April 3, 2006
SFLC Helps Launch Conservancy
Software Freedom Conservancy offers nonprofit umbrella protections to free, libre and open source projects
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), today announced it has helped established the Software Freedom Conservancy to provide free financial and administrative services for a collection of FOSS projects through a single entity.
The mission of the Conservancy is to provide free and open source
software developers with all of the benefits of being a tax-exempt
corporate entity without having to do any of the work of setting up and
maintaining such an entity, said Dan Ravicher, legal director for the
Software Freedom Law Center and one of the initial directors of the
Letting projects pass off the mundane administrative
burdens placed on those wishing to benefit from nonprofit status is a
significant way to keep developers focused on what they do best - writing
The Software Freedom Conservancy (conservancy.softwarefreedom.org) will be a fiscal sponsor for FOSS projects by providing free financial and administrative services to its members. It will provide individual developers protection from personal liability for their projects and will seek to provide participating projects with tax-exempt status, allowing them to receive tax deductible donations. The Conservancy will file a single tax return that covers each of the member's projects and will handle other corporate and tax related issues on behalf of its members. In addition, the Conservancy can hold project assets and manage them at the discretion of the project, which removes another fiscal burden from developers who are focused on software innovation.
We understand the importance of having our legal, financial and
administration houses in order, but our focus and energy needs to be on
our code, said Alexandre Julliard, The Wine Project, one of the
Conservancy's initial members.
The Software Freedom Conservancy gives
us the opportunity to join with fellow community projects to gain needed
legal and fiscal protections in a market where disruptive technologies
such as open source software sometimes generate aggressive actions from
other market participants.
Other initial members of the Conservancy include SurveyOS, BusyBox and uClibc. For more information about the Conservancy and how to become a member, please visit conservancy.softwarefreedom.org.