On 7/4/06, Brad Patrick <bradp.wmf(a)gmail.com> wrote:
As to publishing, our safe harbor is online, so taking
the step into the
publishing world is a large one indeed. Licensing others to publish, from
the WMF perspective is not a big step, and is to WMF's great financial
advantage. For those who are not familiar with the particulars, please be
careful about comparing for-profit activities and non-profit activities.
This is a rich and deeply complicated area of US tax law, with several
contrary reported cases, and people who are not attorneys should proceed to
offer their "IANAL" advice with caution. The typical example is a museum,
which has a gift shop. Licensing the museum's works for the art is a pure
royalty; the tshirts are not, and the costs of that operation are part of
what is termed "unrelated business taxable income". See generally
documents, if you care to look for yourself.
There are other exceptions to UBTI, though. Two appropriate ones
would be the sale of donated (and volunteer produced) goods and the
provision of token goods to donors. And then of course there's the
fact that the purpose of Wikimedia is not the same as the purpose of a
museum. Distributing content (including in print form) *is* the
purpose of Wikimedia.
I'm glad a foundation employee with knowledge of these things is
finally getting involved in discussing them publically, though.
All this said, there seems to be very little in Wikijunior Big Cats
which needs to be licensed. Even if the term Wikijunior is considered
to be trademarked by the foundation, it's easy enough to drop that
word from the title. The Wikijunior brand, if it even exists, isn't
very valuable right now. In this sense I can see how it's important
that Wikimedia be involved in the first print publication.