New entity has been legally created on February 17th, 2012 German Stiftung to provide strong and enduring rights for the LibreOffice community
Berlin, February 20th, 2012. The Document Foundation today announces that it has been officially incorporated in the state of Berlin, Germany. The legal form of the entity is a German “rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts”, a form based on the governance model the LibreOffice community has chosen. On Friday afternoon, February 17th, the incorporation certificate, signed by the state secretary, has been handed over by the authorities. With this legal act, the entity officially came to life and is legally recognized.
“We are proud of having achieved this major milestone. During the last months, we have been working extensively to incorporate the bylaws into legally binding statutes, to provide a stable and safe basis for our future” said Thorsten Behrens, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the new Foundation. He adds: “Our primary focus was on the membership element. Those who are approved members have inalienable, strong rights, embedded into the statutes. Since we have been aiming to be a German Stiftung, those rights are guaranteed by law, and enforced by the authorities. The Document Foundation is the legal affirmation of the community spirit – an entity by the community, for the community, and an entity independent from any single vendor.”
Michael (Mike) Schinagl, a Berlin-based lawyer who has been working on the incorporation process, explained: “The creation of such a Foundation is unique in the history of free software. There are not many, if any, entities that guarantee such strong rights to active contributors. Embedding those into legal language was a tremendous task, but one that was very worthwile. The Foundation and its statutes provide the ideal grounds for a free office ecosystem, including users, developers, marketeers, adopters, service providers and many, many more, and they can serve as an example for other communities with similar goals.”
The donor is the German nonprofit association Freies Office Deutschland e.V., formerly OpenOffice.org Deutschland e.V., which acted as interim legal entity from the very beginning. Thomas Krumbein, its Chairman, is grateful: “Our sincere thanks goes out to the Berlin authorities for their helpful cooperation in the past months, and for their flexibility and enormous support in achieving the community’s goals. Berlin has definitely made a landmark decision by approving The Document Foundation. Freies Office Deutschland e.V. is proud to be the donor of this important entity, and we look forward to working together with the new Foundation to the benefit of all users and contributors.”
André Schnabel, Chairman of the Membership Committee, stated the Foundation’s openness: “I am sure we will see the community prospering and growing even more, now that the legal entity has been created. Finally, after nearly 12 years, the community has created a Foundation that ideally fits to its needs, that is vendor-neutral, that provides safety, builds trust, and that sends out a strong sign of stability to all stakeholders. I would like to repeat our honest invitation to everyone interested in the future of free office suites, to join The Document Foundation, no matter if you are an individual volunteer, employee of a software vendor or support our activities with help from local non-profit organizations.”
Note to editors: A “Stiftung” is a German Foundation established with an endowment and supported by state authorities. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_%28non-profit%29#Germany for more details. In addition, “bürgerlichen Rechts” indicates it is a fully independent Foundation with long-term intent and independent finances.