Not-For-Profit (part of Future of LFS discussion)

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Mon May 19 12:06:00 PDT 2008


TheOldFellow wrote:
> Could some kind American or Canadian soul post a link to something that 
> explains this concept as it applies to a corporation?  I think some of us 
> Non-NA peeps could do with an understanding of that it means, and IANAL!  
> I presume it cheaper than a Delaware Corporation :-)
> 
> For what little it's worth, I have assumed that any contribution I have 
> made via these Usenet lists is Public Domain unless it contains a 
> specific copyright notice, so I can't see how I could assign it to a 
> Foundation.  In so far as it has been incorporated into an LFS Book, I 
> have already, by the act of contributing as an editor, assigned the 
> copyright to the book's copyright holder as defined in the Prologue to 
> the book in question.  Or have I?  I certainly intended to.
> 
> It seems to me that this is not connected too intimately with the other 
> discussions.  But really does merit getting right before we invest too 
> much in the rest of it.  I have been unhappy for some time (years) that 
> copyright to the LFS book resides with Gerard, not because I don't want 
> him to have it, but because I am unsure of who would inherit it, or to 
> whom it might be assigned by him 'in extremis' (several scenarios to 
> consider here).

I can't speak for Canada, but in the US there are three specific reasons to 
create a non-profit that I can think of:

1.  Contributions to a non-profit are tax deductible.  That may provide a bit 
more incentive for people to help with funding.  Also, any contributions (to US 
citizens) are technically reportable as income and thus taxable.

2.  A non-profit is generally recognized as an ongoing organization and not just 
of guys working on a project that may fade away.

3.  A non-profit is a legal "person" that can hold a copyright.  This overcomes 
the problem, especially in BLFS, of who now owns the copyright for the books. 
Stating that the copyright of BLFS  is held by "The BLFS Team" is legally 
meaningless.  To me, this is the most important reason to incorporate.

I have looked at the procedures for incorporating and creating a non-profit in 
the US.  Incorporation is done by states, not the Feds.  If we wanted it in 
Texas, there is no residency requirement but there are at least three editors 
who live in Texas: Me, Randy, and Tushar.  If necessary, I live only about an 
hour from the state capitol.

The cost of incorporating a non-profit in Texas is $25.  At our income levels, 
there would be no taxes.

http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/nonprofitfaqs.shtml

but the real non-profit designation is done by the Federal US Internal Revenue 
Service.  I think I could do that without legal help.

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96114,00.html

The name I favor for a non-profit is the "Linux From Scratch Educational Foundation"

Since "Linux" is in the name, we have to get permission from Linus:

http://www.linuxmark.org/   (free)

There would be some annual reporting requirements, but it wouldn't be much at 
our income levels.

I am willing to pay most reasonable fess that may arise (up to about $500 US).

   -- Bruce



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