SPI and the Linux Debit Card

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Thu Oct 7 17:59:24 UTC 2004

Todd Lisonbee wrote:

>Non-profit motives,
>intentions, and actions does not make one legally a "non-profit".  We
>were calling ourselves a non-profit which I found out was wrong.  We
>took the website down while we figure things out.  I have found out I
>can legally bring the website back up if we don't call ourselves a
>non-profit and send apologies to all of our cardholders but before I do
>so I am hoping I can find a "real" non-profit to be our fiscal sponsor
>so that nobody has any doubts about us trying to do the right thing.
Ugh, that's messy. Currently you are probably an unincorporated 
association operating not-for-profit but not a legal non-profit.

I think you need to consider the degree of risk to SPI this project 
presents, and the corolary that it would need a lot of attention from 
us. It would probably have a larger legal load associated with it than 
anything we've done, requiring additional pro-bono counsel, as well as 
requiring some attention from non-attorney managers who understand some 
issues you're only just learning about. Without that, we would not be 
able to avoid problems like the one you've already had. There is 
personal risk to all SPI directors as well as risk that SPI could lose 
the copyrights and other property that it currently owns, and its 
assets, in a lawsuit.

If we're going to put in the effort to do that, I'm not at all sure that 
the company you are working with is the one we'd want to go with. 
Although they are trying hard, there are only a handful of companies in 
my neighborhood who take their card to date - and it appears that is 
true elsewhere too. So, I suspect that the revenue from this project 
might not be commensurate with the risk.

You're welcome to attempt to convince me otherwise.


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