Legal Structure

From posts in another thread I understand that the Diaspora project doesn’t currently have a legal structure behind it.

I think this is something pretty important that we need to sort out. What work/thinking has been done on this so far?

Note: This discussion was imported from Loomio. Click here to view the original discussion.

Anyone have any information on this?

@robinstent-outreach there is no legal foundation so there can not be any legal structure either - except the code license stuff.

I think Diaspora Inc guys are drafting some plan about the foundation or legal future etc. Right now we should just concentrate on the code and community building. This legal stuff is just peanuts and gets way too much attention :wink:

The only one who is involved in that is Sean.

@Sean, got any info for us?

Well if no-one is going to provide any info on this then I’ll look into setting up a non-profit company in the UK. We need to be able to accept donations and be transparent about it to move this project forward.

@robinstent-outreach please be patient. You will find here message of @maxwellsalzberg saying it is on the launch.

@robinstent-outreach I was going to reply that hey chill and wait a bit but if you really want to use your resources to set up a company for the benefit of open source then go ahead :wink:

But just don’t try to associate it directly as being in some way officially linked to Diaspora Project without time and a lot of talk - which is what is happening all the time. These things take time and nothing good comes out of hurrying. But as for a non-profit company to accelerate development of Diaspora or anything else - hey why not!

I’m just frustrated because I think this is crucial to making significant progress on the project, and no-one is giving me any information about it.

All I want is for someone who knows the status in relation to this to tell me about it.

If someone said “we’re 90% of the way there we just need to sign some paperwork” I’d say great I don’t need to do anything.

Even if the status was “some of us have thought about it a bit but no-one has done anything” I’d be partly satisfied as at least that’s a starting point to talk about things from.

I even emailed Sean a couple of days ago to ask him to participate in this discussion, but had no response.

So someone, please, throw me a bone.

@seantilley-communitymanager - manage the community! :slight_smile:

Personally I think the project page is more important than the legal stuff. Please anyone who can, help moving the old wiki pages that are still relevant to the new wiki. I’m only seeing edits by mainly developers there at the moment…

@Jason, I want to organise some interns and to do that we need money, to get money we need to take donations, and we can’t really do that without a constituted organisation to accept those donations.

Imagine how much development we could get done with, say, 5 full time interns.

I must admit I’m kind of sad that Diaspora* went from “Diaspora Inc + some community devs” to “Community devs + Diaspora Inc community manager” pretty much overnight :stuck_out_tongue:

Would like to of seen Maxwell and Dan still stay active in the project but I guess they have other things to do which is understandable. And it’s awesome how much they have given to the world already.

@robinstent-outreach before planning to work full time with 5 interns on Diaspora it might be worth actually drafting a plan on how this would happen. Would it be worth the money if the interns know nothing about the project and spend all the time just learning what the code consists of? You cannot just take a programmer and ask for pull requests. It takes time even if you pay the dude.

But yes in general having some paid people working on the code would be awesome. I’m sure it will happen (again).

Someone say somewhere here in Loomio that he knows legal stuff and can help set up the foundation. @robinstent-outreach if you find the post, ping him here and we will see what we can do :wink:

@jasonrobinson yes of course the details of how they would be managed would need to be discussed, I was about to come on to that in the thread about Interns when I was stopped in my tracks by the news that Diaspora has no legal structure. I only really said 5 to emphasise my point.

@flaburgan I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to, if there is a previous discussion on this subject that you know about please share the link.

@Jason: While Maxwell isn’t actively coding for D* right now, he still helps with the upkeep of joindiaspora, and has been of considerable help with getting everything moved over to the community’s side.

@robinstent-outreach I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Moving over to a non-profit structure takes time and money, and while Maxwell and I are dedicated to making this happen, realize that simply just going up and starting a non-profit is not the most straightforward process.

One thing that Max and I have been taking a look at that might speed this process up considerably would be the Software Freedom Conservancy.

It’s an aggregated non-profit infrastructure, in the sense that the SFC itself deals with the non-profit/legal side, while projects focus on just coding.

The project receives funding and can take donations, and most importantly, the organization itself has no bearing on the decisions made by the project. So, the SFC couldn’t threaten to pull funding because it didn’t like a particular feature, for example.

Like I said, it’s just an option we’re taking a look at, but it might be just the thing we need to get the project to take off and sponsor developers in some way, shape, or form. :slight_smile:

For a better overview of what the Conservancy does, take a look here:

@seantilley-communitymanager from a quick look sounds awesome! Will have to read more.

Didn’t mean to sound like I was unhappy with Maxwell and you - you’ve both done awesome work and especially from Maxwell’s point of view taking Diaspora* in to community governance was a bold move and surely most likely not taken easily. Always will have the utmost respect and hoping all the new guys joining the project also remember who actually made Diaspora* happen in the first place :wink:

I think that something as complex and with as potentially far-reaching consequences as setting up a legal structure/foundation deserves to be done slowly and carefully. It may mean that certain activities are delayed at this time, but it would be much worse to rush the establishment of a foundation and take a wrong step. That could be disastrous in the future.

@Sean thanks for updating us on where you’d got to with this. Yes I understand that setting these things up takes an amount of time and energy. The focus of my messages on this subject was to get information, not to demand action from you, I hope that was clear.

Diaspora is a community now and its important that everyone knows what’s going on, both for transparency and so we can help each other out. In that spirit if you need any help getting this side of things sorted out, let me know and I’ll do what I can.

A few people said I shouldn’t worry about this side of things and focus on development. I will worry about this stuff because I consider myself part of the community now and I think this side of things is really important, besides which once this is sorted out it could lead to much more development.

The SFC sounds like a great way to go, would there be much work involved in setting things up with them?

So until we get a proper structure in place what’s happening to the money? eg where does the money from the Heroku donate page go?