[Wikipedia-l] Phase III name change to MediaWiki and separate press releases

Alex R. alex756 at nyc.rr.com
Tue Aug 12 15:31:49 UTC 2003

"Jimmy Wales" <jwales at bomis.com> wrote: 
> Ray Saintonge wrote:
> > No.  We aren't '''going''' non-profit; we always have been.
> In spirit, yes.  In fact, yes.  But in the law, Wikipedia was just a
> project of Bomis, Inc., a for-profit corporation.

Also there is an argument that the volunteers of Wikipedia are a
collective voluntary association (in law) that while informal are still
functioning as a group. The hardware might have belonged
to Bomis, but the volunteers are acting independently. I think
there is a strong argument to that effect, many volunteer organizations
develop that way.  If volunteers use the telephone to communicate
the telephone company does not own their organization does it?
Volunteer associations do not need any formality to exist (such as
filing a corporate charter). I think it important to keep this distinction
in mind as Wikimedia (which seems to be the foundation that allows
Wikipedia to exist but is independent of Wikipedia in a certain way)
is just a formal entity, it is not the contributions that have been made
to the nexus of activity known as Wikipedia.
> >  Incorporating Wikimedia is an administrative action which probably 
> > doesn't mean much to the general public.
> I think it means a lot to a lot of people.  There was significant
> distrust of me for a long time.  For one thing, people are not willing
> to 'donate' money to a for-profit corporation, and with good reason.

I don't know if that is true. The people at movable type are not
a non-profit operation and they are accepting "donations" via paypal,
actually I run across websites every week that do this and that are usually
small business operations. When I email them and ask them about it
they say that since they provide their services at low cost they need
to ask for donations, legally they must report these donations as
income, but if they spend the money on business expenses, then their
are no taxes due (as long as the IRS accepts their business status).


More information about the Wikipedia-l mailing list