[Local-chapters] [Osmf-talk] chapter membership application: lower limit (20)

John Smith deltafoxtrot256 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 8 02:54:47 BST 2009

2009/9/8 Iván Sánchez Ortega <ivan at sanchezortega.es>:
> El Lunes, 7 de Septiembre de 2009, ivom escribió:
>> Hi,
>> 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.

It sounds like does everyone get a vote on everything, and this
generally isn't the case for most organisations or even less would get
done, the membership must be able to vote a board in who then gets to
decide on day to day matters, so to speak.

> 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
> documents.

They have to be made available to the membership here, and submitted
with annual filings to the government.

> 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.

Full rights to do what?

Even with OSM-F there are 2 types of members, those on the board and
those that aren't.

> 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.

There is also legal reasons for needing a local entity, makes it
easier to accept donations from local companies etc.

> * 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

While this might be the polite thing to do, it's very expensive to
operate trademarks in all jurisdictions and even more expensive to try
and enforce it.

> 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.

I doubt they'd have the legal ability to disband a legal entity in
another country, they might require you to change your name as a
contractual thing, but disbanding a legal organisation isn't something
you do flippantly.

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