
            content: [
              'independent developments'
            ]
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  )
)

Strings surrounding a child element cannot run up to the child element with space:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'this is a space -> ',
        {
          form: {
            content: ['child form text']
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  )
)
 
assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        {
          form: {
            content: ['child form text']
          }
        },
        ' <- that was a space'
      ]
    }
  )
)

Components

The validation routine optionally permits components.

Children can also be incorporated by reference:

assert(
  validate.component(
    {
      heading: 'Warranty Disclaimer',
      repository: 'api.commonform.org',
      publisher: 'kemitchell',
      project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
      edition: '1e',
      upgrade: 'yes',
      substitutions: {
        terms: {
          Licensor: 'Vendor',
          Licensee: 'Customer',
          Program: 'Software'
        },
        headings: {
          'Express Warranties': 'Guarantees'
        }
      }
    }
  )
)
 
assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        {
          heading: 'Warranty Disclaimer',
          repository: 'api.commonform.org',
          publisher: 'kemitchell',
          project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
          edition: '1e',
          upgrade: 'yes',
          substitutions: {
            terms: {
              Licensor: 'Vendor',
              Licensee: 'Customer',
              Program: 'Software'
            },
            headings: {
              'Express Warranties': 'Guarantees'
            }
          }
        }
      ]
    }
    // Do not allow components.
  )
)
 
assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        {
          heading: 'Here Come Components!',
          form: {
            content: [
              {
                heading: 'Warranty Disclaimer',
                repository: 'api.commonform.org',
                publisher: 'kemitchell',
                project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
                edition: '1e',
                upgrade: 'yes',
                substitutions: {
                  terms: {
                    Licensor: 'Vendor',
                    Licensee: 'Customer',
                    Program: 'Software'
                  },
                  headings: {
                    'Express Warranties': 'Guarantees'
                  }
                }
              }
            ]
          }
        }
      ]
    },
    { allowComponents: true }
  )
)

The upgrade flag indicates that the form should upgrade automatically to later published editions. Without upgrade, the form will incorporate only the indicated edition.

assert(
  validate.component(
    {
      repository: 'api.commonform.org',
      publisher: 'kemitchell',
      project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
      edition: '1e',
      substitutions: {
        terms: {
          Licensor: 'Vendor',
          Licensee: 'Customer',
          Program: 'Software'
        },
        headings: {}
      }
    }
  )
)

Strings surrounding a component cannot run up to the component with space:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'this is a space -> ',
        {
          repository: 'api.commonform.org',
          publisher: 'kemitchell',
          project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
          edition: '1e',
          substitutions: {
            terms: {
              Licensor: 'Vendor',
              Licensee: 'Customer',
              Program: 'Software'
            },
            headings: {}
          }
        }
      ]
    },
    { allowComponents: true }
  )
)
 
assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        {
          repository: 'api.commonform.org',
          publisher: 'kemitchell',
          project: 'orthodox-software-copyright-license',
          edition: '1e',
          substitutions: {
            terms: {
              Licensor: 'Vendor',
              Licensee: 'Customer',
              Program: 'Software'
            },
            headings: {}
          }
        },
        ' <- that was a space'
      ]
    },
    { allowComponents: true }
  )
)

Conspicuous Provisions

Forms that must be typeset conspicuously have a conspicuous property whose value is the string 'yes':

assert(
  validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'Damages will be limited to $10.'
      ],
      conspicuous: 'yes'
    }
  )
)

No other values are allowed:

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'Damages will be limited to $10.'
      ],
      conspicuous: true
    }
  )
)
 
assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'Damages will be limited to $10.'
      ],
      conspicuous: null
    }
  )
)

No Additional Properties

Apart from content and optionally conspicuous, form objects may not have any other properties.

assert(
  !validate.form(
    {
      content: [
        'There are no third-party beneficiaries.'
      ],
      extra: false
    }
  )
)

Nor may content elements:

assert(
  !validate.definition({
    definition: 'Purchase Price',
    other: 'property'
  })
)
 
assert(
  !validate.definition({
    use: 'Purchase Price',
    plural: false
  })
)
 
assert(
  !validate.definition({
    reference: 'Termination',
    underline: 'dashed'
  })
)
 
assert(
  !validate.definition({
    blank: '',
    placeholder: 'three weeks'
  })
)

Plain Objects

In JavaScript, almost everything is an object. Form and content objects must be constructed with {} literal syntax or new Object(). Not functions or other types with the right properties set.

var invalidForm = function () {}
invalidForm.content = [
  'Example string content.'
]
assert(
  !validate.form(invalidForm)
)
var invalidChild = function () {}
invalidChild.form = {
  content: [
    'Example string content.'
  ]
}
assert(
  !validate.child(invalidChild)
)

Install

npm i commonform-validate

DownloadsWeekly Downloads

8

Version

2.0.0

License

BlueOak-1.0.0

Unpacked Size

23.8 kB

Total Files

4

Last publish

Collaborators

  • avatar