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Advice for an Internet hosting cooperative?

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Joined: 06 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:16 pm    Post subject: Advice for an Internet hosting cooperative? Reply with quote

I'm part of a group that runs cooperative Internet hosting. Hardly any of the members, who are scattered throughout the world, have met in person. We aren't currently recognized legally in any way, and we think that we are at the stage of growth where we should be. I'm writing to ask for advice on how we should go about this, or to get pointers to groups or people who are able/willing to answer such questions.

Our current and projected operations are very light compared to what one usually thinks of as a "small business" or as a cooperative. There are not now (and we don't plan to have any) paid employees or profits. Basically, the function of the cooperative is to:
- Organize people to pool funds to pay for Internet hardware and hosting services from commercial providers
- Manage the resources (mostly software) on our servers that are shared by the group

The entire amount of money per year associated with our group's operations now is under US$1000. This charge comes from costs imposed on us by our commercial providers and is split among members. I certainly don't see our going to over $5k/year any time in the next decade.

I have a feeling that these low amounts of money and lack of employees mean that usual laws and procedures for cooperatives or small businesses are overkill. We really just want to be able to have a way to say "this sum of money belongs to the cooperative" and have that recognized legally. We'd also like to have legal recognition of group ownership of computer hardware and hosting contracts. Currently, the money is sent to me personally, and I am the legal owner of things associated with the group. The potential problems with this come from tax issues and possible liability for actions taken by members using our servers.

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