Purpose of our Association
One of our main goals is oregami.org being run and maintained by a German non-profit association.
This legal basis is a very important milestone on our noble quest of creating a future-proof project, because a non-profit association under German law comes with a truck load of advantages.
Let’s outline the most important of these:
The Oregami community becomes capable of holding rights.
This legal capacity, first and foremost, opens up the possibility to close legally binding contracts.
For example, no single person shall be threatened by the risk of hosting such an ambitious project any more, not just from a financial point of view, but also concerning [German] youth protection law or compensation for copyright infringement issues.
The association could also become an employer and pay money to a contributor, if issues arise which can’t be solved in contributors’ spare time.
The project becomes more independent of individuals.
The single biggest problem for a private Internet site wanting to be future-proof is its dependency on few individuals, mostly on the founder(s).
In case of these people losing interest the project is bound to infirmity or even slow death.
Within an association the community is represented by the board members who can easily be replaced by reelection, rendering the project capable of acting at all times.
Enlistment and exit of members is easily done.
People come and go in internet projects, that’s the way it is.
Contributors who want to participate deeper in Oregami can just legally join the association. If the interests shift later, they can just legally resign. There is no problem for non-German nationals to become members, too.
When compared to other legal forms of organisation like a registered cooperative, no additional complexity or effort is involved for all this.
The non-profit status unlocks financial advantages.
If the association becomes an official German non-profit and sustains this status there’s tangible financial advantages involved.
It’s not only member fees and donations being tax-deductible for people filing a German tax return, even the association itself will enjoy nice taxation benefits. Exemplary, it’s possible to develop limited commercial activities like advertising without the financial burden of paying taxes for it.
That doesn’t mean that we want to pursue commercial activities, though.
A non-profit association is perceived differently.
A transparent and not-for-profit way of doing things is an important aspect in convincing all the volunteer worker bees out there to donate their time to a project (think Wikipedia).
Furthermore, an official non-profit association can boldly approach public institutions.
Access to the archives of the Bundesprüfstelle? Collaboration with the German National Library or EFGAMP? Cooperations with universities? A non-profit association may open doors that would be locked otherwise.
One cannot buy out a German non-profit association or take it over against the will of the community!
We also presented our charter to the Association Register and to Financial Authorities for approval. The Association Register currently doesn’t see any problems to accept our association. Financial Authorities have also approved that the charter we drafted enables us to become a German non-profit.
For the impatient, here is a translated excerpt from our charter regarding the point “Objectives and Assignments”:
Main objective of the association is the advancement of arts and culture, especially regarding the research and preservation of the history of computing technology and video gaming.
The association particularly achieves its objectives by a. Information of the public about the history of computing technology and video gaming, this especially by maintaining a public Internet archive about computers and video games, as well as the software and press landscape available. b. Long-term preservation of software for classic computers and video gaming systems.
For the patient, there is also an extensive blog post to read containing the whole story so far.
The association hasn’t been founded, yet. This will happen when our video game database has left its infancy.
Please follow the usual communication channels for further announcements.