Is it possible to structure this in such a way that

Continuing the discussion from The State and Future of HMS/Whateverwecallthisplace:

New thread for this conversation, good idea!


well… do we? should we? I don’t really get what that means, because I’m dumb. if we want to become a legal entity, is that because we want to earn money and therefore will need business liability insurance?


Not necessarily! We could set up shop somewhere OUTSIDE of the US and/or be entirely not for profit. That’s plausible. It can even be decreed that excess monies be dispersed or donated annually. It’s all in whatever charter we could come up with. I wouldn’t mind a site that gave all it’s extra money to [some worthy cause we can reach consensus on] based on transparent rules.

Aw man, I’m sounding like I want to be more involved in organizing this…


We want to set up a legal entity so that no one person shoulders all of the responsibility of maintaining the site, managing its funds, etc. @LockCJ is currently hosting the site, but understandably doesn’t want that kind of responsibility, nor would it make sense for there to be one person upon whom the entire site depends.

Liability could be an issue if, for example, someone posts copyrighted content and lawyers show up demanding remuneration. This is always a risk, especially for sites with user-generated content, and currently it’s being assumed by @LockCJ.

It’s something that we need to do separately from whether or not we make money.


Bumpity bump!

@staff, we should consider moving forward on this in the next fortnight.

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I’m around this week but not great with legal stuff. From what I know, someone will pay if someone wants money, no matter how you structure it legally.

What are the realistic possibilities of a suit? Is it possible to create a cooperative structure where, say, everyone pays $10/year to join, funds go into an account owned by the coop and dolled out by a treasurer, and each person has equal ownership? Probably some kind of paper floating around the inter webs we could crib from.

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IANAL but the whole point of a limited liability company is to protect the owners of a business from personal liability in the (albeit unlikely) case of a lawsuit. The company forfeits any assets registered in its name but it means that if, say, someone sued the site for libel or contempt of court (not entirely implausible), the damages would be limited to dissolution of the site and seizure of assets but wouldn’t put any of the staff on the line personally.

Especially if you’re going to start any kind of subscription, I’d say that limited liability is a bare minimum that you would need.


This is the head of my department for my Masters program in Engineering Management. He helps people start businesses and helped me start mine:

But we are in a different situation where we are not necessarily trying to make a profit, but just protect everyone from a suit.