jane_ikari at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 4 10:52:31 PST 2008
I think someone's quoting Rick Moen here. ...
> Computerists frequently claim that unincorporated associations cannot
> own anything. [...] In fact, unincorporated associations _do_ own
> property: Courts construes their property as owned by sets of
> individuals concerned, usually as a joint tenancy.
I've just done some more legal research to correct my understanding of
this matter, after my wife Deirdre reminded me that the World Science
Fiction Society, the very large unincorporated organisation that
supervises the annual World Science Fiction Conventions held since 1939,
_does_ own quite a bit of valuable property.
(Quoting http://www.wsfs.org/ :)
The purposes of the WSFS, according to its rules, are as follows: to
choose the recipients of the annual Hugo Awards (Science Fiction
Achievement Awards), to choose the locations and Committees for the
annual World Science Fiction Conventions (the Worldcons), to attend
those Worldcons, and to choose the locations and Committees for the
occasional North American Science Fiction Conventions (the NASFiCs). (A
NASFiC is held in North America in any year where the Worldcon is
outside of North America.)
WSFS is an unincorporated non-profit organization governed by a
Constitution and Standing Rules as documented at..........
"World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction
Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC" and "Hugo Award" are service marks of
the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.
You can contact the WSFS Mark Protection Committee at .
World Science Fiction Society, Post Office Box 426159, Kendall Square
Station, Cambridge, MA 02142 USA. .
A list of WSFS's six currently registered Federal trademarks follows,
findable using US Patent and Trademark Office's TESS search engine at
http://www.uspto.gov/ . (Trademarks / service marks / certification
marks can be registered with USPTO for a $330 application fee covering
10-year coverage periods. Absent registration, what you have is a
S/N Reg.# Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
73572852 1436766 NASFIC TARR LIVE
73388560 1286562 WSFS TARR LIVE
73388559 1287322 THE HUGO AWARD TARR LIVE
73388557 1283681 WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION TARR LIVE
73388556 1284719 WORLD SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY TARR LIVE
73388555 1283680 WORLDCON TARR LIVE
Detail on the Hugo Award trademark (selected fields only, for brevity):
Word Mark: THE HUGO AWARD
Goods and Services: IC 041. US 107. G & S: the Designation and
Recognition of Achievement by Persons in the Field of Science Fiction
and Fantasy Through the Presentation of Awards. FIRST USE: 19530000.
FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19530000
Owner: (REGISTRANT) World Science Fiction Society unincorporated
association UNITED STATES c/o Mark Olson 10 Shawmut Terrace Framingham
Type of Mark: SERVICE MARK
Next time you hear that a novel has just won the Hugo Award, be aware
that it's tecnically "The Hugo Award(R)" -- officially and unambiguously
property of an unincorporated association. ;->
So, the assertion that unincorporated groups cannot own property --
repeated every few years in these parts -- turns out to be simply
untrue, period. (That claim is probably based on a misunderstanding of
the _genuine_ fact that an unincorporated group is not regarded as a
"person" within law, in the sense that it cannot _itself_ be named as
plaintiff or defendant in any civil lawsuit, nor be subjected to a
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 22:59:28 -0800 (PST)
From: Alvin Oga
Subject: Re: [volunteers] Unincorporated associations owning property
To: rick at linuxmafia.com (Rick Moen)
Cc: volunteers at lists.svlug.org
Message-ID: <200801040659.m046xS37011700 at Maggie.Linux-Consulting.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
hi ya rick
> Rick Moen wrote:
> I've just done some more legal research to correct my understanding of
> this matter,
if its important to svlug, i'd suggest the "svlug community" be made
aware of the issues and take legal issues to licensed lawyers ..
presumably in california since that's where the primary core is
> A list of WSFS's six currently registered Federal trademarks follows,
> findable using US Patent and Trademark Office's TESS search engine at
having things registered by non-existent entities does not always means
its enforceable ... somebody obviosuly filed that docs on the "entities"
behalf as a favor to the non-existent entity ... and until challenged,
it would NOT be an issue
- some things have to find it way to court to find whether
anything is enforceable or not
- in svlug.org's case, the owernership of svlug.org domain,
the linux picnic seems to be seriously challeged and nobody
willing to defend it ..
- i'd almost go and run for office to get a court order
if needed .. to resolve these 2-3 yr old issues that has NO
solution since svlug is misisng the requirements of a being
a "legal entity" ( breathing is NOT a requirement )
i would argue:
- "legal entity" ... which svlug is NOT, since it has no taxID
and no physical address onto which to serve legal documents
- it doesn't have "officers" in the normal sense of the word
since there doesn't seem to be "job descriptions of officers"
in it's archives... which i'd swear was buried in there .. somewhere
thusly, there was and still is "elected officers" for 1yr or 2yr terms
- lot so other oranizational issues are "missing"
- chain of succession is missing
- decision making ( officers, boards, voters, etc ) vs dictators
but i'd rather not see any of these legal issues get into another
discussions in mailing list ...
- it is NOT the forum or media for such discussions
CORRECT - our bylaws are " not available for viewing " and the guy pretending he's still our president has even hidden behind that lack. I was consulted when those bylaws were written, Loss of his veep = election time for Paul and not just get a new veep ! ]
[ Paul's comment "I refuse to take responsibility" echoes as the authoritative truth since the bylaws vanished during his watch. ]
[ Yes, this is often the forum for our politics as we'd suffer from even worse under and ati - informed polity ( voters ) otherwise ( witness the bit about owning property resurfacing yet again should one doubt the anti-informed state of our polity ).
> if its important to svlug, i'd suggest the "svlug community" be made
> aware of the issues and take legal issues to licensed lawyers ..
> presumably in california since that's where the primary core is
The reason I pointed to the specific WSFS example, instead if discussing
law in other ways (which I could have done) is that it's completely
incontrovertible -- not arguable, and (easily) objectively verified.
So: The assertion has been made to SVLUG, over and over, that
unincorporated associations cannot own property. That assertion is now
known to be demonstrably wrong -- information courtesy of the US Patent
and Trademark Office, US Department of Commerce. End of story.
> having things registered by non-existent entities does not always means
> its enforceable...
A brief check, Alvin, would have told you that the WSFS Mark Protection
Committee has been enforcing WSFS's trademarks, very successfully, for
decades. (And you're quite wrong, anyway: A registered trademark is
_specifically_ declared enforceable by statute, per 17 U.S.C. sections
1114, 1116, 1117, 1118, 1120, and 1125.)
Again, this is incontrovertible. Sorry.
> i would argue:
Go ahead, but please leave me out: ....
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