Draft Trust Declaration

After some research, I’ve decided that the Free Overnet Foundation should take the legal form of a charitable trust.  This provides the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of specifying the administrative policies that I have in mind, while minimizing interference in the form of government oversight.  A trust isn’t required to file annual reports such as a non-profit corporation would be.

A draft of the trust document is available on Google Docs.  I think Docs provides a pretty good collaboration framework for this kind of work; if anyone wants to make changes directly to the document let me know and I can invite you as a collaborator.  Once we have final agreement on the text (and the complete set of initial trustees) I will print it out and visit a notary public to execute it, and put a scanned copy (PDF) on the website.  I’ve put a lot of thought into creating an organization that will be resistant to capture by big business interests.  In many ways, the governance model is an explicit codification of an arrangement that often arises informally in open source software projects: people who contribute to the organization, and who share in its philosophy, will be rewarded with shares that allow them to have greater say in the operations of the organization.

I’ve also set up a mailing list for discussion of all aspects of the foundation; you can join the list on the fof-discuss information page.  I envision that this will remain as an informal discussion list for the life of the Foundation, and I will create a more formal fof-business list once the trust is up and running for making motions and collecting votes.  That way you can look at the trust document and the complete archive of fof-business to understand all of the policies and procedures that are currently in force.

Any lawyers out there (I am not one), I would be highly interested in your feedback on the document.