A non-profit for Funkwhale


@jovuit, that’s a really thorough message, thank you for taking the time!

Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing from various people over the past few weeks. As you pointed out, the second option is more realistic, especially since we don’t have the financial resources to pay a salary.

Also, I have experience with the Auto-entrepreneur status, and to be frank, the overhead was quite small.

We’re heading in this direction, it’s good to see we’re on the same page. We’ll have a first draft for the statuses and CoC next week, since we have began to work with @gordon on this :slight_smile: Hopefully, this will enable a productive discussion regarding how the foundation will work!

That’s an interesting point. I’ve take a note of this to ensure we come up with an acceptable solution.

Ideally, I’d like to open membership to anyone, with a free (or really low fee), because I don’t think money should be a barrier to entry in the collective. I don’t think contributors should have to be member of the foundation to work on the project, but whatever CoC we agree upon would apply to them though.

Depending on the price, it might be more interesting to take a yearly contract and move on to some more interesting tasks, because I assume contracting days can add quite some overhead. We don’t have to decide on that now though.

I’m voluntarily not answering to the last part of your message because I miss the time, but I will come back at it later!


Thank you for clarifying that. I was probably wrong. Maybe an insurance is required if the association reaches a number of members.


I realize I’m a latercomer to this thread, and apologies if this has already been discussed. But having been involved in setting up legal entities in Aotearoa/NZ for a number of projects (including a community newspaper and a circus festival), and served on the committee/ board/ council of a number of others (including Permaculture in NZ and the Pirate Party), I’d just like to speak up for the benefits of not setting up your own legal entity.

Setting up and maintaining a legal entity can be a huge amount of extra work, especially if you want tax-free charitable status. My first preference when looking to formalize an informal collective project is always to look for an existing legal entity to work with, for the same reason I’d lease server space for a new service rather than setting up my own datacentre. At least in the early stages, until the project outgrows all suitable third-party hosting options.

To be clear, I’m all for setting up your own organization, for all the bus factors reasons you mentioned. But there are various ways of putting your organization under the umbrella of an existing legal entity, to serve as your stewardship body. Let me share a few precedents here, by way of example.

The original case study is the Free Software Foundation, which AFAIK serves as the default legal entity for all the groups in the GNU Project. Any project invited to join GNU can organize themselves fairly autonomously, but they can still sit under the umbrella of the FSF. Other projects do the same thing with other stewardship organizations like the Linux Foundation, Free Software Conservancy, and Apache Foundation. Another example, within the federated network space, is the The Diaspora Foundation, which is part of the Free Software Support Network (FSSN), under the legal umbrella of the Software Freedom Law Centre. Finally, there is PeerTube, who were in a fairly similar situation to you, and joined Framasoft, who seem like wonderful stewards.

If you do set up your own legal entity just for Funkwhale, and it ends up feeling like more work than its worth, I believe you would still have the option of winding up your own entity, and moving the project to another org as a host entity. But the specifics of this will vary from country to country, and it’s definitely something worth getting legal advice about. IANAL and this is not legal advice, just sharing experiences in the spirit of commoning anc cooperation.

Whatever you end up doing, could you please @mention me on the fediverse and let me know? I’m maintaining a wiki page on the legal/ organizational strategies of fediverse projects as part of my general research for fediverse.party.


Hi @strypey!

I understand your concerns and we indeed expect this to require some work. However, the status we chose (“French association Loi 1901”) is fairly easy to kickstart. This is a type of non-profit multiple person already have experience with, and since we’re not aiming for anything fancy (like tax-deduction), we’re also confident the administrative/legal aspects of the task won’t be the biggest ones.

In fact, what’s taken most work for now, and by far, is the discussion about governance, and the current drafts we’re writing, and this is a discussion we would have with any other choice (e.g. joining an existing entity).

I guess we have different visions/fears regarding the whole process. From your message, I kinda feel like you imagine we’re building this big legal entity with complex validation procedures and so on. But setting up an Association loi 1901 is really easy, it only requires a small fee to pay and some papers to send. ~70K are created each year in France, and lots of them by a handful of people. It’s something you can do with a few friends, for instance (I did it in the past).

I’ll try to remember that, I suggest you watch this thread too to get notified of the progress :slight_smile:


The entity you describe seems pretty similar to the Incorporated Society
structure in NZ law, which is mostly what I’ve been involved with. We
tended to find that the requirements of maintaining up-to-date
membership lists (with physical addresses of members), holding an Annual
General Meeting every year, having to submit financial reports to the
Companies Office, and so on, ended up feeling excessive for a
single-project organization. YMMV :slight_smile:

As long as you feel comfortable with what you’re doing that’s great! I
do suggest that you periodically re-evaluate the cost/benefits of your
legal structure, and make sure you write your constitution in a way that
give you a clear exit strategy if you want to try a different approach
(again IANAL :wink:

I suggest you watch this thread too to get notified of the progress

I’ve added it as a link on the watchlist. Good luck!