Even Non-Profits Are About the Money (Lit Review)
March 2, 2015
Software Freedom Law Center
A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects (Ch. 3)
Any project which begins to involve more than a few people must choose ways to organize its leadership and structure
Chapter 3 of the text explains how organizations can be structured legally, and gives advice on which might be right for certain situations
There is a complex legal web surrounding organizations and their income, especially 501(c)(3) non-profits
- The chapter covers a variety of ways to legally incorporate and instructions for doing so
- The Software Freedom Conservancy and other umbrella organizations are mentioned, which are relatively unknown outside of the FOSS community
- Clarifies that recording meeting minutes is legally required for incorporated organizations
- Extremely local perspective (extreme detail about New York specifically)
- Mentions “509(a)(1)” without ever defining what that is
- Never really addresses if or when it’s “okay” to not incorporate a large project
- Are there states with potential incorporation incentives for non-profits other than Delaware?
- How could an individual developer ever be liable for “implied warranties” on software they give away?
- The chapter makes no mention of paid services which assist in incorporation, for example LegalZoom. Is there any reason a FOSS non-profit shouldn’t use a service such as LegalZoom?