[Local-chapters] [Osmf-talk] chapter membership application: lower limit (20)
Iván Sánchez Ortega
ivan at sanchezortega.es
Tue Sep 8 01:00:40 BST 2009
El Lunes, 7 de Septiembre de 2009, ivom escribió:
> I am preparing the creation of a belgian non-profit legal entity to
> represent OSM in Belgium. [...] I have a question about the kind
> of 'members' [...]
> Do these members (20) have to posses of full rights in this organisation;
> like being able to decide on direction, choosing board member, changing
> bylaws, allowing/rejecting member, access to financial documents?
The idea is that the legal entity must be democratically runned. Membership
should be open, members should be able to elect a board, members should have
a voice in meetings.
With regards to the financial documents... at least in my country (Spain) it
is legally required to let the members have a copy of the financial
> Or is it ok to have extra members added to the sum of 'some full
> rights'-members, that pay a yearly fee and have limited or 'minimal' (as
> described in the bylaws) rights?
Ultimately, it the OSMF local chapters working group will decide if that is OK
(I'm not a group of the WG - I'm just trying to set up a spanish chapter).
But, personally, I don't like the idea of having two types of members with
different attributions. Either you have your full rights inside the legal
entity, or you don't.
> Also, where does the figure of 20 people come from? I see it as a rather
> arbitrary figure for now. I do accept the 'stability'-argument, however.
It *is* arbitrary. Ultimately, it will be the activity of the chapter (or lack
of) which will tell the OSMF if the chapter runs smoothly or not.
> I guess the local laws of existing non-profits in other countries, about
> which I am not familiar with describe the membership rules differently.
> Please exchange.
Here in spain we've set up an "association" (UK: "voluntary association"). It
is a lesser form of juridical person used by lots of small-ish non-profits
here. (In the *very* unlikely event that the chapter grows tremendously, out
of the established fiscal bounds for assocs., we might be required to disband
the "association" and form a "foundation")
Hint: see what kind of legal entity do non-profits in your country use.
Anything from computer clubs to the local greenpeace treehuggers must be
organised as some kind of legal entity in your jurisdiction.
Highlights of the spanish association law (i.e. legal requirements to set up
an assoc.) include:
* Associations can not be ruled by secret laws - the bylaws of the association
have to be in the public records (along with lots of other paperwork) in
order to be legal.
* Must be non-for-profit.
* Membership must be open for any person (exceptions for children under 14
years and people in jail).
* Three people as bare minimum.
* The name cannot contain a trademark --> you may have to ask the OSM for a
letter allowing you to use "OpenStreetMap" in the name of the legal entity
* There must be a board, only members of the assoc. can be in it
* At least one meeting per year
* Any member has to be able to take part in the activities of the assoc. and
vote for the assoc. board. (i.e. no discrimination between members)
* Members must work towards completion of the assoc. goals, must pay the fees
(if there are any), and must be able to leave whenever they want.
Also keep in mind that the spanish chapter will start with 9 people - we think
it's better to hold any new memberships until all the details of the OSMF
federation agreement about membership are cleared out to prevent any
problems. The OSMF is aware that the paperwork for setting up a legal entity
About the 20 people limit... if you have 19, and you're able to get a bit of
funding to set up a couple of mapping parties per year, I don't think the
OSMF will be evil enough to disband the chapter. Really, don't worry about it
and focus on getting local stuff done.
P.D.: local chapters stuff should go into the chapters mailing list, so I'm
Iván Sánchez Ortega <ivan at sanchezortega.es>
MSN:i_eat_s_p_a_m_for_breakfast at hotmail.com
Jabber:ivansanchez at jabber.org ; ivansanchez at kdetalk.net
IRC: ivansanchez @ OFTC & freenode
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